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

Query

Please provide an overview of successful anti-corruption interventions in the policing sector in Asia.

Summary

This paper looks at evidence from police reforms in Asia to distill lessons learned. Successful interventions against police corruption in Asia have generally worked when they are comprehensive, systemic and address both the incentives and opportunities that enable corruption in the police. Successful anti-corruption reforms in the police have involved a combination of establishing independent accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms with the power to sanction misconduct and corruption, addressing economic drivers of police corruption and establishing trust-building measures.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Causes of police corruption in Asia
  3. Incentives and enablers of police corruption
  4. Strategies for addressing police corruption in Asia
  5. Lessons learned from police reforms in Asia
    • Singapore
    • Hong Kong
    • The Solomon Islands
    • Indonesia

Main points

  • Interventions against police corruption are most likely to be effective when they are viewed as comprehensive efforts and focus on both the system-wide drivers and individual level incentives for corruption in the police force.
  • Money matters to police corruption. Salaries and inadequate funding for the operational budget are important economic incentives for police corruption across various countries in Asia.
  • Interventions have been most successful when they have been driven by independent mechanisms such as an anti-corruption institution.
  • Public participation is central to addressing police corruption, and public expectations can both contribute to increasing or reducing corruption.

Authors

Mathias Bak, tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Reviewers: Matthew Jenkins, Transparency International and John M Sellar, Independent Expert


Date

18/05/2021

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