The cult of corruption: reframing organizational frameworks of police corruption from a cultic perspective

Bleakley, Paul ORCID logoORCID: (2021) The cult of corruption: reframing organizational frameworks of police corruption from a cultic perspective. Deviant Behavior, 42 (5) . pp. 565-577. ISSN 0163-9625 [Article] (doi:10.1080/01639625.2020.1741775)

[img] PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (287kB)


Corruption in policing is a criminological phenomenon that is regularly misconstrued – whether as a case of independently-operating “rotten apples” or as a passive symptom of anomic organizational culture. This article seeks to reframe organized police corruption as an active process of seductive-recruitment, wherein corrupt officers utilized the same strategies as a conventional cult to both recruit and retain members. Using the example from Australia of the Queensland Police Force in the era before the Fitzgerald Inquiry as its primary case study, this article draws on a range of cult studies theories to develop an innovative framework for understanding the process by which an officer is lured into organized corruption. It discusses the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators for this in-group affiliation, with reference to matters of role and identity that derive from involvement with the “blue brotherhood” of policing. In casting organized police corruption as a form of secular cult, it provides an opportunity to better understand the tactics used to entrap new members into corrupt networks, as well as to consider the factors that make them vulnerable to recruitment in the first place.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 29558
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Deviant Behavior on 15/03/2020, available online:
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Paul Bleakley
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2020 09:29
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2022 12:20

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.