Dean, Geoff, Gottschalk, Petter, & Glomseth, Rune (2012) Police misconduct and crime : bad apples or systems failure? Journal of Money Laundering Control, 15(1), pp. 6-24.
There is a debate in the research literature whether to view police misconduct and crime as acts of individuals perceived as ‘rotten apples’ or as an indication of systems failure in the police force. Based on an archival analysis of court cases where police employees were prosecuted, this paper attempts to explore the extent of rotten apples versus systems failure in the police. Exploratory research of 57 prosecuted police officers in Norway indicate that there were more rotten apple cases than system failure cases. The individual failures seem to be the norm rather than the exception of ethical breaches, therefore enhancing the rotten apple theory. However as exploratory research, police crime may still be explained at the organizational level as well.