The case study chosen is the Undercover Policing and the two theories which will be applied to the case study are Act Utilitarianism and Nicomachean Virtue Ethics. The details of the case are as follows: A person works as an undercover cop seeking to uncover perpetrators of a ring of drug dealing in the area. The undercover cop has tried quite hard to win the gang members' trust and has exposed himself to their criminal activity. The undercover cop's success and long - term survival require healthy relationships with them to be sustained. One man of the gang becomes especially comfortable with the cop and invites him to his house, out with his wife, and family gatherings. The aspect that impacts the cop is the guy's disclosing to the cop of his troubling past that caused him to become associated with this gang; his memories of abuse, alcohol, and poverty of his family and the 'out' that his participation with the gang provided for him. The dilemma of the undercover cop emerges when the undercover cop’s friendship with the guy of the gang started growing causing the cop to doubt the ethics of omission lies, and the cop started feeling that, is the value of dismantling an organized crime network that abuses people's addictions within the group can be justified, to cop's feelings of cheating someone who considered him a friend and trusted the cop. The cop starts thinking about his role as an undercover police officer to investigate and how he will be using his ethical logic to resolve his dilemma feelings.
By way of dirty hands, there is one way of knowing the moral status of covert jobs. When one cop was questioned regarding his work ethics, he, being an undercover cop, said, 'it is like having to create dry water or fireproof gas.' The frequently credited opinion is that authority necessarily indicates performing certain acts that are wrong, resulting from actual moral dilemmas. This moral trace must be embraced, but one would do best than to linger on the misdeeds. Committing moral mistakes is a component of the essence of undercover jobs. The utmost one could do is to accept the principles that one gains: in this case, crime prevention, and improved security. As per the Instrumental model, the Undercover job is justified in situations wherein the benefits overshadow its harms. 'A standard undercover investigation directed at drug trafficking with good intelligence would allow police to build up a comprehensive image of the personal life of all those engaged and their partners. One must not have any sympathy and compassion with the ones whose ambitions are held back by the secret police, where those being investigated are properly accused of being involved in crime (Nathan, 2017).
Police ethics is the unique commitment of complying with the moral obligation and duties implicit in the work of the police. The cause why public ethics has gained coverage based largely on the several concerns related to the power of the police, control, and circumspection: · police authority · law protection · police administrative existence, and · social pressure by both personal and collective society. Owing to the additional control police possess, the dilemmas of ethics and resulting actions that face the cops in a democratic system are so exceptional that there is no specific sector under which the people are held to such a high degree of personal and professional conduct. Highlights the value of integrity for the officers of police, as they have the power to: take actions impacting the lives, liberties, and assets of other people; · authority to use invasive, clandestine and misleading methods; · responsibility to law enforcement; · responsibility to preserve citizens' interests, · vital task to play in defending vulnerable communities who are difficult to reach, · civil officers and, thus, as the designated stewards of the rights of the people, they should demonstrate high levels of honesty (a devotion to moral life), · gatekeepers to democracy and uprightness, · The honesty of the police has experienced a string of shocks worldwide of dishonesty, ineffectiveness or discrimination (Kingshott and Prinsloo, 2004).
It is plausible to suggest that undercover policing uses three strategical options: discretion, deception, and disguise. The role of the police in reducing and preventing violence, a public order maintenance goal, is stressed by several communities, perhaps to the point of identifying this objective in requiring legislation (Harfiled, 2018). It would have an immediate observable deterrent impact if the cops are unrecognizable. Across many regions, it is standard practice that investigators don't wear uniforms and are thus not instantly identifiable as police officers. This serves to encourage undercover cops to unobtrusively participate. The wearing of different dress of civilian attire instead of a uniform of police makes no legal distinction to the collecting of facts. The potential to work discreetly involves undercover officers.
Globally, three general administrative frameworks are noticeable in the administration of covert policing: a negative liberty model in which an agent or source can do something that is not expressly forbidden; a positive authority model in which covert policing or a particular technique requires specific legislative empowerment; and an exception from the liability model under which it defines the liability model, where the defined conduct is forbidden by statute, except if conducted and duly permitted for undercover policing, those who perform the activity will be protected from civil and/or criminal liability (Harfiled, 2018).
