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As a way of understanding the research methodology in this chapter, the researcher discusses the methodology that has been planned for conducting this research. The chapter has also presented the research philosophy, strategy, design, administration, and ethical issues of the conducted research. Details have been provided on how the researcher gathered the data and information that was used in the research study and how the collected data was analyzed and how ethical concerns in this study were responded to by the researcher. This chapter has also detailed where necessary the justification for the research methods that were adopted and used in the research.
In research, two research approaches are most used and these are either qualitative or quantitative methods and the two do complement each other (Mays & Pope, 2006, Arnkoff., et al, 1996). This researcher has decided to conduct his research using the qualitative research method. The current research problem is related to the exploration of perceptions of the public about police corruption in Zambia. The research question is related to how the Zambian Citizens and the police perceive police corruption in Zambia and the effectiveness of the measures taken to counter it. Therefore, this research requires exploring the perceptions of police officers and general public members. There are two parts to this research, which involve exploration of public perceptions and police perceptions, this information would be best collected through the use of qualitative methods. Qualitative research design is open and flexible; this gives the researcher the freedom to come up with a design that is considered as most suitable for the research, unlike quantitative methods which are tamed to be more rigid. There are many advantages of qualitative research and one of them is that it allows the researcher to be able to get close to the participants (Opoku et al, 2016) The role and focus of every qualitative researcher are also to gain more understanding and insight into the topic or the perspectives of the participants (Creswell, 2013). The purpose is to derive relationships between research variables, which is not necessarily done through a structured approach (Creswell, 2013). The emphasis may be on deriving the meaning from the relationships or the social meanings of constructs from the perspective of the participants (Neuman, 2013). Moreover, where the emphasis is on narratives the use of this type of research is considered to be more appropriate. The approach of the qualitative researcher is also subjective (Bryman & Bell, 2015) and this makes it easy for opinions to be compared.
In this research study, the emphasis was on exploring the perceptions of the public and police officers. Therefore, the emphasis was to be on the narratives that were to form the major part of the data that was collected for this research study. Flexibility is offered in this context by the non-requirement of a fixed method or even hypotheses (Willis & Jost, 2007, pp. 53-54). Therefore, there is no rigid framework that would bind the researcher as in the case of quantitative research. At the same time, the qualitative method does allow the researcher to collect multi-layered information from different kinds of participants (public and police officers in this case). In other words, the researcher in this particular study had an aim to take advantage of a flexible approach offered by the qualitative method to create a research design in which the researcher could collect multi-layered data from the participants and secondary sources (Walliman, 2015). From the perspective of research philosophy, the researcher took some time to think about what philosophical stance was best suited for this research. This was important because the philosophy chosen could guide the researcher and shape the research design (Wilson, 2014). Some of the philosophical approaches that are generally associated with the qualitative approach are interpretivism and positivism (Collis & Hussey, 2009, p. 46). The choice of interpretivism research philosophy for this research was made because the researcher was conducting qualitative research where the subjective data was to be interpreted by the researcher during analysis (Collins, 2010). The researcher was to take a subjective interpretive stance on the analysis of the data.
The field of data collection in research has many different methods and strategies and these include; visual analysis (this involves getting information from books or videos) observations (this involves the monitoring of some set target), textual or and interviews ( this involves gaining required knowledge from an individual or a group through questioning) and the interview system is considered to be the most used method (Gill et al, 2008) The reason why interviews are commonly preferred in research that seeks more insight into the participants’ opinions and perceptions is because they are flexible, in-depth, and allow room for sharing the opinions and experiences of participants with the researcher(Gill et al, 2008). Bonus has noted that in-depth interviews can lead to extended discussions and can allow the researcher to gain more understanding with well-prepared questions and reflective listening to the participants (Broneus, 2008). It can also be said that the researcher can understand more about the perspectives of the participants in the research through the use of interviews as they give significant insight. (Yin, 2013) Interviewing techniques can themselves be different, with the researchers being able to choose between structured interviews and semi-structured interviews (Longhurst, 2003).
