Our nation’s culture of low corruption and civility is an accident of history that is under threat from its institutions.
It has been revealed that some policemen mis-categorised their region’s crime statistics.
The official police response has four main takeouts;
- the policemen were disciplined and the most senior of them has now left the police
- it was done because of a misunderstanding about categorisation
- it doesn’t matter because the impact was small
- it happened some time ago, has been dealt with, so they want to go back to ‘working with the community’.
This response does not work;
- if it was just a misunderstanding, why discipline them, and even suggest one left the Police force because of it. Maybe they didn’t leave the police for this reason then – so why try to make it part of the story?
- The impact may be small, but issue is that people who uphold the law and want to tell us what to do, have acted immorally to their own advantage.
- It may have happened some time ago, but that’s not relevant to the fact that it happened.
- You might want to go back to working with the community – but that’s us, and we want you to show you can be trusted. Belittling this transgression doesn’t give us confidence.
Research shows that when people see others get away with immoral actions they are more likely to act similarly.
That means the Police must be particularly severe on members who break rules and codes of conduct (internal or civil).
It means that the Police must not be in a hurry to kill this issue. They have a much higher duty than killing an annoying PR issue. They must take the opportunity to reinforce the low corruption culture that makes this country so livable.