Exploring the public parameter of police integrity.
Meyer, Michael E.
Gopal, Nirmala Devi.
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This paper explores the contribution of the public component of Klockars’ and Kutnjak-Ivkovic’s (2004) organizational theory of police integrity to the understanding of police integrity. Design/methodology/approach: The study employs a modified survey derived from “The Measurement of Police Integrity,” instrument developed by Klockars, et al. ( 2000). Participants are constituted by a convenience sample of first year social studies students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (n = 186) and 160 South African Police Service non-commissioned officers throughout Gauteng Province, Republic of South Africa. Findings: Overall, the data present a mixed picture of integrity in the SAPS. The current study is certainly suggestive that the SAPS faces serious challenges to establishing and sustaining integrity and that based on either absolutist or normative criteria the organization falls below desired levels of professional integrity. However, there are also indications that a significant proportion of officers will support efforts of the organization to establish and maintain professional standards of integrity. Practical Implications: The findings, focused on non-commissioned officers, contributes to a growing body of research across all levels of the South African Police Service. In addition, the research compares results from a non-police sample helping to contextualize the concept of integrity as it exists within the SAPS. More immediate implications relate to the potential for the development of a broad-based integrity plan for the South African Police Service as a whole. Originality/value: Previous research employing police only samples has concluded that the South African Police Service is an integrity challenged organization. While the present study agrees that the SAPS faces significant integrity challenges, the use of a comparative non-policing sample also suggests that the Service is having some success in establishing integrity standards, at least in regard to lower level violations of organizational ethical standards.