Policy and Research Papers

What Has Changed in Policing since the Arab Uprisings of 2011? Surveying Policing Concepts and Modes of Contestation

Since 2011, the police have been at the centre of the contestation rocking the Arab world. This paper maps out some of the main modes of contestation and provides a preliminary assessment of their impact on police practices. It argues that mass mobilised contestation succeeded in changing such practices only when it was followed by institutional reform.

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What Has Changed in Policing since the Arab Uprisings of 2011? Challenges to Reform and Next Steps

Since 2011, the police have been at the centre of the contestation rocking the Arab world. This paper examines what is still holding up police reform attempts, presents possible future scenarios for policing practices in the region, and assesses the role of donor states, notably Europe, in supporting security sector reforms in MENA. 

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This Chaillot Paper  looks at the police in the Arab world – an institution at the centre of political life but one that is very much under-researched. After years of attempts at reform, it seems that not much progress has been made in reducing corruption and violence, or increasing police efficiency. Why is it so hard to reform an institution so deeply embedded in the daily lives of citizens?

The paper contributes a new way of looking at police reform in a region where the rule of law is not fully implemented. It argues that it is not the institution itself that lies at the heart of the problem, but its relationship with society at large. Any reform attempts focusing solely on the police will therefore always miss half of the problem’s equation. This approach therefore opens new avenues for reflection, and invites a revision of existing reform programmes. It also considers that this type of police-community engagement is a way to reduce the democratic deficit long-term. Lastly, it finds that different Arab states show different degrees of reform potential.

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People-centred Approach to Security Sector Governance and Reform - Linking Policy with Programming

The security sector governance and reform (SSG/R) agenda has been influenced by the concept of human security since it was conceived in the 1990s. Putting people’s needs at the heart of reform processes has been the underlying premise of international assistance programming. However, over two decades since its conceptual conception, SSG/R programming has shown a disconnect between the ‘statebuilding’ approach and grassroots-focused peacebuilding efforts. Both types of approach aimed to tackle the underlying causes of violence, harm, crime, and conflict and build more efficient, effective, legitimate, transparent and accountable mechanisms for providing security and justice services.

Today, donor-assisted statebuilding efforts are flailing in many contexts: populism and criticism of the state and its role is rising globally. An honest examination of donors’ engagement in and legacy of assisting SSG/R is clearly needed. Dwindling financial resources for SSG/R, the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the considerable threats of political unrest and increasing fragility should give the international community the opportunity to strengthen coherence in assisting SSG/R processes. The members of the Governing Board of DCAF's International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT) face a shared challenge in ensuring that its international funding does not lead to a plethora of programming with uncoordinated initiatives and results.

This mandate allows the Knowledge and Outreach Team within DCAF's ISSAT to analyse its governing board members’ policies and programming to give an accurate reflection of what has been done in this area. ISSAT’s role is then to tap into donors’ collective learning on SSG/R and to generate guidance and evidence for reconstructing the model of SSG/R to ensure that donor programming stems from communities’ concerns but includes the political, governance and institutional aspects necessary for any reform process. This report is the final product of a stocktaking mandate taking place November 2021 - April 2022. 


United Nations: Strengthening security sector reform - Report of the Secretary-General

Building on the priorities of the "Action for Peacekeeping initiative" and "Our Common Agenda", this present report highlights lessons learned and recommendations in select areas of United Nations and international support for security sector reform.

To access the Secretary-General's report on Strengthening Security Sector Reform, kindly follow the link