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Reforming the Police Abroad, by Frank Harris (2016)

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This book has been written to assist practitioners of police reform abroad. The term ‘police reform’ means that process whereby a police organization goes through a significant transformation from a largely non-democratic state to one in which it embraces the values of a modern democracy.


Summary

The term ‘abroad’ indicates that the context of reform is that of transition countries and territories: that is, countries where governments are being replaced following civil wars, governmental collapse, or international imposition (Bayley: 2006). This is an area of international development that requires more research. Although police science has now established a place in many universities around the world, research into police reform has been mainly focussed on events in long-established democracies rather than transition states.

When reform does occur in stable democracies it tends to be in response to spectacular failures and episodes of apparent incompetence that Savage calls ‘system failures’ (2007). The corresponding reform measures are designed to deal with the causes of the particular failure, and rarely involve a comprehensive effort to reform the whole of a police organization. The literature that reflects on the experience of reform in these cases has limited value in the very different context of transition states. In places such as Timor-Leste, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, police reform involved construction of a new organization from scratch. In cases such as Albania and many countries of the former Soviet Union, reform necessitated a gradual process of reconstruction of an existing organization. The scale and complexity of these reform programmes are mind boggling, and the risks of failure too often underestimated (Bayley: 2006).

Vast sums of money have and continue to be spent in the pursuit of police reform in transition states. This investment reflects an undaunted conviction on the part of wealthy democracies that the police represent a vital ingredient in the success or failure of a project to introduce (or reintroduce) democracy and political stability. As observed by Loader (2000), police organizations present a unique paradox in modern democracies as both guarantors of the security upon which the exercise of liberty depends, and a potent, ever-present threat to those same liberties. However, a legitimate criticism of those international organizations that have traditionally taken responsibility for expensive efforts to reform the police abroad is that they give insufficient attention to the experiential learning cycle. In other words, there is not enough reflection on experience and drawing lessons for the future.



Reports, research papers and legal documents

Police reform

Capacity-building, Evaluation, Police reform


Handbook, manual


Private Sector

United Kingdom

10 October 2016

Private Sector

N/a


Relation type Document Title Category
References The Role of Capacity-Building in Police ReformThe Role of Capacity-Building in Police Reform Reports, research papers and legal documents


Courtesy of Frank Harris (c) 2016

Reforming the Police Abroad, by Frank Harris [English] (2.39 Mb) Reforming the Police Abroad, by Frank Harris [English] (Format: PDF) http://polis.osce.org/library/view?item_id=5348&attach_id=4921

Documents

Reforming the Police Abroad, by Frank Harris [English] (2.39 Mb) Reforming the Police Abroad, by Frank Harris [English] (Format: PDF) http://polis.osce.org/library/view?item_id=5348&attach_id=4921