Dirty Cops Around The World

Charles Kenny highlights the harm they do:

In countries including Uganda, South Africa, Mexico, Thailand, Nigeria and Indonesia, more people pay a bribe to a policeman every year than to any other government service provider including health professionals, teachers, utility workers, the judiciary or tax and land records officers. Police are the most common or second most common bribe recipients in 38 out of 107 countries that Transparency International surveys.

And, according the same organization, “seven percent of Americans who say they had contact with police over the last year report paying a bribe.” What can be done?

When it comes to straightforward corruption in rich and poor countries alike, paying a bribe to a police officer should be decriminalized (to encourage reporting) while receiving a bribe should be automatic grounds for being sacked and incarcerated. And in the many countries where large numbers report paying bribes to policeman, the solution may be to reduce the number of police officers. Even in the U.S., where corrupt cops are the exception, the police in cities like Ferguson would be far more effective without the officers that are financed by fines, because that would reduce the pressure to put predatory officers on the beat.  A cop’s job is to serve and protect.  We shouldn’t pressure them to fleece and intimidate.