Police officers have a social responsibility to protect and fulfill the mandate of the law
according to guidelines set in the Constitution of the jurisdiction in which they serve. The public
trusts the police officers to act in good faith without favor or discrimination upon any individuals
but with full respect for fairness and equality. In some cases, however, police act in unlawful
ways despite the existence of a code of conduct and the law which guides their behavior. Donner,
Fridell, and Jennings (2016) Discuss the possible factors that may cause police to act in manners
that are in complete contravention to the law whereas there are expected to protect the sanctity of
the law itself.
In their study Donner, Fridell, and Jennings (2016) suggest that self-control underpins the
possibility of police officers to adhere to the law or not. They recognize the responsibility of
police officers in enforcing laws and maintaining order in the public. Police officers must follow
and abide by the regulations and laws set in policy and failing to do so counts as police
misconduct. Policymakers have designed various policies to try and curb police misconduct but
it continues to be cancer in the police force that needs Solutions.
In their study, Donner, Fridell, and Jennings (2016) make reference to research by
Gottfredson & Hirschi (1990) who developed the self-control theory. The study mentions, police
misconduct occurs due to the influences of pleasure and pain avoidance which are present in all
human beings. The capacity for one to carry out a particular action is dependent on their ability
to assess the long-term and short-term costs and advantages of the act which they desire to
engage in. Police officers who often commit misconduct find pleasure or the capacity to avoid
pain by carrying out unlawful acts.
Individuals that have a high level of self-control can assess the long-term effects of their actions
and realize the negative effect it may have on their lives. Individuals that have lower self-control
on the other hand are unable to assess the possible long-term effects of their actions and
especially negative effects and this causes them to act in a manner that is of great misconduct.
These individuals will often act in great misconduct when there is a chance to do so because they
cannot fully assess their actions and make a conclusion on the right direction to take.
Police officers with low self-control mostly act impulsively without consideration of the
repercussions of their actions. Such individuals also prefer simpler tasks that do not require a lot
of weight compared to complex ones that require more analysis before one makes an action.
Self-control explains during childhood and it is hard to form within a person after they have
become an adult and this is the major problem with police misconduct in the police force.
Solving the issue of police misconduct is mainly in the process of developing self-control among
Donner, C. M., Fridell, L. A., & Jennings, W. G. (2016). The Relationship Between Self-Control
and Police Misconduct. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 43(7), 841–862.