Archive for the ‘World Policing’ Category

Dilemmas in crisis communication

July 14, 2018

This article from Toronto illustrates challenges involved in crisis communication. Police increased staffing in the city’s downtown area Thursday morning in response to a credible threat but were vague in their messages to the public, later explaining “Our goal is always to be as transparent as possible while protecting the integrity of our investigations.” A media expert said journalists have to be cautious in such situations, but also police should be as open as possible. “Unanswered questions about security often cause more harm than the truth. They might (result in) a loss of confidence in the police’s ability to do their job, or a loss of confidence that the police are going to tell me the truth.”


Inequality in feelings of safety

July 13, 2018

This column contrasts U.S. survey responses to those from other countries in Gallup’s recent Global Law and Order Report. Concerning walking alone at night in one’s own neighborhood, affluent white Americans “are as likely to say they feel safe as the average Finnish or Icelandic person (88%).” But only 53% of poor nonwhite Americans (earning $24,000 or less) say they feel safe, the same as the average person from Chad; for nonwhites earning $48,000 or less, the figure is 56%, equal to the average person living in Bulgaria, Nicaragua, or Zimbabwe.

Research in the ranks

June 25, 2018

This article reports the recent conference of the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing, which mainly featured current police officers presenting results from their own research. The organization, just a few years old, mirrors similar ones in the UK, Canada, Australia/New Zealand plus initial efforts in India and Mexico. The emphasis is on learning and applying what works, rather than simply relying on “what we’ve always done” or copying the latest popular idea from a neighboring agency.

Position: Strategic Research Policy Advisor

May 25, 2018

The City of Surrey in western Canada, a RCMP contract city, has posted a position announcement for a Strategic Research Policy Advisor to lead its “planning and implementation process … supporting continuous improvement efforts through research and evaluation of current programs and services, and best practices in law enforcement.” The position announcement is here. Application deadline is June 10.

Facial recognition “staggeringly inaccurate”

May 15, 2018

This article reports tests of facial recognition technology by UK police. So far, London has seen 98% false IDs and Wales over 90%, leading critics to call it “staggeringly inaccurate.” The position of the country’s oversight commissioner is “these new biometrics urgently need a legislative framework, as already exists for DNA and fingerprints.” Meanwhile, China is investing heavily in facial recognition and related surveillance technologies to support a “citizen score” that incentivizes “good behavior” as reported here. Also see the embedded video here.

The everyday grind of policing

April 22, 2018

This online post reflects on the challenges and frustrations of everyday policing in the current social and political climate. The author has been studying an urban police force in the UK, conducting research that “explores the everyday grind of officers negotiating their way through society’s ills, predominately working to the mind-set of only using their legal powers as a last resort.” She notes that “so many people are experts on policing, with very few taking the time to learn about the work they’re judging” and worries that “we are legitimising the destruction of a public service.”

World’s most murderous cities

April 5, 2018

This article and map identify the world’s 50 deadliest cities in 2016. There is certainly a pattern — 43 are in Latin America and the Caribbean, 4 in the mainland U.S. (St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Detroit), and 3 in South Africa. Cities in Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela occupy the top 12 (worst) rankings.

Police-led restorative justice

April 2, 2018

This blog post summarizes a 2-year study in 3 UK jurisdictions of police involvement in restorative justice, including street-level police activity and referrals to service partners. Research found that training and having an agency “champion” were significant, and “it is important for restorative justice to be rooted in mainstream police practice.” The study concluded “it is clear … that restorative justice benefits both victims of crime … and offenders … and the police organisation more generally.” Links are provided to several reports, including a synopsis of prior research in Belgium and Northern Ireland.

Gangster’s paradise

March 23, 2018

This excerpt from a forthcoming book describes the evolution of Russian organized crime from the 1980s to the present. While the 1990s “were the glory days of the Russian gangsters … [they have] become increasingly tamed by a political elite that is far more ruthless, in its own way, than the old criminal bosses … The gangs that prosper in modern Russia tend to do so by working with rather than against the state.” Hardcore criminals complain that their distinctive culture has been “infected” by legitimate society, but the author’s view is that “the infection has passed both ways.”

Toronto police history

March 18, 2018

Three excerpts from a book chapter on Toronto police history 1834-1875 are posted here, here, and here. Early on the force was “partisan, corrupt, and inept.  There were no standards of recruitment and no training.” City politics were rancorous, with vote buying centered mainly in taverns, and riots were common, especially between Catholics and Protestants. Policing followed the London constabulary system for the first 25 years, but in 1859 switched to a more American-style police force modeled after Boston.