Using technology to address gender-based violence

This document reports several projects using mobile technology to improve assistance to victims of gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict settings. In these kinds of situations, “Police are usually neither trusted nor are they able to respond adequately to incidents of GBV such that victims feel (and are) safe and perpetrators are prosecuted.” The projects identified several promising technologies, including apps and hotlines, but also noted that local context is important, plus “Dialog and trust-building should be in the center of all initiatives to address GBV.”

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The impact of cars on U.S. policing

This column, excerpted from a new book, describes how the advent of the automobile transformed American society and dramatically changed the nature of policing. Regulation of traffic brought police into an adversarial and enforcement relationship with a much wider segment of society than in the past. “Before cars, police mainly dealt with those on the margins of society,” but as the 20th century progressed, “Officers now required discretion to administer the massive traffic enforcement regime and deal with the sensitivities of ‘law-abiding’ citizens who kept violating traffic laws. The law’s accommodation of discretionary policing profoundly altered what it meant to live free from state intrusion in the automotive age.”

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Peer influence on misconduct

Reassigning officers due to misconduct tends to have a detrimental effect on co-workers in the new unit, according to a UK study summarized here. The researchers calculated that “For every 10 percent increase in the proportion of a police officer’s peers with a history of misconduct (for instance, adding one allegedly misbehaving member to a group of 10), that officer’s chances of engaging in misdeeds in the next three months rose by nearly 8 percent.” Effects go both ways, though — “when the number of deviant officers in a cohort went down, so did the chances of its remaining members engaging in misconduct.”

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Female peacekeeper training

Rwandan military women serving as peacekeepers in African conflict zones indicate their training did not adequately prepare them to help victims of gender-based violence, as reported here. Their pre-deployment training was not realistic enough and there was an assumption that, as women, they would automatically have the skills needed to assist female victims. Interestingly, women police serving in the same missions did not express  a training concern, noting that “community engagement was a big part of their day-to-day job in Rwanda and they had significant experience helping those affected by violence.”

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Police humor down under

The Australian Federal Police have established a popular social media presence, as reported here. The agency has 400,000 followers on Facebook and “The AFP’s video spoof of the infamous placard scene from Love Actually — designed to communicate what the federal police force do — reached over 4 million people.” The article provides numerous examples and tips for using humor with social media to develop an audience and then deliver more serious information.

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Drone crime in the UK

About 6 drone-related incidents are reported to UK police per day, according to this article. Drones are being used for “harassment, stalking, burglary, drugs supply and voyeurism” with many victims complaining that the devices are used to spy on them, and others reporting property damage from crash-landings. Prosecutions have been few so far, but additional police powers have been announced and a drone registration process has been put in place.

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Countering West Africa piracy

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa has cost $2.3 billion over the last 3 years, according to this article, which reports that “attacks in the region more than doubled in 2018, accounting for all six hijackings worldwide, 13 of the 18 ships fired upon, 130 of the 141 hostages taken globally, and 78 of 83 seafarers kidnapped for ransom.” To address this problem, 33 countries recently participated in a multi-national maritime training exercise with UN, Interpol, and other international support.

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