New Zealand Police has released an annual report for 2018, available here, that summarizes crime and police activity data regularly updated on their portal, located here. The report’s introduction states “Our evidence-based approach to policing uses statistical information, combined with the skills, knowledge, and experience of our staff, to inform our professional judgement and decision-making. Accurate and up to-date information is critical to how we prevent harm in our communities.”
Hong Kong experienced mass protests last week, resulting in riot police deployment and extensive use of tear gas. When an estimated 2 million people returned to the streets on Sunday, however, they were met by “lightly-armed officers, many of them in baseball caps or in plain clothes” including “a marked increase in the presence of female cops,” as reported here. The switch in tactics seemed to be “an acknowledgement from the police that they had been overly aggressive and sparked public fury over what was deemed a heavy-handed and an excessive use of force.”
This policy brief identifies 4 scenarios with different implications for police reform in post-conflict situations. Experts stress the importance of taking local circumstances into account, but it is not always recognized — “in mission after mission … training programs have been put in place like canned food that is assumed to be universally nourishing. In complex environments, however, one size doesn’t fit all.” This is especially true when national institutions are weak.
This column by Interpol reports a meeting in Lyon of regional police organizations (AFRIPOL, AMERIPOL, ASEANAPOL, the Arab Interior Ministers Council, Europol, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency – Frontex, and the Gulf Cooperation Council-POL) along with the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the UNODC. The focus was “counter-terrorism, organized crime and border security strategies … to ensure that the systems put in place to exchange information and intercept criminals work well together.”
This column interviews two officials who were heavily involved in police reform efforts in Georgia, Ukraine, and Jordan. They describe how changes were implemented in post-Soviet and post-conflict situations, and even in circumstances of active conflict. International assistance was key along with a sustained commitment by activists and reformers.
This document reports several projects using mobile technology to improve assistance to victims of gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict settings. In these kinds of situations, “Police are usually neither trusted nor are they able to respond adequately to incidents of GBV such that victims feel (and are) safe and perpetrators are prosecuted.” The projects identified several promising technologies, including apps and hotlines, but also noted that local context is important, plus “Dialog and trust-building should be in the center of all initiatives to address GBV.”
This column, excerpted from a new book, describes how the advent of the automobile transformed American society and dramatically changed the nature of policing. Regulation of traffic brought police into an adversarial and enforcement relationship with a much wider segment of society than in the past. “Before cars, police mainly dealt with those on the margins of society,” but as the 20th century progressed, “Officers now required discretion to administer the massive traffic enforcement regime and deal with the sensitivities of ‘law-abiding’ citizens who kept violating traffic laws. The law’s accommodation of discretionary policing profoundly altered what it meant to live free from state intrusion in the automotive age.”
Reassigning officers due to misconduct tends to have a detrimental effect on co-workers in the new unit, according to a UK study summarized here. The researchers calculated that “For every 10 percent increase in the proportion of a police officer’s peers with a history of misconduct (for instance, adding one allegedly misbehaving member to a group of 10), that officer’s chances of engaging in misdeeds in the next three months rose by nearly 8 percent.” Effects go both ways, though — “when the number of deviant officers in a cohort went down, so did the chances of its remaining members engaging in misconduct.”
Rwandan military women serving as peacekeepers in African conflict zones indicate their training did not adequately prepare them to help victims of gender-based violence, as reported here. Their pre-deployment training was not realistic enough and there was an assumption that, as women, they would automatically have the skills needed to assist female victims. Interestingly, women police serving in the same missions did not express a training concern, noting that “community engagement was a big part of their day-to-day job in Rwanda and they had significant experience helping those affected by violence.”
The Australian Federal Police have established a popular social media presence, as reported here. The agency has 400,000 followers on Facebook and “The AFP’s video spoof of the infamous placard scene from Love Actually — designed to communicate what the federal police force do — reached over 4 million people.” The article provides numerous examples and tips for using humor with social media to develop an audience and then deliver more serious information.