Author Topic: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?  (Read 10955 times)

hope rainbow

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Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« on: October 12, 2011, 01:23:21 PM »
Just yesterday, while driving, I was stopped by a policeman for speeding.
He was going to fine me when he started talking to me in a strange way, asking me: "do you really want to pay this fine, if I fill this form it will cost you over 100 Dollars and it will go into your file". He was bluntly giving me a chance to bribe him!
This is illegal and reprehensible for me as I can be charged for bribing a policeman and illegal for the policeman of course. Never before had I come across a policeman like that and I have been driving for over 20 years (and caught a few times speeding I reckon).
The country in which I live has better standards than that! I had never seen it before, I thought this only happens in some other countries, not at home...
At first, I thought I could not do that... But then, I got tempted to get away with the scheme, so I took my wallet and opened it and in it was a note of 20 Dollars and a few more of 1 Dollar. I took the 20 Dollars bill out and moved it discreetly towards my car door, out of sight.
Before I could see it happen, the policeman took it swiftly and said: "go now, and don't let me catch you speeding again".

I have two questions:
- is this stealing?
- and should I report the incident to the authorities? For if I don't, is it lying?

Positive Change

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2011, 07:59:14 AM »
Just yesterday, while driving, I was stopped by a policeman for speeding.
He was going to fine me when he started talking to me in a strange way, asking me: "do you really want to pay this fine, if I fill this form it will cost you over 100 Dollars and it will go into your file". He was bluntly giving me a chance to bribe him!
This is illegal and reprehensible for me as I can be charged for bribing a policeman and illegal for the policeman of course. Never before had I come across a policeman like that and I have been driving for over 20 years (and caught a few times speeding I reckon).
The country in which I live has better standards than that! I had never seen it before, I thought this only happens in some other countries, not at home...
At first, I thought I could not do that... But then, I got tempted to get away with the scheme, so I took my wallet and opened it and in it was a note of 20 Dollars and a few more of 1 Dollar. I took the 20 Dollars bill out and moved it discreetly towards my car door, out of sight.
Before I could see it happen, the policeman took it swiftly and said: "go now, and don't let me catch you speeding again".

I have two questions:
- is this stealing?
- and should I report the incident to the authorities? For if I don't, is it lying?


Dear HR

With regards to stealing, I suppose you meant the act of the policeman receiving the "bribe". I feel it is 2 pronged. Firstly, you did give the lesser sum knowing it would save you from paying the larger amount. And the policeman, even though knowing full well he was misusing his authority, did "let you off" by accepting the lesser sum as his "payment". To me that is a business deal really. Nobody was hurt and it certainly did teach you a lessen in not speeding I suppose. So it turned out to be a win win situation for both parties involved. Sure there is that guilt factor you are contributing to so called "corruption" on a lesser scale but once again, no one was hurt so for me personally it is ok.

With regards to reporting... well, was he not the authority as well? Kinda strange how that works I know! I do not think you are lying if do not report. But being devil's advocate, I guess you are thinking in not reporting this person, perhaps his actions might escalate into something larger and more serious? Do you happen to have a badge number or name? If so perhaps you should but if not, there is really nothing you can report. However, sharing this on the forum does, to me, tell me you are a conscientious person and are actually thinking about the repercussions... So my advice is do not beat yourself up over it. :)

hope rainbow

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2011, 04:10:17 PM »
Thank you Positive Change, I do feel better somehow.
And I realized that my worries were more about me than about that policeman... Bloody self-cherishing!

vajrastorm

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2011, 08:05:03 AM »
Sorry, HR, but my take is that in this act of bribing, there was harm entailed.

First, the harm to yourself is that ,by paying the bribe money, you have already  made it easier for you to do it again the next time and the next time. Hence it will mean increasing your tendency to act irresponsibly and to try and escape from the pain of punishment/fine of a big sum for speeding.Paying less, like in this case, won't act as a strong reminder and deterrent for you not  to speed in the future and this might lead to harmful consequences of accidents to yourself and others.

As for the policeman, by paying him a bribe ,you are encouraging him to be corrupted and to go around collecting bribes from other people who will also be causing harm to themselves like above.

Finally, if you had paid the fine, you would not have to worry about committing the non-virtuous action of lying by not reporting the policeman to the authorities.

So my take is, to spare oneself from committing two non-virtues, it's better to pay the fine! Sorry HR. I may be a bit too 'far-fetched' in my argument above.

shugdentruth

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2011, 07:01:24 PM »
From my experience, policemen that have the habit of collecting bribes are normally in countries where the police force is poorly paid. Hence the need to carry out such an action. It is normally more of a headache for the police officer if a case of bribery is reported. So maybe if you were to give the police officer a bribe, you may be helping him relieve some of his financial burdens. But on the other hand, contributing to corruption in any scale is not a good thing.

Maybe if you are able to pay the summon, you should. If you are financially strapped, it may be better to accept the option of bribing the police officer.

I normally accept the summon and appeal to have the summon reduced. I am under the impression that the summons are used to cover the expenses of the police force anyways. But perhaps the best solution is not to break the law.

