Police in the development space: Australia's international police capacity builders



Publication Details

V. Harris & A. Goldsmith, 'Police in the development space: Australia's international police capacity builders' (2012) 33 (6) Third World Quarterly: journal of emerging areas 1019-1036.


International police now contribute the second largest proportion of personnel to peacekeeping missions after militaries. They are thus key contributors to post-conflict transitions in developing countries. In the past decade Australian police have played a major role in a range of international missions in the Asia-Pacific region, partially funded by Australia's international development budget. Increasingly the Australian Federal Police, as Australia's lead agency in this area, has explicitly adopted the development language of capacity building to describe a significant part of their role. This paper considers the contribution of Australian police to building or developing the capacity of new and/or re-formed police forces following conflict. It also examines the degree to which international police missions are able to contribute to broader development goals and achievements within these settings. In doing so, it engages with the question of 'outsiders' (non-development professionals) performing development work in the increasingly populated space of post-conflict recovery and reconstruction.

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