Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


Could you please provide examples of good practices for developing a code of ethics for the police?


1. Key features of codes of ethics for the police
2. Good practice for developing codes of ethics for the police
3. References


Codes of ethics for the police can play an important role in promoting an organisational culture of integrity, making all law enforcement officials aware of the ethical responsibilities of their position, and using peer pressure to promote ethical standards and strengthen integrity across police forces. They can outline broad fundamental values underlying professional standards of conduct through general statement of principles or be more prescriptive and detailed in their approach, providing concrete guidance on behaviours to avoid, as well as on how to behave in sensitive or problematic situations.
While law enforcement officials must adhere to the same standards of conduct as other public officials, there are additional issues to be regulated in their codes of ethics, due to the specificities of their duties and considerable powers entrusted to them. This includes obedience to the law, the use of force, the use of data and information, performance of duties and non-discriminatory policing, as well as guidance on key areas of corruption risk (bribery, gifts and hospitality, conflicts of interest, and post-separation requirements).
As codes of ethics are not self-implementing, there needs to be a dynamic process of communicating, interpreting, training, enforcing and assessing the code. There is a broad consensus that such implementation mechanisms need to be tied to the code.


Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected]


Robin Hodess, Ph. D., Transparency International




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