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Militarisation and policing technologies

Militarisation and policing technologiesThe militarisation and weaponisation of policing is an apparent trend within forces around the globe, with human-rights abuses at the hands of the police a frequent result. In the USA, as Ali Winston shows, the "paramilitary approach" has been the "new normal" for a long time, with disturbing consequences. The lethal results of militarised policing are often felt most acutely by the poor—as S’bu Zikode of South Africa’s shackdwellers’ movement testifies below.

But the production and marketisation of technologies such as water cannon, demanded by police militarisation, remain less examined—as do the salesmen and “experts” required to label them fit for public use. Discourses of “less lethal” weapons are used to justify police militarisation, obfuscating the increasing recourse to technologically-enhanced use of force against citizens. As Andrew Smith identifies below, the "thin blue line" between policing and the arms trade is blurred indeed.



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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

"There is Marikana everyday in South Africa" - an interview with Abahlali baseMjondolo

Film: Struggling for the right to decent housing and against the criminalisation of poverty, South African shack dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo face severe police repression. Here S'bu Zikode outlines the lethal consequences of police militarisation and the ANC's political capture of the police.

The heavy hand on Venezuela's streets

Faced with soaring levels of crime and violence, Venezuela's government continues to militarize the police. The public disproves of the crime, but not the response. Why? 

The military grip on US policing

US domestic law enforcement finds one reason after another to adopt military tactics and tougher approaches to enforce civilian 'security'. What are they - and what's next?

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