Policing includes all activities performed by police forces of various kinds (including military ones), most prominently law enforcement and crime prevention. Contemporary key issues related to policing include transnational policing practices, for instance of protesters, the privatization of certain services and activities related to policing and the links between reforms of police forces and democratization in transitional situations.


Community policing? Achieving more realistic results

It has become fashionable for first-world donors to embrace ‘community policing’ for developing-world security programmes. But context is everything.

After Garissa, Kenya needs to break the cycle

The massacre at a university in Kenya should lead the government to a recognition that repressive and discriminatory reactions, however tempting, have only fuelled such horrific violence.

Grief and rage in India: making violence against women history?

There was uproar in India at the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old student on her way home from the cinema. Can we harness the international attention to this case to demand that the world's leaders commit themselves to a policy of zero tolerance of violence against women ?

Incarcerating America

The urge to reform the prison system should be applauded, but alternative forms of confinement are becoming commonplace in other parts of American life.

How states can constrain resort to political violence

Recognising there are political elements to any campaign of militant violence makes it less ‘terrifying’ for society and is crucial in developing measures to constrain it. 

South Africa’s parliament and the politicisation of the police

The police were a symbol of the old, apartheid South Africa. Unfortunately they are becoming a symbol of the ‘new South Africa’ too.

Egypt: from bathhouse to prison

No one is immune to the Egyptian authorities’ ruthless crackdown. Most recently ‘debauchery’ charges have been brought against those deemed to fall short of their moral standards.

Mexico: student disappearances focus anger at abuse and impunity

Students shot dead by police, others “disappeared”, mass graves located … the absence of the rule of law and trampling on human rights in Mexico is sparking widespread protest.

Why are police becoming more like soldiers?

Militarisation of the police is a developing phenomenon, spreading into nominally democratic societies as the bonds of popular consent to the status quo weaken.

Watching Ferguson, but still unseeing

Scaling back police militarization will not end the abuse of the state; the US has consistently mobilized the same tactics and attitudes towards undesirable communities domestically and abroad.

In search of security: "there to keep the peace"

Film: Testimony of the violence of a police-led eviction and experience of the policing which comes from racist stereotypes defining Travellers as 'criminals'. Part of the Whose Police? collection of interviews with citizens, analysts and activists around the world exploring the question: where does security come from?

Two killings, two videos–and a double standard

The world now knows the name of James Foley, the US journalist brutally murdered by Islamic State. Rather fewer have heard of Kajieme Powell, also a US citizenalso now dead.

From cops to counterinsurgents: the militarization of America's police

Welcome to a new era of American policing, where cops increasingly see themselves as soldiers occupying enemy territory.

Chile's support for Palestine: two-faced on indigenous rights

Chile's diplomatic outcry against Israel has been welcomed by supporters of the Palestinian cause, but its indigenous Mapuche communities continue to face discrimination, brutality and repression at the hands of the state. 

Black justice campaigns prepare for new inquiry into undercover policing

It has recently emerged that the UK police have been spying on black justice campaigns for decades. Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a new judge-led public inquiry into undercover policing. Suresh Grover examines the revelations, and explores how black justice campaigns could mobilise around the inquiry.

It's the morality, stupid!

Why do Britons want more policing, prisons and punishment? The political left need to incorporate morality into analysis and debate around crime.

Losing Pride

London's Gay Pride includes the Metropolitan Police marching in full uniform. Visibility as proud LGBTQ police officers threatens to make invisible LGBTQ people oppressed by the police. Has the notion of gay pride been co-opted, and is it now lost as part of a struggle for LGBTQ liberation?

Brazil: a country of jangled nerves

As the World Cup opens, few Brazilians are heading for the beach to samba: behind the stereotype is a country which has accumulated a perfect storm of social and economic insecurities.

Predictive policing: mapping the future of policing?

New predictive policing technologies seem to promise crime reduction. But predictive policing also threatens the extension of policing biases; risks to privacy emergent from the data gathering required; and neglect of alternative interventions tackling the root causes of crime. Are the trade offs too large?

Tiananmen at 25: the fate of mass demonstration in China

China's growing economic prosperity has distinguished today's youth – and their demands – from the "89 generation". But though unlikely to occupy the square, the introduction of digital technologies means that political protest is not dead. 

Building the blacklist: police spies and trade unionists

In 2009 a UK construction industry blacklist, administered by a private company holding files on thousands of people, was busted. Evidence is now emerging of police involvement, bringing yet another layer to the scandal of police spies and state surveillance.

The creation of a border security state

Americans may increasingly wonder whether NSA agents are scouring their meta-data, reading their personal emails, and the like. On the US-Mexican border no imagination is necessary.

India’s policing disorder

In the 1990s Mumbai's 'crime-busting' policing strategy included routine extra-judicial executions, known as 'encounter killings'. Here this state violence is examined as communalisation of the police, enforcing insecurity for the minority over security for all.

Policing academia: exporting 'expertise', importing marketisation

Manchester Metropolitan University is working with the Qatari government to train Qatari police officers. What does the export of policing 'expertise', such as within this lucrative business deal, reveal about the transformation of academia in the UK?

#IPCCFail – the police complaints watchdog’s “decade of failure”

It's ten years since the Independent Police Complaints Commission was founded, and they've utterly failed.

Barton Moss: policing in the absence of democracy

Violence has been a running theme within the policing of anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss. Individual officers are acting with impunity. Is this reflective of a policing strategy seeking to disrupt the protests on behalf of vested interests?

Community policing or counter-terrorism: What was Britain doing in Sri Lanka?

Why were the British delivering a 'community policing' program during and after Sri Lanka's 2009 civil war? And why are 'national security and counter-terrorism' the reasons for refusing disclosure about it?

Racism: troubling truths

Fighting racism in Europe is not easy when Europe has two hands tied behind its back—debilitated by neo-liberal policies on the one hand and the securitisation of minorities on the other.

Fish rot from the head

Torture is routine practice in South Africa's police stations and prisons. A lineage of impunity, traced from apartheid, has meant de facto immunity for perpetrators. With South Africa celebrating its 'Human Rights Day' this weekend, the shocking reality behind its prison walls must be a central focus.

Policing public sexuality: queerness, intimacy, protection and violence

Excluded from police protection, subjected to intimate scrutiny of one's public sexuality, and regularly victim of police violence, for LGBTQ people in India police presence routinely signals danger. The queer rights movement has developed intertwined with this reality of intimate police violence.

Content warning: this article contains description of rape and sexual violence.

Five thoughts on abolishing the Met

Whilst seemingly necessary and incisive, recent calls to 'abolish' London's Metropolitan police do not go nearly far enough.

The violence of denial

Twenty-one years since the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in South London, the criminal justice system maintains a reflex to deny racism. This amounts to the routine denial of justice.

The thin blue line between security, policing and the arms trade

On March 12-14 the quiet English town of Farnborough will play host to the Security & Policing conference and exhibition. This event will bring together some of the world's largest arms companies with some of the worst human rights abusers.

Beyond Yasukuni: Japan's march towards militarism

From constitutional revisions to education reform, the Japanese government is intent on undoing the country's pacifist fundamentals. 

White-washing the water cannon: salesmen, scientific experts and human rights abuses

Scrubbing away the white-wash of 'less lethal' riot control reveals a history littered with humanitarian disasters, weaponisation, inadequate testing, and corporate profiteering. What does a 'public consultation' on water cannon mean when this history is hidden?

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