In presenting this research, the researcher had decided and selected to use semi-structured interviews. The reason why this selection was considered and utilized was that this gave in-depth knowledge to the researcher in understanding the perceptions and opinions of the participants on police corruption through pre-decided questions but leaving the scope open to the researcher to add more questions as the interview progressed (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2012). Semi-structured interviews have been used in similar research studies on police corruption in other countries. For example, Light (2014) used semi-structured interviews in the study on police corruption and the perceptions of recent policy reforms in Georgia. This type of interviewing was used in that research study and the researchers were able to make significant revelations through this method (Light, 2014). In Zambia, similar research can be done to reveal data on police corruption. Semi-structured interviews can be particularly useful in gaining more insight because these allow the researcher to interview as per the comfort of the participant and allows the participant more control over the process (Hammer & Wildavsky, 1989)
The sample for the interviews was selected through purposive sampling for the police officers; this is appropriate because this research was done as per qualitative research methods (Saunders, 2012). However, for the general public sample, random sampling was employed to select a small sample of interviewees. Through these methods, two samples of ten (10) participants per sample were created. Admittedly, the sample size is small; however, considering the time constraints and the limitation of the available resources, this is the most appropriate sample that the researcher could employ for the collection of the data. In the collection of secondary data, a systematic literature review was used. This method was chosen by the researcher because it would allow the elimination of bias while selecting the literature for the collection of secondary data and also help the researcher to use a scientific method for identifying the literature to be used for collecting secondary data. A systematic literature review allows the researcher to “collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question” (Green, et al., 2011, p. 6). As is clear from this statement, the systematic literature review is conducted in such a manner that bias can be eliminated because there is a pre-specified eligibility criterion, which includes the exclusion and inclusion factors, and only the studies that come within these criteria are selected for the research.
Three advantages of a systematic literature review can be identified from this brief discussion, which justifies the use of this method for this research study. First, a systematic literature review has been proved to be useful and this is because it helps and aids the researcher to locate and organize relevant scientific literature. Second, because pre-determined keywords related to the eligibility criteria are being used by the researcher for locating the sources, the element of bias can be eliminated. Finally, the likelihood of missing any relevant sources is reduced because of the use of databases to conduct the literature search (Bettany-Saltikov, 2012).
While qualitative research methodology allows different methods of collecting data, this research was conducted using two primary methods of collecting data: a qualitative systematic literature review for the collection of secondary data; and interviews for the collection of primary data. In this section, the research design concerning these two methods is hereby discussed in detail. A systematic literature review involves a review of literature in journals, books, and reports; such a review can be conducted in desk-based library research or on electronic databases like Google scholar and others. (Green, et al., 2011). Electronic online databases are increasingly preferred because these can be used more scientifically in locating sources from high-quality literature, empirical studies, and reports from sources from around the world (Bettany-Saltikov, 2012). Electronic databases are also able to locate grey literature like Ph.D. theses as these are not generally reported in print journals that can be located in the library. Grey literature can be a significant source of empirical data. (Schöpfel, & Prost, 2015)
A search string is created to search sources on the online databases. The search string is derived from the research question, which is related to the perception of the Zambian general public and police service on police corruption in Zambia and how these two groups perceive the effectiveness of the measures taken to counter corruption in Zambia. To form the search string the core question was broken up into variables of interest and that of the population as follows: (a) police personnel; (b) corruption; (c) anti-corruption measures. Accordingly, the search string was as follows: (police and officer, law, and enforcement,) and (Corruption or Deviance or Bribery or Misconduct) and (Anti-corruption measures or Counter-corruption). With the help of the search string mentioned above, the researcher began the process of identifying the sources on the databases. A keyword search was first used to generate the sources on the databases. In ensuring that only relevant articles were identified in the databases, a criterion of inclusion and exclusion was applied. Using the exclusion criteria helped the researcher to weed out irrelevant articles.
Inclusion criteria for the research were studies on police corruption which presented original empirical evidence on perceptions of police corruption in Zambia. The first phase of the literature search has been carried out on databases like Criminal Justice Periodical Index, Jstor, and Google Scholar. These databases were chosen because they were global. In the second phase, to identify the most relevant articles the researcher decided to employ a sifting process (Bettany-Saltikov, 2012)
Primary data was collected through semi-structured interviews in this research study. The literature review has given insight into the dominant themes in literature from which the questions for the interview were derived and data collected from the participants. This data has presented information related to the perceptions of police corruption in the general public and police forces in particular. The primary data was collected through semi-structured interviews based on the critical variables derived from the research question. This was set as follows:
Table 1: Field Research Sub-questions.
Linked to the section in the dissertation
Linked to authorities/references
Mapping of the participants: Appendix.
What do the police and general public understand about corruption and especially police corruption?
Definition of corruption in general and police corruption in particular
and theories of corruption and police corruption.
