The report deals chiefly with developments since February 2002 deriving from the decisions of the Permanent Council to appoint police affairs staff to the Secretariat and proposals for the organization’s future mode of operation.
There is overwhelming evidence to show that good policing has a vital role to play in the prevention of conflict(particularly secondary conflict), the preservation of social stability during political crises and the post-conflict rehabilitation of societies. Without effective law enforcement, respect for the rule of law and the operation of institutions responsible for upholding it, there can be little likelihood of social, political or economic development in any State.
In many countries and regions, criminal networks, corruption and intimidation continue to obstruct progress in political and economic rebuilding. The existence of new States has created new borders, but has not affected the ability of crime syndicates to engage in transnational criminal activity. Countries, like those in the Balkans, which have been isolated as a result of conflict for over a decade, will require long-term assistance to rebuild their police forces and bring them to the same level as those of their international counterparts. The countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus are, to a lesser or greater degree, all confronted by the threats of drugs, transnational crime and extremist violence, both political and religious and this means that their police forces must be given up-to-date means of tackling each threat, must be linked to the police forces of other countries and must be free from corruption.
The creation of a central focal point for police-related activities within the OSCE Secretariat has prompted a surge of interest both from within the OSCE and from outside. The amount of interest has demonstrated an encouraging welcome for the OSCE’s fresh emphasis on direct security-related affairs and the expectation that police-related activities will form a vital and substantial element in the Organization’s work. This interest reflects a realization that crime is amongst the most substantial security problems to confront the world today. Organized crime commands incalculable wealth, sufficient to threaten some countries’ economies, and uses progressively more technologically advanced means of acquiring legitimate power by illegitimate means. Corruption and ruthless intimidation frequently mean that perpetrators remain unconvicted and people lose confidence in the ability of the police or the will of the State to protect them. The international community is becoming more aware that strengthening the security of States has much more to do with sustaining the rule of law and preventing or dealing with crime, corruption and human rights violations than has hitherto been the case.