What role does social stigma play in police ethics?


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Samantha Mitchell Profile
Social stigma is a controversial and much debated topic; its role in law enforcement is perhaps one of the most debatable and crucial aspects.

Social stigma varies vastly from country to country. Depending on a country's foreign policies including countries they are possibly at war with, or have immigration issues with, the social stigma attached to certain ethnicities or creeds can have a great effect on the public. This attitude from the general public, or rather, sections of the public prejudice against other sections can directly influence law enforcement.

Islam has perhaps been the biggest source of social stigma in the Western World over the past decade or so. While Islam is peaceful, global religion with over a billion muslims, the religion's reputation has come under unfair scrutiny. This is largely due to terrorist factions hiding behind the protection of their religion to justify their own misguided wicked intentions. After 9/11, there was wide spread animosity towards people of an Asian ethnicity, often regardless of their religion; many Hindus, Sikhs and members of other religions were harassed indiscriminately.

These events and news stories cannot help but influence an individual's perspective. While the law, as a concept, is intended to judge all members of its society equally and fairly, the people enforcing these laws are individuals in their own right. They may have professional codes of ethics to abide by, but in some situations, an officer of the law's own perceptions of threats etc. Can weigh in, sometimes for the better, and sometimes unfairly.

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