Home > Publications > Determinants of Court Sentences for Crime committed by Police Officials: an Empirical Application of the Conceptual Framework for Police Deviance

Determinants of Court Sentences for Crime committed by Police Officials: an Empirical Application of the Conceptual Framework for Police Deviance

Petter Gottschalk

Abstract
The great majority of individuals involved in policing are committed to honorable and
competent public service and are consistently demonstrating integrity and accountability.
However, in every police agency there exists at least a small element of dishonesty, lack of
professionalism and criminal behavior. This article is based on empirical research of
criminal behavior within the Norwegian national police agency. A total of 56 police
employees were prosecuted in court because of misconduct or crime from 2005 to 2009.
Court cases were coded as two potential predictors of court sentence in terms of the number
of days of imprisonment, i.e. crime motive and damage. Scales for motive and damage were
organized according to the conceptual framework for police deviance. Empirical results
suggest that the combined effect of motive and damage significantly explain 18 percent of
the variation in the prison sentence imposed by the courts.

Keywords: Police Misconduct, Content Analysis, Crime Motive, Criminal Court