TVM Sector Perspective
How Sector Activities Impact People, Place, Planet and Profit
Chapter 4 - Governance ... Government
Police are NOT soldiers dressed in blue. The work of the police is fundamentally different and the techniques for success totally dissimilar. The British police have a good reputation, and it is not by accident that they do their work unarmed. It is but rarely that police work requires armed confrontation.
The police in Haiti should be recruited and trained and their salaries funded so that they are able to do the sort of work that a good police force should do. They should be organized so that they know what is going on in the community ... this might mean community organization rather than national organization. The police should also trained so that they understand the issues of their own society and can work in ways that has respect for the way communities have lived for hundreds of years.
The New York Experience
Some years ago the New York Police were not highly regarded by the populace ... but today things are very different. The police force now is highly trained, and professional, and there is a level of management that gives the community a lot of confidence in the police.
Behind the scenes there is a lot of hard work and technology deployed so that criminals are apprehended and the community at large is not bothered too much by the criminal element.
Is the system perfect? No ... but it is very good, and trying to be better all the time.
20 years ago, nobody would have thought it possible that NYPD would be one of the most highly regarded police forces in the world.
Community police have the advantage that they know the community and some of the good aspects of community policing can be achieved. But a community police force also has the potential to be diverted to working for the local elite rather than the people as a whole.
National police can be better or they can be worse than community police forces. They can have better resources and be better trained. They can also be subverted to a national agenda that is not in the best interest of local communities.
Local and national police in combination
Some countries have adopted a combination of police systems, with both community police forces and national police forces. This results in a balance of power between community interests and national interests that can serve for the good of society.
Handling sectarian violence
A police force is not going to be successful merely by force of arms. Force is likely to add another front to the fighting and add complexity and another level of violence rather than bringing peace. The police should bring police knowledge to the community ... and police knowledge should support moves that result in judicial proceedings against those engaged in unlawful activities.
There was a time when the only guns in society were controlled by the army and the army kept its guns under tight security in an armory. The global world market in guns is a feature of modern society that is nothing but obscene for a civil society, and something that makes it very easy for guns to be obtained for anti-social purposes, and makes it very difficult for police and law enforcement to be effective without themselves having to resort to lethal arms.
Preventing police abuse
The prevention of police abuse needs to be at the top of the police agenda, as well as the oversight authorities. If there is no oversight authority or the oversight is weak or ineffective, it must be expected that there will be police abuse.