Gratuity is a gift, or favor, commonly money, given to an individual in return for service. Gratuity can be a gift depending on the purpose it is provided. Gratuity can also be corruption, depending on the reason it is given. Gratuities can lead to corrupt intent, whereby the goal can be of the receiver or the giver. Once the gratuities have been accepted, the officers find themselves in a problematic situation of opportunism and compromise (Ruiz & Bono, 2017). As much as police officers desire to be recognized as professionals, police officers’ acceptance of gratuities dilettantes their conduct because their service should be internally but not externally motivated. A dishonest officer may lower public confidence and creates suspicion towards the whole department. Enforcement officers must altogether avoid any action that might compromise their integrity or the integrity of the department. Officers should not seek or accept any privilege or consideration.
Although breach of departmental rules is not tolerated, rules against receiving gratuity are not effectively enforced. Due to the frequency and magnitude of gratuities accepted by the officer, friendship, indebtedness, and personal feelings build up between the giver and the police officer, which leads to compromise of enforcement of the law. A person who gives gratuities keeps on reminding the officer of their generosity when caught in violation of the rule. They also expect to be given special attention when calling for service. The act of accepting gratuities incorporates the exploitation of police authority. Acting on chances, created by one’s power, for individual interest at the expense of the public an officer is authorized to serve is an exploitation of the authority (Donner, Fridell & Jennings, 2016). The chance of an officer to receive gratuities exists because of their power.
Donner, C. M., Fridell, L. A., & Jennings, W. G. (2016). The relationship between self-control and police misconduct: A multi-agency study of first-line police supervisors. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 43(7), 841-862.
Ruiz, J., & Bono, C. (2017). At What Price a “Freebie?” The Real Cost of Police Gratuity Acceptance. In Handbook of Police Administration (pp. 215-247). Routledge.