The Ballot and the Badge: Democratic Policing

Issue Date April 2010
Volume 21
Issue 2
Page Numbers 79-92
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The most visible arm of government for ordinary citizens is the police. In authoritarian regimes, the police mission is to intimidate and suppress opposition and to protect the regime. In democratic societies, the police mission is to protect and serve the citizenry, building safe communities by responding to both crime and official corruption and abuse. Efforts to build stable democratic regimes in postconflict and fragile states thus require a radical reformation of police forces and their actions. However, international policing and police training missions in postconflict and fragile states have been fragmented, ad hoc, and rarely focused on the principles of democratic policing. Major reforms to international policing and police training are needed if efforts to promote stable democratic government are to succeed.