The general definition of corruption: Philp and David-Barrett (2015)
Corporate corruption, Breit et al. (2015)
Public corruption); Andvig & Fjeldstad (2008)
Kumssa (2015); Huey and Ricciardelli (2015)
Noble cause corruption: Caldero & Crank (2010); Kleinig (2002); Pohlmann, et al.(2016); Miller & Blackler (2017)
Institutional corruption: Lessig (2013)
What leads to police corruption?
Factors responsible for police corruption
External factors including social, economic, and political factors: Fijnaut & Huberts (2002);
Factors internal to the actor: Graaf, et al. (2010); Vannucci, (2015)
Rational choices of the actors who see the corrupt as the most profitable course of action: Rose-Ackerman (20100; Lambsdorff, (2007); Lambsdorff, et al. (2004).
What do people think of police corruption
Perceptions of police corruption
Pejorative view of corruption: corruption as cancer or disease, Nyendu (2017); Ndaguba, et al (2018); Ashford, et al (2008).
How does police corruption impact organizational behavior?
Impact of police corruption on the organization
Deterioration of organizational ethics and effectiveness: Porter & Warrender (2009); Lessig (2013); Tankebe (2010); Thompson (2018)
Lowering of public trust: Newburn (2015)
Why does the corruption go unreported
Reasons why corruption is not reported by fellow officers
Hidden silence policy: Wieslander (2019)
Code of Silence: Tasdoven & Kaya (2014); (Lobnikar & Meško, 2015); Whistleblowers are perceived negatively within police forces: Kenny (2018); Stein (2019); Hersh (2002); Beckley (2014);
Some types of activities are more susceptible to reporting by colleagues: (Westmarland & Rowe, 2016).
Are the current measures taken to curb corruption amongst the police enough?
Effectiveness of Measures necessary in curbing corruption in the police service.
Coliandris, G. (2016). Book review: Police Corruption and Police Reforms in Developing Societies. The Police Journal: Theory, Practice, and Principles, 89(1), pp.88-90.
In this research, the participants for the research were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. This is a type of interview which is considered to have no regulated style. (Longhurst, 2003) This means that some questions for the interview can be created by the researcher before the interview itself and as the interview progresses, the researcher may ask more questions based on the responses of the participants. In other words, the researcher has the freedom to build on the responses of the researcher. The responses of the participants are then, with the authority of participants, audio recorded. If the participants are not comfortable with the recording of their interview, then the researcher can take a shorthand of their responses. Each transcript is given to the respective participant so that they can see that their responses are recorded correctly. The participants have got the freedom to withdraw from the interview at any time that they want. Data collected in the interviews, be these audio recordings or handwritten transcripts, are securely kept in the custody of the researcher. Participants are also informed of this before the interview takes place.
Concerning the analysis of the primary data, because this data is taken with the use of semi-structured interviews, it is possible that the data can be subjective. The quantity of the data may also be large. The same can be said of the secondary data collected through a systematic literature review. Data collected through both these methods are likely to be challenging in terms of their analysis due to the sheer quantity and qualitative nature of the data (Jones, 2004). To meet this challenge, a thematic analysis method was used for the purpose of organizing and analyzing the data. The thematic analysis method is conducted by the researcher by organizing the data under major themes or the key messages in the data (Bearman & Dawson, 2013). By using this method, the researcher was able to organize the data collected from the systematic literature review and the primary data collected from the interviews under the major themes and analyzed the data by using these themes and seeing how some of the themes were recurrent in both kinds of data collected.
The research strategy for this research involved the collection of data through interviews and a systematic literature review. Both these methods involve certain ethical issues that need to be considered and attended to. The principle or theory of ethics is concerned with what is right or wrong (Dooley, 2008). It is of vital importance, therefore to understand that the focus of ethics in research is the moral principle that researchers must follow in their respective fields of research. The main ethical issues involved are concerned with the ethical collection and analysis of data, in that, the data sources (literature review) are credible and the referencing of sources is correctly done. To make sure that the sources are credible, articles are sifted carefully, with an emphasis on methodology and evidence of the articles. Each source used can be credited properly throughout the writing. The research ethics concerning interviews are related to the free consent of the participants (Josselson, 2007). This is done through a consent information form. This form also contains information about how the researcher’s personal information is to be kept confidentially and how the data is to be stored. Moreover, the researcher has the moral obligation to keep the personal information of the participant confidential at all times.
