Academic journal article Journal of Social Research & Policy

Future Romanian Law Enforcement: Gender Differences in Perceptions of Police Misconduct

Academic journal article Journal of Social Research & Policy

Future Romanian Law Enforcement: Gender Differences in Perceptions of Police Misconduct

Article excerpt

Abstract

This exploratory study examines gender differences in the attitudes expressed by future Romanian police officers toward hypothetical instances of police misconduct. It also observes how severely respondents think police officers' transgressions should be punished and how eager they would be to report infractions. In order to measure police integrity and identify the future police officers' potential for unethical behavior we applied the methodology developed in the 1990s by C. B. Klockars and his colleagues. The present quantitative analysis is based on survey data5 obtained in 2 010 from a convenience sample (N = 293) of students in their final year of study at the Romanian Police Academy, who were enrolled in the Department of Police Studies and majored in Public Order & Safety. Results show that, overall, female students perceive the seriousness of the misconduct cases as being significantly higher than their male counterparts do. In general, when compared to men, women also tend to recommend more severe disciplinary measures and are less inclined to tolerate misbehavior in silence.

Keywords: Police Cadets, Gender and Police Corruption, Police Integrity, Romanian Police.

Introduction

As evidenced by research, police misconduct (i.e., police corruption and other forms of police crime) is a near universal problem. It is a recurring issue that is found in many countries and police departments (see Punch, 2000, 2003). Especially in the last two decades, the larger set of activities that constitute police deviance, as well as the cultural environment of police organizations and its impact on police attitudes and behavior have been explored in numerous studies conducted in Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Great Britain, Finland, Hungary, Japan, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States (e.g., Beck & Lee, 2002; Edelbacher & Kutnjak Ivkovic, 2004; Klockars, Kutnjak Ivkovic & Haberfeld, 2004; Wilson et al., 2008). Although the relationship democratization - police corruption within former communist states in Europe has been examined by several scholars as well (see Haberfeld, 1997, 2004; Kertesz & Szilinger, 2000; Kutniak Ivkovic, 2009; Kutniak Ivkovic, Klockars, and Cajner, 2002; Kutniak Ivkovic & Shelley, 2008; Mesko, 2000), no systematic research focused on the organizational culture of the Romanian police and/or their attitudes toward police misconduct, corruption included.

The present exploratory study, which is part of a larger research project meant to identify the organizational culture and the integrity of the Romanian police, intends to contribute to the literature on policing by studying the level of tolerance toward police transgressions expressed by a sample of future police officers (N =293), who in 2010, when the field research was conducted, were finalizing their undergraduate studies at the "A. I. Cuza" Police Academy in Bucharest, Romania. In particular, this analysis will focus on gender differences in attitudes toward police misbehavior, an aspect that was covered only by a limited number of studies (see Corsianos, 2009; Hunt, 1990; Prenzler, 2002) that examined the extent of integrity among the police and/or the police officers' potential for unethical behavior. According to recent data, in 2009 there were 5,796 female police officers representing 11.33% of the total number of sworn police officers in Romania (General Inspectorate of Romanian Police, 2010). Following trends observed in other countries of the European Union, the Romanian women's participation in law enforcement is expected to increase in the next years. Therefore, one objective of our study is to determine if there are reasons to anticipate that by increasing the proportion of sworn female police officers in law enforcement agencies, the level of police integrity might increase as well in Romania.

Pioneered in the 1970s by Herman Goldstein (1975), contemporary theories of police corruption (see Klockars et al. …

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