Understanding corruption in the lower levels of the Afghan police force

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Downloads (Pure)


Definitions of police corruption are usually associated with bribery and extortion. Police culture entails internalised and uncodified norms, rules and values that may enhance susceptibility of corruption within a police force. This article provides an empirical study on police corruption within the lower levels of the Afghan police due to the lack of studies conducted with them. Undertaking a social constructivist approach, the aim of the study is to provide the perceptions from Afghan police officers on the causes and practices of police corruption. The findings reveal that the main causes are heavily linked to unprofessionalism, low pay and the lack of controls. Police accountability is low and solidarity appears high. Moreover, patronage and the acceptance of corruption as a means to getting things done are part of social practices engrained in Afghan culture which leads to the practices of biased recruitment, bribery and extortion. In relation to noble cause corruption, there is no sense of mission and the idea of policing, as part of a mandate, has been lost in the Afghan police force. An understanding of police corruption and police culture from the perspective of street-level police officers is relevant to understand the main causes and practices of corruption and mitigate them to restore public faith in the police as a main port of security. This can prevent potential Taliban resurgence by deterring alternative security promoted by the insurgency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-383
Number of pages30
JournalThe Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding corruption in the lower levels of the Afghan police force'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this