Public security

The goal of the OLBIOS Advisory Group is to help you ask the right questions, raise awareness and inform you on the ethical issues you are confronted with, using ethics not as a constraint machine but as a basis for a stronger, deeper, more conscious and creative approach to your field.

Is it possible to overcome the use of the police by authoritarian governments as a tool of repression and regime support?

Front-line operation and monopoly of police power.

What are coercive competences and how should they be used?

What is Integrity? What is the condition for the credibility and legitimization of policing?

Inconclusiveness and ambiguity.

Accountability and the ethics of the Noble Cause corruption.

The Means/Ends Dilemma.

Stress management and police culture.

Translating experiences and insights from the American context into that of Europe or other continents.

Is there a societal and political consensus on the mission of the police? If yes, what defines it?

Definitions of peace and definitions of stability.

Police as the « thin blue line », a cynical, alienated group, yet expected to serve every citizen efficiently. Simultaneously high expectations from, and hatred for, the police.

Abuse of authority, brutality, violations and the « unfortunate imprint ».

Over-policing and under-protection of minorities.

What form should police reform take?

Discussion on the European Code of Police Ethics by the Council of Europe.

Police and public relations. The question of Trust.

How does it help to publicise codes of inflexible ethics underlining general standards, purposes and values of the police?

What kind of accountability to the state and citizens? What kind of external control?

Degrading treatments/punishments and defining their limits.

What is training for excellence? Is there a positive / excellence target?

In-depth study of the proposed principles to be followed:
– operations conducted in accordance with the law
– public’s easy access to police-related legislation
– effective co-operation with other agencies / communities / NGOs
– giving objective information to the public (what is confidential?)
– controlling the proper conduct of police staff
– prevent and combat police corruption
– maturity, fairness and communication skills of police personnel
– good understanding of social / cultural / community issues
– combat racism and xenophobia

Respect of international data-protection standards.

How to motivate aspiring, active policemen?

Particular consideration for vulnerable groups.

Do police officers understand the motivations and ways of thinking/acting of the people they have to face/fight?

Statistics on corruption within the police.

Personal loyalty to fellow officers vs. commitment to an impersonal public audience or abstract ethical values ; is it possible to fight endemic problems with Codes?

Enforceability: on the « blue wall of silence ».

What does it take to develop detailed crisis prevention and response plans as well as continual refinement of these plans to suit changing conditions and threat levels?

Codes without co-operative dialogue/community consultations.

Planning based on unreasonable demands/expectations.

Budget for the Police.

The cynical response: ethical standards are externally imposed, with no feeling of personal investment on them.

The failure to prioritize.

Do police officers need a special kind of ethical background? The « moral model » issue.

Does an External Threat unifies? Can an act of terrorism provide a unique Opportunity to create partnerships with citizens, other government organizations, and other law enforcement agencies?

Private life of police officers ; exemplarity issues.

« Moral agent » and social pressure.

Enormity and everyday aspect of ethical challenges that police face.

What happens when police officers kill, and when they are killed?

The discretionary power of police and why it is contested.

Scope Decisions / Interpretative Decisions / About Priority / Tactical Decisions.

Number of actors and time-frame. Danger environment in theory versus street action.

Understanding « Evil » and the Bad Guys as polluting agents.

How is it possible to address the underlying conditions that give rise to or facilitate crime or disorder in an effort to prevent future problems?

Criminality versus Just Order.

The role of Traditionalism / Patriotism / Religion.

Solidarity and coercive territorial control.

How can the police be encouraged to develop working partnerships with civic and community groups to accurately survey community needs and priorities and to use the public as a resource in problem solving and in developing and implementing interventions?

The vicious cycle of the bad image.

Is there a pre-existing police personality?

The clarity of standards on right and wrong.

What do police academies regard as virtues?

Distrust and suspicion on the part of citizens.

Police culture: is there really only one, the same everywhere? What are really the core skills, beliefs, cognitions, craft rules and conduct that define good police work?

Authoritarianism and intolerance to outsiders.

What are the traditional and nontraditional responses that focus on deterring offenders, protecting likely victims, and making locations less conducive to crime and disorder?

« Cop idealism ».

Should the policing model move away from police-dominated crime control through reactive responses to calls for service?

On police-screening procedures.

Is a broadening of the nature and number of police functions compared to traditional policing models necessary?

