Freida M'Cormack

Policy and Research Papers

Police Reform Evaluations

Police reform often comes under the remit of broader security sector reform (SSR). The two are increasingly promoted in post-conflict, transitional and fragile states as a means of providing a stable environment within which wider social, economic and political development can take place. Despite this, however, researchers and practitioners argue that there is very little adequate monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of security sector reform processes.

Consequently, few instances of ‘successful evaluations’ that provide examples of how to proceed with the M&E of police reform exist. Lessons can be learnt, however, from examining the challenges that faced previous evaluations. The report particularly focuses on efforts to measure social outcomes.

The research highlights key aspects for designing police reform evaluation. These include:

  • Ensure that a baseline survey is undertaken at the beginning of the programme’s implementation against which evaluators can subsequently assess findings.
  • Clarity and purpose: Ensure that higher level indicators are broken down into specific, measureable elements.
  • Local ownership and participation: The inclusion of beneficiaries and stakeholders external to the programme in the design and conduct of evaluations is critical to their success.
  • Provide adequate time and resources: Plenty of time needs to be built in for gathering evidence and reviewing the programme, particularly when the programme has a wide scope.
  • Public opinion polling is a valuable M&E tool, especially for measuring the development of a population’s sense of security. Such surveys can offer quantitative ‘proof’ as to whether observed changes in one area are attributable to programme activities, through a comparison with ‘control’ areas.
  • The gender dimensions of policing are an important, often overlooked, aspect. Evaluations should consider the programme’s impacts on gender roles, expectations and outcomes, including matters such as domestic violence and sexual abuse.

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Peacebuilding Support in West Africa

This report identifies the major government and donor programmes that aim to contribute to peacebuilding in four West African nations – Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea. It begins by providing an overview of major partnerships and programmes, particularly those that are present in two or more of the countries.

The main types of partnerships for peacebuilding in West Africa are between:

  • multilateral agencies (e.g. World Bank-UN partnerships)
  • different organisations within multilaterals (e.g. between UN agencies)
  • International Non-governmental Organisations (INGOs) (e.g. the Consortium for Rehabilitation and Development)
  • International and local NGOs/civil society organisations (CSOs)
  • National governments and multilateral/bilateral donors (e.g. Sierra Leone government and DFID)
  • UN agencies and International Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Key programmes include the UN Peacebuilding Commission, the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and the World Bank State- and Peacebuilding Fund.

As countries that neighbour one another, whose conflicts had implications for the others, regional and cross-border approaches towards peacebuilding are also highlighted.

The report focuses particularly on programmes in each country, which are undertaken jointly by a range of donors and international and local partners, in each of four areas: food security, youth employment, mining governance and election support.

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UN peace support mission transition in Sierra Leone

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) began in 1999. At its height in 2001 it consisted of some 17,500 personnel. The mission had a strong influence on how the integrated mission concept is understood and applied today, particularly with regard to integrating humanitarian politico-military efforts and the UN system in the country, operating under the single leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG).

In 2005, it was decided that UNAMSIL had run its course but that Sierra Leone (and its neighbouring countries) was still fragile and that continued UN support would be required. The United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) was therefore established, as a means of contributing comprehensively to Sierra Leone’s peacebuilding efforts and to the consolidation of democracy in a post-conflict environment (Atuobi 2009). In October 2008, the Security Council created the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), a new, smaller, integrated peacebuilding office to continue the UN’s commitment to assisting the country’s new government with peace consolidation and economic recovery (United Nations 2009). The transition was viewed as an opportunity to strengthen the capacities of the United Nations to provide more targeted and effective support to the Sierra Leone Government (UN 2008).

Thus far, analysis of the nature of the transition from one mission to another is virtually non-existent. Because it is part of a broader approach to UN integrated working, UNIPSIL’s impact (and by extension analysing the transition to UNIPSIL) is difficult to assess. This report therefore relies on UN documents that discuss the different mandates of the missions, various commentaries on the transitions, and studies of particular development aspects that the various missions were involved in (elections and promoting gender).

A review of the mandates illustrates how the changing roles of the various missions were envisioned and incorporated into mandates, from monitoring the peace agreement, to peace consolidation and longer-term peacebuilding. The commentary shows that the various transitions were largely considered successful due to:

  • careful planning
  • widespread awareness-raising among the general public
  • clear, targeted mandates
  • the effective application of an integrated post-peacekeeping approach.

Constraints have, however arisen, as a result of the limited availability of post-crisis funding and the complexities associated with attempting to integrate disparate UN agendas. There was also the danger of a lack of continuity as the missions took over from one another, in terms of certain programme areas, such as gender.

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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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Prospects for Accessing Justice for Sexual Violence in Liberia’s Hybrid System

This paper explores the prospects of complementary rather than competitive dispute resolution and justice systems in Liberia. It specifically considers women’s access to justice in relation to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), which remains prevalent in the post-conflict period, and in the context of a highly hybridised justice system. While the formal system has made great progress in reforming laws and institutions but is vastly under-resourced. Informal and traditional systems are widely considered more accessible and affordable. They are, however, also susceptible to corruption and co-option, and the state’s oversight and curtailing of specific conflict resolution and punishment practices is considered to have rendered these systems less effective. Significantly, some cultural and traditional practices are themselves considered to facilitate and promote SGBV. These factors make complementary systems an imperative while working to address the deficiencies of both systems.

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