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Criminal Law, Morality and the Institution of the Police

Abstract In this book a number of central philosophical and moral issues that arise in relation to police corruption are examined. In this chapter I elaborate a normative theory of policing according to which the principal institutional purpose of policing ought to be the protection of justifiably enforceable, legally enshrined, moral rights. Hence the close relationship between policing and the criminal law, on the one hand, and the protection of moral rights on the other.

At the core of policing is the criminal law; police have a key role in the enforcement of the criminal law. Accordingly, it is important to provide a theoretical or philosophical (as opposed to a purely descriptive or legal) understanding of the source, nature and function of the criminal law prior to providing a theoretical account of the institution of the police. This chapter begins with a discussion of the nature of criminal law and its relationship to social morality, in particular (Hart 1961). The second section describes the relation between law and fact. A normative theory of police institutions is then proffered. In the final section the notion of police independence is discussed.

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