Explain What Police Ethics, Professionalism, Integrity and Leadership Is?


Policing belongs to the occupations that require certain personality traits to fulfill and endure the high demands and stressful situations of the job. The demanding nature of police work requires one to possess unique traits that make them successful in their job. Crime control relies upon respect and mutual trust between the police and the community it serves. The public trusts law enforcers to protect the people and follow the applicable laws. Similarly, the police trust the citizens to comply with the law and report the crime. This kind of partnership calls for police ethics, integrity, and professionalism. This paper explains ethics, professionalism, and integrity relating to the police job.

Police Ethics, Professionalism, Integrity and Leadership

Human personality falls into five dimensions: conscientiousness, agreeable, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness (Garbarino, Chorri, & Magnavita, 2014). Conscientious people are organized, ambitious, and possess positive coping strategies. Neurotic people are vulnerable to stress and are easily irritable. Extraversion involves positive sociability and emotionality. Agreeableness entails characteristics like caring and altruism. Openness describes individuals who are emphatic and open-minded. Successful police officers are usually extravert, agreeable, conscientious, and open to experience. The demanding and stressful nature of the police job requires individuals to exhibit certain traits with job satisfaction and success. These traits include professionalism, integrity, and ethic.

Police must act professionally at all times. Police are required to function within numerous demanding roles and are assumed to have ethical competence. Policing is a very demanding job requiring certain personality traits to cope with the demands, such as conscientiousness. It requires one to exhibit conscientiousness. Conscientious officers are often organized, motivated, and careful. They follow established rules and practices of the job when discharging their functions. They can cope and adapt to any situation that arises while on duty (Sanders, 2008). They can cope with and manage job stress.

 Integrity is an important characteristic required of police officers to successfully perform their job. Integrity can improve public trust and confidence in the police. Police integrity implies that police officers are operating within the confines of the law and per established practices and standards. Police wield immense power that can erode public trust in law enforcement agencies if abused. They also enjoy special privileges and rights in the community which they serve. They took an oath not to abuse these privileges and rights when serving the community. Having integrity implies that police personnel genuinely acknowledge the espoused moral standards and values of policing. It means that police officers consistently act in accordance with those standards and values amid external pressures. A police career requires one to demonstrate a high standard of character. Integrity, demonstrated via the personal life of a police officer, provides the basis for a reputable career. A police officer of integrity understands how their actions may affect others. They also take responsibility for their actions.

Police ethics is about doing what is right.  Police ethics are moral values which are accepted as professional standards in policing. Ethical ethics include complying with formal laws and written rules. Police officers’ ethics influence their decision-making skills and judgment. Policing ethics includes values like trust, courage, honesty, loyalty, and allegiance. Police officers encounter situations (police discretion) that require them to use professional standards to address the issue. Ethically resolving the issue is vital to proving police trustworthiness and credibility. Situations such as these require officers to be adaptable and flexible to fit into the situation. Courage is another important value in which an officer is expected to lead by example and do what is right. Ethics is revealed through character traits demonstrated in public and private life. A police officer who is considered untrustworthy in private cannot be trusted to function legally. Police departments rely on personality assessment when selecting candidates who exhibit personality traits like courage, confidence, and empathy.

Emotional intelligence is a valuable trait in solving emotional issues. Emotional intelligence the ability to monitor own feelings and emotions and other people’s feelings, and employ this information to guide one’s actions (Semrad, & Scott-Parker, 2020). Emotional intelligence is a part of policing. Police officers deal with dangerous situations, involving violent criminal activities, stressful and emotional incidents. As a result, officers who show emotional intelligence cope with the violence and trauma they encounter. Officers with emotional intelligence can perceive, manage, control, and understand the emotions and feelings of the self and of others while discharging their roles and duties. Such officers exhibit self-control, self-confidence, conflict management, empathy and interpersonal relationship for successful policing. Garbarino et al (2012) showed that police officers are emotionally stable and resilient to stress. Officers with emotional stability exhibit high levels of work control. They have the calmness required to confront dangerous situations or incidents (Garbarino et al. (2014).


This paper has described police integrity, professionalism, and ethics. Owing to the demanding nature of the police work, these traits are key to guiding police officers in achieving their goal and building public trust and confidence. As a future police officer, I will be guided by these standards in discharging my function.   


Garbarino, S., Chiorri, C., & Magnavita, N. (2014). Personality traits of the Five-Factor Model are associated with work-related stress in special force police officers. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 87, 295-306

Garbarino, S., Chiorri, C., Magnavita, N., Piattino, S., & Cuomo, G. (2012). Personality Profiles on Special Force Police Officers. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 27, 99-110.

Sanders, B. A. (2008). Using Personality Traits to Predict Police Officer Performance. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 31(1), 129-147.

Semrad, M., & Scott-Parker, B. (2020). Police, personality and the ability to deceive. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 22(1) 50–61.

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