The danger of moral cynicism: everyday contact with immorality.

What is the importance of a strategic management process in undertaking community based policing?

Group identity and forms of solidarity.

Is it possible to minimize police corruption without a strong political will and a robust anti-corruption policy?

Unpredictability of environment.

Why exactly do policemen « turn a blind eye » to other officers’ improper conduct? Why do they fail to report even serious violations by fellow officers?

To make police more accountable to parliament and the public, shouldn’t performance statistics be published?

On Suspicion / Corruption / Deception.

The use of (legitimate?) coercive force as positive stimulus. What defines « excessive » force?

Case studies: how to deal with immigrants, prostitutes, use of firearms.

Should an atmosphere of trust be established between policing and other parts of the security and justice sector so that they can communicate and agree common objectives?

The impressive results of several surveys around the world among policemen: thirsty for rules and moral authority.

How can a community feel a sense of ownership of the police process?

Racism, sexism, discrimination: black/white, men/women, poor/rich, straight/gay in the police force.

Hot to identify focus areas, which should be closely linked to the principles of police and adapted to the local context, and a corporate strategy by which their focus areas are to be realised, showing that the police force is unified behind its goals?

Is it possible to depict police culture in flattering terms? Police and fear-creation: Management.

Should an understanding of both local and regional context inform police decision making?

The hypocrisy that surrounds critical views on policing and the Impossible Responsibility.

Should the Police redefine its organization’s mission, goals, objectives, performance evaluations, hiring and promotion practices, training, and all other systems that define its organizational culture and activities moving towards a flattened organizational structure?

How X community’s morals influence and define police morals.

Unconscious (?) global desire from middle classes around the world to contain the underclass by all means. Is it our fears that dictate police conduct?

« Cleaning-up » a city. The New York example.

Is it still possible for the police to focus providing a service to meet the public’s needs in an accountable manner and with respect for human rights?

Police in totalitarian regimes.

The police should operate as the professional side of a partnership between itself and the public to prevent and reduce crime; is this feasible without a vision and mission statement outline of what the organization is seeking to achieve?

Police and the right to torture.

Should police move toward active problem solving centered on the underlying conditions that give rise to crime and disorder and on fostering partnerships between the police and the community?

Is there a police subculture? Thoughts on « canteen talk »: facing brutality with anger.

What is the better way for police to work with citizens and with other government agencies in efforts to increase overall quality of life?

Mastrofski and the four types of police-officer conduct when dealing with the public.

Is the police officer’s vocation necessarily a conservative one?

Exercising authority for the benefit of, and/or against, the citizens.

Does the police occupy a marginal/insular position in society? Why is it the most unpopular, violent, low-pay job?

On changes in policing over the past decades: in recruitment, community policing and partnerships with citizens / Expansion of police role / Soft policing.

What scope for creation/innovation within the field of police work?

How the conditions of policing differ substantially between nations. The Nickels & Verma study on police culture in Canada, India and Japan.

What is by definition the primary goal of criminality?

Can community fear be based on both rational and irrational concerns?

Does the police urgently needs an overarching orientation from which to conduct its myriad of tasks?

Peace keepers versus crime fighters. The killing spree in Norway, and policemen without arms.

Is the function of the police to reproduce the State into the lives of the citizens?

What is security/ public good / order / protection?

R. Rhodes and the « violentization » process.

What is the purpose and efficiency of foot and vehicle patrols in high-crime neighborhoods, as well as community meetings, citizen patrols, neighborhood cleanup programs, opening neighborhood substations, and citizen awareness campaigns?

Brutalization, witnessing abusive or violent behaviour at a young age, belligerency.

Origins of criminality.

Is dealing directly with citizen’s fear of crime important, because of the fact that unchecked fear or feelings of revenge can manifest itself in hate crimes and illegal bigotry?

Definition of a heinous crime.

Which self-defense is justifiable?

What security is granted against exclusion and alienation?

Ethics of license-to-kill, and war and freedom as a mask for imperial violence. How should we act?

Is security a self-justifying system that enables some to get away with murder?

What is the difference between the different threats for the security, and the specificity of terrorism? Are police agencies dealing with the threat of terrorist events or also with the fear that they may create? Is it about prevention or reaction and response?

What is the best strategy to face the three interrelated element of policing – organizational change, problem solving, and external partnerships?