To ensure that the participants’ consent was properly attained by the researcher, in this research, the participants were made to understand the purpose and nature of the study before getting their consent (Crow, 2006). Participants were to be informed through the consent form that they could leave the interview at any time that they wished to do so and that they were free to not answer any questions that they did not want to (Crow, 2006). It is also necessary that the background and the purposes of the study are informed to the participants (Brinkmann, 2014). The latter is necessary for free and informed consent (Tasse & Kibby, 2017) Confidentiality and anonymity are the other two important aspects of participation in research (Orb, et al., 2001). Some of these requirements are met through the consent form and the others are premised on the researcher’s ethics as to how he treats the data collected and how he safeguards the confidentiality and anonymity of the researcher. The researcher also has a moral obligation in an ethical way to the participants; to protect and safeguard their welfare (Sin, 2005). This makes it possible for the participants in any given research to trust the researcher.
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As a constitutional Christian nation, the Zambia Police Service is supposed to strive to live by the ideals of the Bible, among them the pursuit of morality and ethics. In this way, specific practices and habits are supposed to be shunned by the police and this includes corruption and any other immoral behavior. In this chapter of the dissertation, the focus has been on the research question, which was about the Zambian public and police understanding and perception of corruption, specifical corruption within the Zambia Police Service. It then dealt with the perception and thoughts on the phenomenon. This research was conducted using two primary methods of collecting data: a qualitative systematic literature review for the collection of secondary data; and interviews for the collection of primary data. The research sub-questions that were presented in the research methodology were used to help in answering the research question.
Public Understanding of Police Corruption in Zambia
In Zambia, a Constitutional Christian nation, the overall awareness of ethics and morality is high. Many citizens now understand and have opinions on the phenomenon of corruption – with many viewing the phenomenon as a vice that should be combated robustly (Clarke, 2019). Just as much, most people, police included, in the Southern African republic hold the view that corruption is erosive to the national values of the country. The majority see corruption as taking money or resources for personal gain at the expense of the poor. The public perception in Zambia of police corruption is one of strong disapproval (Hope Sr. 2019). However, even with this, the country ranks highly in the global corruption index, with the incidences of bribery (for instance) standing at 68% (Pillay, 2017). One of the institutions in Zambia with the highest rate of corruption is the police service, with as many as 43% of Zambians who have dealt with the police in 2017-2018 complaining about corrupt practices in the delivery of services by the police ( Isbell, 2018). To the public, the term corruption in the police service connotes the issuance of bribes to the police in the pursuit of, or escape from justice. Similarly, Zambians understand that bribes need to be given to the police for services such as the maintenance of vigilance, or the protection of life and property, or even the response to emergencies to be delivered.
Several reasons have been identified as being responsible for the high incidences of vice within the Police Service of Zambia. Most people have a feeling that the low pay that the officers get has acted as an incentive for them to engage in corrupt practices such as bribery, abuse of office, and even the misuse of public resources to gain economic benefits. Secondly, the limited avenues, for the supervision of police behavior and conduct whilst on duty have also been responsible for the high corruption rates. The majority of the people also feel that the police in Zambia operate with few checks and balances; thus, their conduct whilst on duty has almost always been self-directed. Thirdly, both the police and the general public agree that police recruitment has been politicized in the past few years and this has led to political interference in the operations of the police. This in itself has bred the corruption recorded within the service. Furthermore, the public perception of corruption is that it has become a normal vice (that is still undesirable) but which, some people feel, hurts nobody. This has reduced the likelihood of individuals reporting any incidences involving police corruption (Martin, 2019). With no reports on corruption, the enforcement of the existing anticorruption statutes has become impossible.
Perception of Corruption
Zambians have varied opinions on the existence of corruption within the police service of the country. There are sections made up of a majority of the Zambians that believe police corruption is an externality of the service they perform. That is, police are charged with the enforcement of laws, and thus may not be easily affected by such laws. Martin (2019) for example, notes that Zambians believe the police cannot enforce the law against themselves; thus, many believe nobody can tame the corruption within the Zambian Police Service unless the government gets involved in the fight. The challenge, however, is that many in the country think that, Zambia has a very ineffective public service where the delivery of services to citizens has not only been slow but also unreliable (Gundani, 2018). In this way, for services to be delivered effectively and in requisite haste, many Zambians have been willing to issue bribes to public officers and especially the police. This has been among the reasons why police corruption has been rampant in Zambia. Due to this; many citizens in the country have concluded that police corruption is a necessary evil – especially in the pursuit of certain ends. Finally, some Zambians now hold the view that where crimes do not hurt anybody, they pose no problem to society (Martin, 2019: Hope Sr., 2019: Azeez, 2019). This attitude, according to some, breeds the ‘see-nothing-say-nothing’ approach that Zambians take when dealing with police corruption in the country.
