In wall), mutual understanding, loyalty and discretion.

In any organization, cultures factor is heavily on performance. Edgar Schein (1988) famously described organizational culture as “the way we do things around here.” This kind of definition sought to bring to light the natural development of culture amongst any group of people that frequently interact.

A sub culture distinguishes itself from its parent culture by opting for values that lie outside that culture’s domain. The group of people that adopt a sub culture may or may not have the same goals and beliefs as the rest of the organization or community. The difference may exist in the set of values that they opt for.

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The police as a law enforcement body has a code of ethics that is critical to the role it plays to society. This code embodies three principles, i.e. equal treatment, moral use of power and exemplary observance of law (Lawrence npag). In coexistence with this code, is the police subculture which is composed of a slightly different set of working values.

These include an obligation to secrecy/silence (also referred to as the blue wall), mutual understanding, loyalty and discretion. Just like any other organization with a hierarchical structure, those at the top of the force are given the upper hand in deciding on appropriate policies for day to day operations.

If these policies do not serve to benefit both the community and the police officer equally, then this general bias will justify what emerges as a sub culture. The police sub culture can only be justified if it is responsible enough to deliver the intended mission of the general police force as a whole which is to protect the public. Also, the sub culture enabled officers to work as a united front since by following this culture each officer’s personal interests are protected by fellow officers.


Lawrence, N. (2010). Police Subcultures Vs. Law Enforcement Code of Ethics. Retrieved from code-ethics.html

Schein, E.H. (2010). Organizational Behavior and Leadership. San Fransisco: Jossey- Bass.