Purpose - Locus of control is the perception of an individual's perception about events in his or her life. This paper aims to improve police ethical standards using a counselling approach, locus of control to reduce police corruption in Nigeria.
Design/methodology/approach - A pre-test, post-test and control group quasi-experimental approach using a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial matrix was employed in the study. Participants were 200 police personnel conveniently sampled from Oyo and Lagos State Police Commands, Nigeria. Quantitative data were collected with a 100 per cent success rate using a valid and reliable instrument, the police ethical behaviour scale (PEBS).
Findings - Results of the study using analysis of covariance and t-test statistics on three generated hypotheses indicated that locus of control as a counselling technique could significantly reduce police corruption. The moderating effect of gender and career status on the intervention (locus of control) showed that female participants and senior police officers demonstrated a stronger reduction on the corruption measure.
Research limitations/implications - This study was limited to only two State Police Commands out of 37 State Police Commands (including the Federal Capital Territory Command). The findings of the study have implications for police transformation in Nigeria; and on a specialised counselling practice through which locus of control as a counselling technique could be integrated into the police training.
Originality/value - The study fills the existing research gap by utilising locus of control as a counselling intervention strategy. It would therefore be of value to police authorities, anti-corruption bodies, researchers, criminal justice, and academics and practioners.