Impacts of Police Corruption on Organizational Behaviour
Organizations in Zambia are also influenced and affected by the open occurrence of corruption in the Zambian public service (such as the police service). Organizations, being legal entities, have to submit to the laws of the republic. In Zambia, the high incidences of police corruption have influenced organizational behavior in different ways. Most firms, now, prefer paying for security services on their premises rather than relying on the actions of the police. The incompetence of the police service, which is tasked with offering security to all lives and property in the nation, has thus led to increased economic costs for firms (Clarke, 2019).
The corruption in the police service in Zambia may also be linked to the high incidences of corporate crimes in the nation. Employees of organizations are likely to be involved in criminal conduct such as fraud, fully aware of the incompetence of the police service (Phiri and Guven-Uslu, 2019). In the end, the culprits would be able to buy the loyalty of the police services, rendering any legal actions null and void even before they can begin. There may also be times when, the relationship between organizations and firms may deteriorate, with firms offering harmful, undesirable, and poor-quality goods and services to their customers. In the end, these firms would face no consequences because of the inadequate enforcement by the police, of the relevant consumer protection rules and regulations. This, several people feel, has led to low quality of service delivery in many fields like; education and health services, because of reduced revenue for the government.
Why Corruption Goes Unreported
The Zambian Government realized that the measures in place to fight corruption were not bearing much fruit and in 2009 came up with a new anti-corruption policy (Mbao, 2011). The anticorruption offices are found in all the ten (10) provincial capitals of Zambia with Zambia Police Stations being the local agents, wherever they are found. Thus, for an individual to report incidences of corruption, they would have to, most of the time, go through the police service, although it is a fact that service delivery by the police in the country is less than desirable (Phiri and Guven-Uslu 2019). As such, reporting corruption would make little difference as the culprits are not likely to be brought to justice in good time, if at all. The situation worsens in instances when the suspects perpetrating corruption are members of the police force. It would make little sense for impartiality to prevail in instances where the police are tasked with investigating their own and then prosecuting them.
Conflict of interest, within the police, reduces the likelihood of bringing rogue and corrupt members of the police force to book (Bayley & Perito, 2011). This is an issue that is further confounded by the absence of a robust judiciary that can zealously enforce the laws. Zambian courts have been identified to be avenues of incompetence and miscarriage of justice due to the tightly linked chain of corruption and incompetence along with the law enforcement - justice delivery chain (Eme, et., al., 2017). It, therefore, makes little sense to report cases of corruption that would most likely not be investigated and even where they are, would likely not achieve much justice in court (Punch, 2009), it is also possible that the complainants and witnesses may be subjected to harassment and intimidation. There might also be times when the corrupt players within the police can hide, suppress or even destroy evidence. This, therefore, has reduced the available incentives to report corruption even where evidence of its occurrence might have been glaring and obvious.
Current Measures to Curb Police Corruption
A basic question asked on whether the current measures taken to curb police corruption were enough got a, 100% NO, the response from both the police and the general public respondents. To redeem the image and integrity of the police service in Zambia, however, the government has tried to take steps to reduce the incidences of corruption therein. Some of these measures are slow-acting in helping to reduce corruption, but are likely to be of use in the future. Others have not been so helpful and may not achieve much in curbing the vice within the Zambian Police Service. For instance, the training on morality and ethics of work performance carried out in the police colleges might not have immediate benefits but could help in the coming days (Martin, 2019: Isbell, 2018). The implementation of better pay and working conditions for police may also take a while to help root out the vice by greatly reducing the propensity to corrupt practices among police officers. Further, greater surveillance and supervision of police officers that have been put in place have not been very helpful, because they have been reactionary rather than preventive measures (Azeez, 2019: Clarke, 2019). Finally, the involvement and participation of the public in police reforms may not be likely to help soon. There still exist great fears of possible victimization by suspects who can subvert justice (Pillay, 2017: Gundani, 2018). The imperfect systems of prosecution also greatly negate the efforts of involving the Zambian public in police reforms. Overall, more needs to be done by the government of the Republic of Zambia to address corruption within its National Police Service. Many agree with Pillay (2017) who states that the current statutes are in themselves not strong enough to decisively root out the vice.
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