Thanks for having such an interesting topic to discuss upon.  :)

pgdharma

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2011, 05:35:40 AM »
In my opinion, bribing is a non-virtuous act. When we speed, we have gone against the law. When we are stopped by a policeman, we have to face the consequences and pay the fine instead of bribing the policeman. Laws of the country are made to create a better and safer place for us to be. If everyone break the laws and bribe the authorities concerned, then there will be havoc all around us. Also indirectly we are creating negative karma for the policeman as accepting bribe is illegal. So the best solution is do not break the law. If you do, pay up the fine and learn from that mistake.

hope rainbow

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2011, 04:18:14 PM »
Well, though PA made me feel better about it, I must agree with all others, bribing is not the virtuous thing to do, especially so if it is to escape a speeding fine.
I'll be wiser if I ever encounter this situation again.
Thank you forum people.

kurava

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2011, 02:22:46 AM »
Dear HR,
Bribing the police and having gotten away with the fine is like getting a temporary reprieve from the result of our negative action. The negative result will finally catch up and we might end up paying more than the monetary fine .

Traffic fines are meant to deter us from driving dangerously which will cause danger to others and ourselves. If we feel happy that we got away from paying the fine by bribery, we are really short sighted  "sigh"

Am glad you finally see the wisdom of paying the fine and be more mindful of your driving speed  ;)

negra orquida

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 04:30:19 PM »
I wished more people would see the long term view of the results of bribery... i never condoned the act of bribery to get out of a sticky traffic situation, especially if we are in the wrong. whenever this topic crops up my friends would ridicule me and say "things are like this in this country, you will never be able to stop it (bribery and corruption)". But is is precisely because of this mentality going around that bribery and corruption is so difficult to be eradicated! always thinking of short term convenience for oneself rather than long term benefit for the whole country.

another argument for bribery i have been told was "the policeman is paid poorly by the government, not much of the summon you pay will go to them. you are doing them a favour by giving them a bribe directly. they are desperate people". oh my Buddha... then giving them a bribe is encouraging them to engage in wrong livelihood... there is no win-win for bribery in Buddhism or secular world.

yontenjamyang

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2012, 08:30:11 AM »
Yes, it is stealing from the government and benefitting the policeman and yourself. Also, encouraging a wrong livelihood. Whatever it is there is no justification for this.

Personally, I will talk my way out of the ticket if I have good reasons but if I really break the law I can only ask for a chance. I have manage this a few times. Do not insult the policeman in any way. Ot course, I got ticketed also sometimes in 20 years of driving, so just go appeal for the best discount if any and pay the fine.

Amitabha

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2012, 01:31:18 AM »
speed limit is just a guiding principle. car racing is made legal as well. in buddhism, there is no unwise karma related against the law for this instance so long as it was not intentionally causing harm. Even driving at a moderate speed will cause life and lifetime injury as well. so be relax on this aspect.  it also depends on where you have to contribute the summon. if very far away, do you want to bother yourself and them. unless the payment is very conveniently and condusively situated.

KhedrubGyatso

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2012, 01:43:31 PM »
Bribing is worse than stealing as it encourages another to spread the disease of wrong livelihood.Ultimately it is the us who will lose. An example: More accidents will happen due to drivers getting away which lead to costly repairs to man and machine, traffic jams  and downtime.This escalates insurance costs.

If the law requires us to report, then we break the law if we don't. If there are no such laws in force, not reporting a corrupted officer means we are not doing anything to stop bad people from doing bad things.This still attracts  negative karma due to our ignorance thinking we are not causing harm directly.

biggyboy

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2012, 05:20:02 PM »
I always believe that nothing is a coincidence. Everyday we are faced with situations that train us to make the right decision and to do the right thing. Being caught with speeding and the decision of whether to pay the fine or to bribe your way out is one of those.

By bribing the policeman we have 'sinned' and added on our 'impurities'.  Having done something against the law and pay a fine for it is part of financial cleansing or financial purification. Therefore, if we pay a bribe instead of the fine we are differing the purification process and would end up having to deal with a bigger purification at a later date.

Hence, it is better to accept the fine with gratitude and be thankful that it is the fine that you are getting and not some nasty accident because of speeding.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2012, 03:09:08 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bribery

The forms that bribery take are numerous. For example, a motorist might bribe a police officer not to issue a ticket for speeding, a citizen seeking paperwork or utility line connections might bribe a functionary for faster service.

I am sure most of us at one time or another had given in to this rather simple act of paying our way out of a rather unwanted situation.  For example - bribing the policeman would have saved a lot of hassle of going to the police station to clear your traffic offence.

In all reality, I would gather that most people would pay our way and have done it before.

To answer HR :
- if you had offered the bribe to the policeman and he had taken, you would be just as guilty of committing the offence.
- this may be considered stealing in the context that the government is deprived of its income?

ratanasutra

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Re: Bribing a policeman, is it stealing?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2012, 05:31:58 AM »
For the policeman, he steal the money as the money should be paid by fine and it go towards the police organization to develop it organize and benefit the citizen in country in return but because of bribing it go to his own pocket for his own use.

For the person who bribing is not stealing but we do the wrong action and of course it create the negative karma, how heavy of the karma depend on our motivation and action and what we feel after bribing.