Police Scotland criticized for lack of leadership development

The UK’s inspectorate of constabulary has criticized Police Scotland for failing to invest in leadership development since it was formed by the amalgamation of 8 forces in 2013, as reported here. The review found “that while police leaders are very effective in command roles when responding to critical incidents, they lack emotional intelligence, self-awareness and strategic perspective.” Citing the pressure for change on police agencies today, the inspectorate noted that “An organisation of the size and scale of Police Scotland is expected to invest in its leaders.”

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Defunding police might hurt women most

In the face of calls to abolish or defund police, this article points out that 96% of murders are committed by men and asks “with no police or prisons, how do you think that the smaller, weaker half of humanity would fare? The half who commit very little violent crime but are the victims of a great deal of it?” The author acknowledges the abuses and disparities driving the current situation, but believes the reform agenda is ignoring the interests of women and that “with no police, there are just two options available to vulnerable people: vigilantism, or nothing at all.”

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Eliminating police shootings in the U.S.

Blog post here from Jerry Ratcliffe explaining why it will be impossible to eliminate police shooting people in the U.S. One reason — the roughly 200 police shootings per year “that could be considered unnecessary or unwarranted or egregious” are rare events among the 75 million or more police-citizen contacts annually and the 800,000 or so police officers in the country. Another reason is the 400 million firearms in circulation in America, creating a genuinely dangerous situation. The post lists several steps that should be taken, but warns “for now we can at best minimize, not eliminate, bad shootings. To imply otherwise is unrealistic, disingenuous, and damaging to police community relations. None of which will help high-crime neighborhoods that need government-provided security the most.”

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All-Aboriginal police station in Australia

Here’s a 5-minute BBC video about Western Australia’s first all-Aboriginal police station. Senior Constable Wendy Kelly explains the importance of genuinely engaging the community and learning its language and culture. WA has 274 remote Aboriginal communities and is Australia’s largest state at 2.5 million square kilometers (nearly a million square miles), making it 10 times larger than the UK, almost 4 times the size of Texas, and 50% bigger than Alaska.

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Police reform top priority in Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic’s new president has identified police reform as one of his top priorities, as reported here. According to recent polls, 62% of residents believe police are involved in criminal activity, and nearly half who had police contact in the last year said they had to pay a bribe. On his inauguration day the president promised to “undertake a comprehensive reform of the National Police that promotes changes in the institutional culture, the professionalization and modernization of the service, improves the working conditions of our agents and makes police services more efficient.”

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Police reform & racial justice

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has issued a report and recommendations related to police reform and racial justice, prepared by a working group of 3 police chiefs and 3 mayors, available here. The premise of the report is “True reform requires that police officers build trust and accept accountability. But it also requires that we support them.  The job of a police officer is vital, difficult, and sometimes dangerous.  The vast majority of officers perform to the best of their ability and in good faith.” Observations and recommendations relate to trust and legitimacy, redefining the police role, sanctity of life, equality, due process, community, transparency, and accountability. Over 80 additional resources including policies, programs, and reports are linked here.

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New issue of CEPOL’s research bulletin

The latest issue of the European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, published by CEPOL, is available here. The issue includes several articles and project reports covering topics such as police trust building, social media, organized crime, domestic violence, and Europol trends. The article on trust building summarizes findings from “a large-scale international comparative, longitudinal assessment of levels of, developments in, and determinants of citizens’ trust in the police across Europe” and “an in-depth analysis of how police trust-building strategies were shaped and changed over time in three European countries: England & Wales, Denmark, and the Netherlands.”


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Rethinking the role & purpose of policing

The first report from the “Strategic Review of Policing in England & Wales” is due in less than a week. This commentary from the review warns that “the police cannot successfully meet all of the demands we are currently placing upon them.” Police are advised to engage with those currently promoting the defunding movement. The post also draws distinctions between the UK and the US, particularly emphasizing that defunding of the British police has actually been underway for 10 years with budgets having been cut about 20% over that period. But, at least until very recently, the reason has been austerity, not anger over police misconduct.

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Global terrorism in 2019

Worldwide, annual terror attacks and deaths have both dropped by about 50% between 2014 and 2019, as reported here. In 2019, the 5th consecutive year of decreases, 8,500 attacks resulted in 20,300 deaths. Afghanistan accounted for 21% of global attacks and 41% of deaths last year, while Iraq experienced significant decreases after having had more attacks than any other country from 2013 to 2017. Western Europe had 191 attacks in 2019 with 18 deaths, while the U.S. had 64 attacks and 51 killed. The world’s deadliest attack in 2019 was in Sri Lanka, where more than 250 were killed on Easter Sunday.

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Local policing in Iraq

This column discusses the current status of local policing in Iraq. Security forces, federal police, and militias continue to operate in the country while provincial police have suffered from political manipulation and have “struggled to assert their authority over an array of other justice and security actors within Iraq, or to compensate for the shortcomings in the wider criminal justice system.” Efforts to establish a more public service and community policing orientation have met with mixed results, in part because it is “not only about transforming the institution of the police, it is about the more monumental project of transforming Iraqi society itself.”

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