Book review: Police in Africa

This link is a “capsule review” of a new book, Police in Africa: The Street Level View. It notes the ongoing effects of colonialism, surprisingly strong norms of professionalism, and daunting challenges facing operational police. Bribery and corruption remain common, and “the behavior of individual police officers is increasingly shaped by worries that people will complain about them on local radio stations.”

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Intelligence-led policing in China

This article describes the adoption of intelligence-led policing since 2004 by China’s Ministry of Public Security “to address longstanding problems with information sharing and a backward analytical culture at every level of public security.” The author observes that “New intelligence structures are helping China‚Äôs security state cope with an increasingly complex, fluid, and networked society.”

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Big data & policing

As police departments get better at data, software, and computers, the risks associated with using algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) to guide decision making also increase. This column highlights the consequences of targeting based on historical data. This article reports an example of detention based on faulty data. This post reviews an important 2017 book on the topic, The Rise of Big Data Policing, an excerpt from which is available here.

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Use of force in New Zealand

New Zealand Police released a very thorough report and analysis of “tactical options” used during 2016, available here. There was no use of force in 99.9% of 3.5 million public interactions and in over 99% of “offender proceedings.” Tasers were the 4th most commonly used tactical option, after empty hand, handcuffs/restraints, and OC spray. Only 15% of Taser incidents involved discharges — the remainder were solely presentation or “laser painting.” Subject injuries occurred in 18% of use of force incidents, officer injuries in 11%. No subjects were shot by police.

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Protecting green gold in Mexico

This article describes a public/private policing arrangement that protects avocado farmers and their valuable crops in Tancitaro, Mexico. Like many others, the municipality created a self-defense group a decade ago in response to murders, kidnappings, and extortion by organized crime. Unlike others, they evolved into a trained local police funded in part by the avocado producers.

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Clever recruiting video

Police agencies around the world are getting more and more innovative with their recruiting practices. Here’s a clever video from the New Zealand Police — click the “watch now” button. The same video is here on Facebook.

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Lack of police protection in Dominica after hurricane

This article reports the business community in Dominica have called for a review of police leadership after authorities failed to provide protection in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. It is alleged “there was widespread looting … and some people have said there was an actual breakdown in law and order.” The hurricane killed at least 27 people on the small island, one of the hardest hit by the storm.

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