Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

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Policy and Research Papers

Becoming and Remaining a ‘Force for Good’ – Reforming the Police in Post-conflict Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Police Force has its origins in the British colonial administration of the country. After Independence and with the consolidation of one-party rule the force slid into disrepute. The outbreak of civil conflict in 1991 largely decimated the force but the gradual restoration of peace provided an opportunity for police reform.

This research report covers the aspects of the political and institutional environment that helped engender change, as well as constraints faced by the reform agenda. It considers how the officers actually carried out the task at hand, and shares lessons as to what reform tactics worked and which were less successful.

While several challenges remain, the reform programme, centred around local needs policing has been largely successful, hinging on – among other factors – the appointment of a British Inspector General of Police, perceived to be neutral and above political machinations, supported by a core of reformminded officers; long-term external technical and financial assistance; and a conducive political environment for change.

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Key Challenges of Security Provision in Rapidly Urbanising Contexts: Evidence from Kathmandu Valley and Terai Regions of Nepal

We know that urban violence not only affects people’s health and wellbeing, it has a devastating impact on the social fabric and economic prospects of entire cities. It can also set recursive cycles of vulnerability in motion – violence-affected individuals find it increasingly harder to be gainfully employed, while poverty is sustained through inter generational transfers.

However, the mechanisms through which violent crime and urbanisation are interconnected are not straightforward. While higher rates of violent crime are generally seen in the larger urban centres, not all urban centres experience similar degrees of violence. That is, the security and insecurity outcomes in a city are the result of a complex range of socioeconomic, political and demographic factors, which can vary temporally, spatially, as well as be significantly different for different individuals or groups. Importantly, rapid urbanisation also brings with it a unique set of challenges, which has the potential to overwhelm key government services, including policing and security provision.

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Whose Security? Building Inclusive and Secure Societies in an Unequal and Insecure World

This paper considers one particular piece of map-making: the interface between security and development. It tries to render visible some of the bumps, joins and turnings which lie beneath the maps. It starts by arguing for a historical perspective. The paper then explores the ensuing contradictions which lie at the heart of the security–development nexus.

The paper Whose Security? Building Inclusive and Secure Societies in an Unequal and Insecure World is also available on the IDS website. 


Security Management in Northern Mali: Criminal Networks and Conflict Resolution Mechanisms

This document highlights the questions concerning the three principle and intertwining security threats in the North of Mali which are trafficking, rebellious uprisings and terrorist activity. In fact, any attempts at maintaining law and order are undermined by the fragility of state structures, and the lack of equipment and infrastructure for the armed forces.The Malian government endeavours to address these challenges by adopting and implementing security and anti-terrorism policies. External partners support the Malian government in itsefforts through a variety of joint anti-terrorism and development policies. Furthermore, local communities work alongside state actors.

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