The CSS Blog Network

Why the AU Needs to Get Policing Right

A Nigerian police officer, as part of AMISOM’s Foreign Police Unit, conducts a foot patrol near Lido Beach in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. Image: TOBIN JONES/Flickr

This article was originally published by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on 1 July 2015.

While the role of police in peace support operations used to be limited to tasks of monitoring and observing, it has changed to encompass complex and substantive roles. These include helping to rebuild the capacity of police and broader law enforcement institutions that have suffered the consequences of violent conflict.

Usually in the aftermath of conflict, these institutions are critical in rebuilding public confidence in the rule of law, which has typically been either diminished by the conflict or, in some cases, totally destroyed. Following the Brahimi Report (2000), police roles were viewed in the wider context of the rule of law, protection of civilians and human rights. New areas of focus include emerging threats such as terrorism, organised transnational crime and corruption. » More

Can Militarizing Public Security Reduce Violence on the Streets of Honduras?

Honduran police officers. Image: Paulien Osse/Flickr

This article was originally published by Southern Pulse on 4 December, 2014.

In recent years Honduras has been on a trajectory to militarize its police force. Towards the end of 2011, the Honduran National Congress approved a decree allowing military personnel to perform duties normally carried out by police officers such as making arrests, disarming civilians and raiding private residences. In 2013, militarization practices became more solidified when Congress authorized the creation of two new forces, the Tropa de Investigación y Grupo de Respuesta Especial de Seguridad (TIGRES) and the Policía Militar del Orden Público, (PMOP, or Military Police). The Military Police currently has 2,000 officers and is expected to reach 5,000 officers. The 2013 legislation granted the PMOP power over patrolling and securing violent neighborhoods and arresting people deemed a threat to public security. This militarization occurred under the guise of what appeared to be the strengthening of a weak and non-functioning police force. The involvement of police in crimes and extrajudicial killings in recent years was used as grounds for the government to slowly phase out traditional methods of law enforcement and implement this new military approach to policing. The paradox herein lies in the fact that military personnel in Honduras have an equally horrific track record of abusing power and human rights. » More

Benny Wenda: “West Papuans Are Living in a Prison”

This article was originally published by Contributoria.com on 1 September 2014.


Last month, as Indonesians prepared to vote for a new president, dozens of West Papuan activists were reportedly attacked by security forces for urging local people to boycott the elections. Mischa Wilmers speaks to the exiled leader of the Free West Papua movement, Benny Wenda, about his lifelong struggle for justice and asks why nobody is talking about the territory he calls ‘little South Africa.’ » More

Why Are Police Becoming More Like Soldiers?

Image: Sdlewis/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by openSecurity on 1 September 2014.

In the last decades, militarisation of the state and surveillance of the population have grown exponentially in many western countries. Police forces, civilian institutions and even urban spaces have followed this trend of securitisation. Images of heavily armed police forces clashing against protesters in the US, UK, France and many other countries are becoming increasingly common. Leaked official documents have detailed the extensive surveillance programmes several states use to spy on their denizens, under the auspice of “national security”.

While the “war on drugs” and the “war on terror” have often provided the pretext, those affected by militarisation and surveillance are mostly neither criminal kingpins nor “terrorists” but ordinary citizens. It has been political activists and groups, those who express dissent and protesters, as well it is true as small-time criminals, who have been on the receiving end of police SWAT team raids, extensive (often illegal) surveillance and assaults by heavily-armoured riot police.

» More

From Cops to Counterinsurgents – the Militarization of America’s Police

Image: Thomas Hawk/Flickr

This article was originally published by OpenDemocracy on 14 August 2014.

Jason Westcott was afraid.

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott’s handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.” » More

Page 1 of 2