The Nuremberg Defence is a commonly used response to many Criminal and Misconduct matters that face accused officers. Commonly, it arises when the accused officer outlines a course of conduct which they then justify by stating that their line manager told them to do it or was aware of them doing it. It dates back to the 1940′s as “I was ordered to do it” was the main line of defence used at the Nuremberg Trials I really, really have to re-iterate that it does not minimise or mitigate any irresponsible activity of an accused officer and, in fact, it will fail today just as readily as it failed in 1946. In fact, it may even go towards making the accused officer look like a total prat particularly if the person who has “ordered” them to do it totally denies the matter.
The denial from the Line Manager always seems to be accompanied by a halcyonic, halo glow circling their already angelic face. It is a combination which melts the heart of any uPSD officer because they realise they can stitch the accused officer up with an honesty and integrity issue which we all know means the sack. We also all know that it is every uPSD officer’s dream to get someone sacked whether they are worthy of it or not.
The application of the Nuremberg Defence is significantly flawed in police circles primarily because the level of actual belief of a version of events rises the higher the rank you are. By this I mean that a Sergeant is always believed above a Constable, an Inspector is always believed more than a Sergeant and so on. Therefore any assertion that you were ordered to do it loses the impact as a result.
Take this as a word of advice, if you have cocked up and you know it, don’t blame someone else without clear and unchallengable proof otherwise you just double the troubles you are in.