The acceptance of gratuities is one of the grey areas of criminal justice. There is no simple answer to whether gratuities should be refused or accepted. Although there are more arguments against acceptance gratuities there are plenty of situations where gratuities must be accepted. Just like in any other situation related to ethical decisions, the acceptance of gratuities varies from situation to situation, some more clear than the others.
Stephen Coleman highlights three reasons why police should not accept gratuities in his article “When Police Should Say No! to Gratuities”. The first reason he talks about is the ‘slippery slope towards corruption.’ This theory states that accepting things such as a cup of coffee or a doughnut are forms of corruption because they lead to corruption. Although accepting something as little as a cup of coffee may seem innocent it is considered being on top of the slippery slope. (Coleman, 2004, p. 2) For example, If you take the academic career of a student, he may say that it is no big deal to copy homework that does not need to be submitted but it is considered a big deal to plagiarize on a research paper. Although many students don’t concern copying homework as cheating but when you look at it from the point of view of the slippery slope theory it’s the same type of felony. If it is no big deal copying homework today, it won’t be too bad of a thing to look over at a neighbors answer sheet during a test tomorrow. Once we get lazy and commit even the smallest crime once we expected to repeat at a greater scale. A kid who doesn’t cheat on test but is okay with copying homework might get tempted to cheat on an exam if he’s forgotten to study because he’s already been a part of a similar act before. Henceforth, from the moment he started copying homework he was on top of the so called slippery slope. If he continues to slip downwards later it may not even seem like a big deal to plagiarize.
The second aspect he highlights is the democratic ethos of policing. Article 9 of Canons of Police Ethics states:
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