Despite the issues related to clandestine strategies, their use is at times a necessary evil. A successful way to find crooks may be undercover jobs. The elimination of undercover jobs would make it harder for the police to track and prosecute covert and consensual offenses. As an important supplementary strategy, Covert has also prospered. Covert strategies in their "normal state" can elicit admissions and confessions, and thereby resolve the normal unwillingness of judges and juries to convict someone of a serious crime. Undercover work may often be a successful solution to localized street crime and can sometimes only acquire significant proof of business and political misconduct (Wachtel, 1992).
In his popular Nicomachean Ethics work, Aristotle reveals that moral virtue is a middle condition, and is an intermediary among two behaviors: excess and deficiency. "Because of its efficiency, it retains this position of striving to reach the middle point of emotions and actions," (Küçükuysal and Beyhan, 2011). Aristotle suggests three principles to help one attain the means to be a virtuous individual, stressing the challenge of aiming for a middle path. The first law is to "stay away from the extreme that is the most contradictory to it." One is a worse fault than the other because of two extremes, deficiency and excess. Aristotle says that "one has to navigate to the 2nd best route," (Küçükuysal and Beyhan, 2011) because it is incredibly difficult to enter the middle position. The second law proposed by Aristotle is to be mindful of the errors one who is most susceptible to. All are distinct in terms of their inherent inclination towards different faults. One may and can learn habits to what flaws one is susceptible to strive to go the other way round. Finally, one must have to strive to find good aspects of good emotions in everything. These 3 steps are, according to Aristotle, the perfect way to get one on the middle course (Küçükuysal and Beyhan, 2011). The theory of Act utilitarianism is that a morally acceptable act is one that would achieve the greatest social benefit anticipated in the current situation (Harsanyi, 2009).
In the case study chosen of undercover policing, both the theories discussed above apply absolutely. The undercover cop being in a dilemma between cheating his friend which he made during the investigation will be ethical or not and whether hiding things from his superiors who assigned him the task to investigate by becoming an undercover police officer will be ethical or not. As per Nicomachean Ethics, the undercover cop shall understand that by the first rule he shall aim for reaching the middle course that is nor be in deficiency and nor above his duties. He shall apply his mind without neglecting anything. He should see the things the way they are, rather cooking up a story in his head, that is to say, apply the first step of Nicomachean ethics theory by reaching a reasonable conclusion i.e. middle point. As per the second rule of Nicomachean theory of ethics, the undercover cop shall go in the opposite direction to what he is currently feeling as the current thought process of him can lead to faults. It can lead to faults as the cop is stuck in emotions with the guy of the drug gang who befriended him. He must understand that he is on a professional duty to expose the menace of the drug. As per the third rule, the cop shall remain positive and pleasant while remembering that as to why he was assigned the job and how pleasant it would be to the society once the drug racket is exposed. This way Nicomachean theory and its 3 steps apply to the case study and by this, the undercover cop will be able to clear his dilemma. As per the theory of Act Utilitarianism, the undercover cop shall understand that morally right action is one that is beneficial to society at large (Harsanyi, 2009). He must consciously think about his role. He must acknowledge the damage which has been caused by the drugs mafia and drug trafficking. The undercover cop after analyzing the theory of Act utilitarianism must perform his duties for the larger benefit to the society and remove the dilemma of the drug trafficker gang’s guy interest who has behaved nicely to him.
In light of the above, it can be concluded that the undercover cop's work is a very serious job to perform and it doesn't suit to the person of such a position to behave emotionally, and, rather he shall act strongly and feasibly as most of the criminals have bad past which leads them to criminal activities. This cannot be an excuse for engagement in criminal activities.
Harfield, C. (2018). Undercover policing-a legal-comparative perspective. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Harsanyi, J. C. (1985). Rule utilitarianism, equality, and justice. Social philosophy and policy, 2(2), 115-127.
Kingshott, B. & Prinsloo, J. (2004). Ethics in policing. Journal of The South African Society For Greek Philosophy And The Humanities, 5, 49-70.
Küçükuysal, B., & Beyhan, E. (2011). Virtue ethics in Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics. Journal of Human Sciences, 8(2), 43-51.
Nathan, C. (2017) Liability to deception and manipulation: the ethics of undercover policing. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 34 (3), 370-388.
Wachtel, J. (1992). From morals to practice: Dilemmas of control in undercover policing. Crime, Law and Social Change, 18(1-2), 137-158.
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