Ethical Decision Making.


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Making ethical decisions within the Police is an absolute necessity in order to gain the confidence of the public that police officers serve. Ethical decision making does not mean making a decision that everyone agrees with. It means making an ethical decision between competing choices. Would the ethical decision fit with the Roles and Responsibilities, professional duties and legal requirements of policing? Does the ethical decision violate any of the responsibilities of policing or can it be argued that if it the Ethical Decision does violate such rights it is egoism, good for the individual and least harm to one’s self or in the case of utilitarianism good for a group and the ethical decision causes the least harm to the group or even altruistic in that the ethical decision is good for all but harmful to one’s self. The bed rock of ethical decision making within policing can be found enshrined in the professional code of conduct, statement of ethical principles and the oath of office of a police officer. If ethical decision making within policing can be seen to embrace the adopted policies they can be examined in the cold light of day within these principles. If an ethical decision made by a police officer can not withstand the public scrutiny can not be discussed in open view of the public then the question must be asked if the ethical decision making process can be justified or indeed ethical. It is the case in some policing environments the justification for not disclosing how certain ethical decision are taken is a matter for debate and scrutiny by special oversight groups and committees due the sensitivity of the issue in question however the universal truth is can the individual officer justify their ethical decision making process to an independent oversight person or group can they justify the ethical decision. Ethical decision making is not easy within the concepts of policing and depends on the individual person involved.

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