Small Wars Journal

Law Enforcement Capacity-building in African Postconflict Communities

Law Enforcement Capacity-building in African Postconflict Communities by Bruce Baker, NDU's Prism. Here's the abstract:

In the post conflict environment, disbanded armed groups and militias maintain a "clan" affiliation with their ex-fighting colleagues. Generally marginalized from the rest of society and accustomed to violent conflict resolution, their crime rates frequently escalate after the official end of war. Where the police are not sufficiently effective and resources are limited, these ex-combatant nonstate actors may have a part to play as local law enforcement groups in unarmed crime prevention and investigation. This article analyzes arguments for and against donor support and development of such nonstate actors as providers of public goods and services. The challenge is to distinguish between "reformable" individuals and those "beyond reform." Donors can utilize several criteria. First, are the nonstate entities popularly supported? Second, are they inclusive in providing services to all social groups? Third, do they conduct themselves with professionalism, operating without exploitation, extortion, or corruption? The article concludes with practical steps as to how such nonstate police actors might be strengthened including leadership development, intergroup nonviolent dispute resolution skills, enhancing existing links between state and nonstate actors, creating area policing networks, and establishing policing oversight frameworks.

Read the full article: Law Enforcement Capacity-building in African Postconflict Communities.