Blue curtain or “Blue Code of Silence” is an unwritten normative injunction. This term has many different names like blue wall or blue cocoon, but usually it is called “Code of Silence”. Police uses this code to protect themselves from investigations within the agency; there are cases when blue code is used to hide police wrong acts or even corruption.
Police work is integrally connected with the potential danger and sometimes their actions may be not legal. Due to these facts, police officers have some kind of brotherhood, where everybody tries to help each other and even turn a blind eye on a criminality among other police officers (Sarre, Das & Albrecht, 2005). Loyalty to each other is not a unique case; this tendency is widespread in every sphere, ranging from lawyers and doctors to office workers. However, police officers, due to their specific kind of job, developed an environment that propagandizes the especial feeling of loyalty among the members of this brotherhood.
“Blue curtain” is a problem in police agencies because police officers put loyalty over integrity. The duty of police officer is to protect citizens, obey laws and serve the people, but, in fact, the situation is different; those people who must be the example of honor and trustworthy break the law when they need it. One can say that the system is weak and corrupted and, as a result, the society faces such phenomenon as blue curtain. Nevertheless, it is really hard to say for sure that this phenomenon is absolutely negative. No doubts, the government lays down laws to make all people equal in the face of justice. Everybody should obey them without distinction of race, class, sex or age (Sarre, Das & Albrecht, 2005). Police officers are the representatives of authorities; they must watch that people obey laws. If an ordinary citizen breaks a law, it is a common situation, but if a police officer does it then it often leads to a scandal.
People can understand when a maniac or a terrorist harm other people, but they cannot accept when police, which is called to serve people, uses its force against them. Blue curtain can be discussed from two opposite points of view. On the one hand, everybody is equal and if somebody does not obey laws, he must be punished according to the laws in a particular state. Nevertheless, in some cases police officers protect each other because their work is connected with constant risk. No one can deny that police officers during their work have a strong dependence of each other. They need to have a person whom they can rely on and who can cover their back. If you do not trust your partner, you cannot put your life in his hands. Thus, it is essential that police officers have more trust-based relations than anyone else who works on other position (Sarre, Das & Albrecht, 2005).
According to this fact, police officers are able not to notice small crimes of their colleagues. If your partner saved your life yesterday then it is understandable that you would, probably, not report that he exceeded instructions during the arrest of a suspect. However, if blue curtain relates only to a small injustice, perhaps nobody pays special attention to this issue. Nevertheless, there are cases when serious crimes, such as corruption, have place because of inactivity among police officers. In this case, there should be taken more strict measures to prevent similar situations. In fact, such phenomenon as “Blue Curtain” is really hard to stop; it is not a sociological issue, it relates more to psychology and relations between people in the society.
- Sarre, R., Das K, D., & Albrecht, H. (2005). Policing corruption: international perspectives. MD: Lexington Books.