Police serve a critical function in the criminal justice system as well as in the prevention and investigation of corruption. The police play a vital role in society to maintain peace and security and the rule of law. Whether operating under the direction of national institutions or ministerial authority, or in a more independent capacity, the police rely on the development of the trust of the people and communities they serve in order to be effective. To achieve and maintain this trust, a national police force must be free of corruption and uphold the highest standards of integrity and accountability.

Integrity in the police services is necessary to ensure that the people who work for the police uphold the values of the police service, service the interests of justice and fairness in all situations, and enjoy – at the personal and institutional levels – the confidence and trust of the public they serve. That public confidence is not merely reflective of a common view and understanding that the police service is generally free of corruption and misconduct, and that any violations will result in corrective action and negative consequences. It is also about how the police approach situations and encounters with the public, as well as how they make decisions and treat the people they serve on a daily basis. Such a mutually reinforcing and positive relationship between the police and the public leads to lower crime rates, better public reporting and increased social cohesion, creating the climate necessary for sustainable development at the national and local levels.

UNODC is engaged in a broad range of technical assistance in the reform and development of effective and efficient police services. In the context of integrity and accountability of the police, UNODC offers technical assistance in the following areas:

  • Developing the capacity of the police to improve oversight, accountability, and integrity systems and mechanisms;
  • Supporting the drafting and implementation of national codes of professional policing practices and conduct;
  • Instituting a rigorous system of vetting that is applied to everyone seeking to join the police services, from administration through officer ranks;
  • Creating comprehensive systems and mechanisms for witness and whistleblower protection when corruption or misconduct is reported by the public or internally from within the police services; and
  • Establishing measures to increase transparency in the police service, including publication of the national professional police standards of conduct and ethics, national registers of dismissed officers, and availability of outcomes of misconduct hearings and proceedings. 

For more detailed information on police reform, please follow the links below: