Map the actors

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Stage 2 of the CBA consists in mapping all criminal justice actors in order to determine, in stages 3 and 4, the reasons that account for why the actors do not meet the communities’ criminal justice needs. Stages 1 and 2 can be carried out in parallel and draw on some of the same sources of information.

Which Actors?

The mapping of actors covers not just the police, the courts and the prisons but aims to establish a complete criminal justice inventory that includes the following:

I. Activities rather than names

The mapping should cover all actors that are actually  involved in criminal justice activities, irrespective of what they are called. For instance, the mapping covers not just institutions that are called “police” but all actors that actually carry out policing functions. This could involve an actor called “intelligence service”, “presidential guard”, or “neighbourhood watch”.

II. Not just State but also Non-State

Non-state actors often play important roles in the provision of criminal justice services. The mapping should include non-state actors providing criminal justice functions such as armed militias, customary justice mechanisms, and private security companies.

III. Not just providers but also management and oversight functions

Management and oversight functions are core criminal justice actors. Ministries provide management support functions. Formal oversight actors include parliamentary committees, human rights commissions and independent review boards. Civil society actors (such as human rights organisations and media outlets) often engage in oversight of criminal justice providers such as the police and the courts. These management and oversight functions should be included in the mapping. The table aboves provides a graphic overview of generic categories of actors. The outputs and resources tabs provide an example of how actors may be categorized generally. The precise categories depend on the country in question.

IV. Related Actors

Criminal justice actors are the focus of the mapping. However, other actors such as the military, intelligence, customs, border control and non-official armed groups cannot be ignored in the mapping process, in particular when they are involved in criminal justice functions, or when their relationship to criminal justice actors has to be clarified. For instance, defence forces often assume law enforcement functions in post-conflict contexts and their division of labour with the police is frequently a highly debated issue.


Renaud Galand
22 août 2013 à 11:28:06

The format of the annex could be improved. A question, is it possible to add a print button to easily print any annex?Also, the other annex on Classification of Actors (referred under 2.3.2.) does not appear



1. Define data collection methodology

A combination of data gathering methods should be used to map the criminal justice actors and the findings should be triangulated.

Data Gathering on Actors

Information on criminal justice actors is also collected during the mapping of criminal justice needs. In addition, further documents should be reviewed, other key informants should be interviewed, and different sites may be visited to map the criminal justice actors:

a)     Additional Documents

Of particular use for the mapping of criminal justice actors will be a review of a peace agreement and related accords, the national constitution, relevant domestic laws and statutes, and relevant government policies and strategies. Reports by national and international think tanks and academic institutions may also include useful information. See the Resources box for a list of possible sources of information on criminal justice actors.

b)     Additional Key Informants

Additional key informants for the mapping of actors include representatives of criminal justice institutions; members of government, members of parliament, political party representatives, and representatives of former warring factions; and representatives of international organisations, members national and international non-governmental organisations, academics, researchers and journalists.

c)     Additional Observations

Visits of offices and other locations where criminal justice actors are based will provide additional information on these actors. 

2. Triangulate findings

The information obtained should be triangulated to ensure its trustworthiness. At a minimum, two knowledgeable sources should be consulted on each criminal justice actor, one representative of the actor and an external source.

3. Profile actors

The data compiled in the course of the actors mapping process has to be processed. A profile should be established for each criminal justice actor identified and all criminal justice actors should be classified to establish mandate gaps and overlaps:

Profiling of Actors

For each actor identified, a brief profile should be established that summarizes essential information on the actor including contact details, history, functions, leadership, personnel, organization, infrastructure, and budget. The profile pays particular attention to the actor’s mandate, the actual activities of the actor and the services the actor should deliver, as well as service delivery deficits. A proposed format for a basic actor profile can be found in the Output tab. For state institutions, it is important to distinguish between what is legally mandated and what is actually the case: the actual set-up of a state institution can differ considerably from its legal framework, and the actual activities of the institution can vary significantly from its mandated responsibilities.

The information in the profile should always be clearly sourced. Important data gaps should be clearly marked in the actor profile.

4. Classify actors

All identified criminal justice actors should be classified according to locations, functions, size, representation and other criteria in order to establish service delivery gaps and overlaps. See the Resources box for various tools that can be used in this process.