Changing the Guard: Developing Democratic Police Abroad

Barren D. Gil (University of Phoenix and University of Southern Mississippi)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 7 March 2008



Gil, B.D. (2008), "Changing the Guard: Developing Democratic Police Abroad", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 177-178.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union, globalization and democracy have become the focus of many politicians, commentators and researchers, particularly as globalization continues to have significant impact on all facets of society, including government and political policies. In this most recent of his books, David Bayley provides a timely and broad discussion of the very important topic of developing democratic police forces abroad and the issues surrounding democratic policing in developing nations. In today's world of terrorism and other violence against the state, security sometimes conflicts with democratic values; however, Bayley provides a realistic long‐term perspective, and notes that public safety and national security do not have to result in limiting democratic development. The book expands on the research he conducted in 2001 on institutional changes in police agencies by including research between 2002‐2004 that he conducted while traveling to developing countries.

Bayley presents the results of his research, as well as his findings and conclusions in a fairly short book (eight chapters and 147 pages) packed with an abundance of important information. He concludes with a discussion in an appendix that summarizes his recommendations. The United Nations, the USA and other nations have promoted democratic police reform and development. He points to the fall of communism and democratic political ideals advocating worldwide democracy as motivating factors in police reform.

Bayley identifies basic ideals that he argues are necessary to ensure democratic policing and contrasts these ideals with what his research has shown to be the current model for developing democratic police reform, which conflict with his findings and conclusions. He presents some surprising and informative ideas that indicate how traditional thoughts of reform (reorganization, equipment, and training) are misplaced. In support of his thesis that change is needed, Bayley mentions that most monetary support is directed towards law enforcement and crime control capabilities and not democratic police reform, as he would like.

An entire chapter is dedicated to the efforts made by the U.S. in promoting democratic policing abroad. As a participant in one of these programs (Department of State, International Law Enforcement Academies), I can account for Bayley's thoroughness in this area. Readers may be surprised at the amount and type of support provided by the USA. He further evaluates the impact that foreign investment (primarily US) has had on police reform.

Bayley concludes his work with recommendations for success. He determines that much of the support provided is directed in an ad‐hoc manner. Therefore, he recommends that a new Department of Justice Division be developed, charged with International Development, in coordination with the Department of State. Together, they should formulate a game plan for democratic police reform including resource management. Thus, the concluding sentence of his book, reform abroad begins with reform at home.

This book provides a realistic and understandable examination of the current status of democratic police reform in emerging democratic nations. The worldwide expansion of democratic governments and an increasing emphasis on expanding democracy by the current US Administration and others should make this book required reading for those interested in international development. Although any solutions are always open for debate, the book provides informed suggestions for more effectively promoting democratic policing around the globe. It would be beneficial for those engaged in international development, particularly in the area of criminal justice/law enforcement and security studies. In the classroom, this book would assist in educating graduate students about the complexities of globalization, security and criminal justice.

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