Abstract In this chapter the focus is on integrity testing of police officers; roughly, setting ‘traps’ for police officers suspected of corruption. This practice raises the important moral (and legal) issue of entrapment. I argue that targeted integrity tests are morally permissible under the following three conditions (assuming other more general conditions are met, such as the condition that the method of integrity testing is the only feasible method available to law enforcement agencies in relation to a certain type of offence, and that the offence type is a serious one). First, the integrity test should be the targeted testing of an officer (or group of officers) who is/are reasonably suspected of engaging in crimes of the relevant kind. Second, the suspect is ordinarily presented with, or typically creates, the kind of opportunity that they are to be afforded in the integrity test scenario. Third, the inducement offered to the suspect is: (a) of a kind that is typically available to the suspect and; (b) such that an ordinary police officer would reasonably be expected to resist it.
This chapter consists of a discussion of one of the covert methods of criminal investigations which have historically given rise to moral problems in a particularly acute form, namely, undercover operations, and specifically, the setting of traps or ‘sting’ operations in order to catch corrupt police officers. This discussion of the moral problems posed by undercover operations takes place in the context of my favoured normative theory of policing as the protection of justifiably enforceable, legally enshrined, moral rights and, in particular, my normative account of the role of the criminal investigator as essentially an epistemic or knowledge-aiming role (Miller and Gordon 2014). Undercover operations are quintessential epistemic policing methods since they are principally aimed at gathering intelligence and evidence. In the first instance, this intelligence and evidence gathering is in the service of knowledge of the who, what, where, when, how and why of criminal activity; but the ultimate purpose it serves, or ought to serve, is the protection of legally enshrined moral rights by way of facilitating the conviction and punishment of serious criminal offenders. However, as my discussion of entrapment below makes clear, some undercover operations, so-called ‘stings’ in particular, can on occasion, if not carefully conducted in accordance with the appropriate moral © The Author(s) 2016
S. Miller, Corruption and Anti-Corruption in Policing—Philosophical
and Ethical Issues, SpringerBriefs in Ethics, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-46991-1_7
principles and laws, violate the moral and legal rights of suspects (and, therefore, be disqualified as evidence in court) and, indeed, even actually facilitate rather than combat criminal activity (Prenzler and Ronken 2001). One of the tasks I have set myself in this chapter is to elaborate the conditions under which such traps or stings are, at least in principle, morally justifiable.