Road traffic injuries in developing countries

This article discusses the impact of traffic crashes in developing countries, where poor infrastructure, weak regulation, and risky behavior contribute to high levels of serious injury and death. One expert notes, “Other fields, like infectious diseases, have done a great job of using fear as a tool to attract funding for initiatives, but people aren’t scared of traffic injuries—they just see them as accidents that happen.” While official data to analyze the problem are often lacking, a promising approach is crowdsourcing of “high road utilizers” such as taxi drivers.

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Canada slips in police per capita

This article reports that Canada had 1.88 police per thousand residents in 2017, fewer than other G7 countries and a 13-year low. Despite the off-setting employment of lower-cost civilians, the overall expense of policing has continued to rise, reaching $14.7 billion. Also noted is that 8% of Canadian police identify as visible minorities, well under the population figure of 22%.

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Ireland appoints new Garda commissioner from PSNI

This article reports that Ireland has appointed a new commissioner of their national police following a competitive selection process. The appointee comes from Northern Ireland, a surprise to some but well reasoned according to one commentator: “The PSNI I’ve dealt with during almost two decades has consistently been more impressive than the gardaí. Part of that was due to the lesson emphasised time and time during The Troubles – to achieve cross-community it had no choice but to radically change.”

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Obstacles to women police in Egypt

This article reviews the status of women police in Egypt. Women were eligible to attend the Egyptian Police College from 1984 to 1990 but since then they have only been admitted into specialized fields such as medicine and public relations. Women have been used recently to augment security during elections and holidays, mainly to deter harassment crimes, but are not engaged in regular police work. One former general commented “The predominance of male officers in power centers at the Ministry of Interior and the deliberate marginalization of women contribute to the rampant corruption in the ministry, so I do not expect women’s roles to expand.”

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Researchers in the ranks

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 some other agency.

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Smarter policing in South Africa

This column offers support for recent targeting by police in South Africa on organised and repeat violent crimes such as heists, hijackings, and house robberies. But it observes that the current approach overlooks 90% of the country’s violent crime, and recommends an expanded strategy with three components: “(1) focus on murder hot spots, (2) tackle domestic violence effectively and (3) implement targeted and evidence-based interventions.”

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Serbian police criticized over interrogation methods

According to the Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee, police ill-treatment of suspects and prisoners in Serbia is “an accepted practice, and not the work of a few rogue officers,” as reported here. The committee urges that police investigations shift away from reliance on confessions and that a more independent process be established to handle complaints and review practices.

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