2020 saw mass protests against police violence in the US, Colombia, Nigeria and Indonesia, amongst other contexts. But when considering what to do about it, those interested in reform are confronted with a weak evidence-base on effective measures to reduce police violence. This leaves a prominent and unanswered question – how do you actually reform the police?
Shota Utiashvili and Heather Sutton discuss the challenges they faced at an organisational level when delivering reforms within the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs and working with police organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ben Bradford examines how procedural justice and organisational justice inside police agencies can impact reform. Rachel Neild will discuss the importance of collaborations between police officers and civil society organisations.
This series seeks to bring together researchers, policymakers, donors and activists to ask what determines successful police reform and how can we best support it? It features scholars and practitioners who have worked on police reform in the West and the Global South to examine what lessons can be drawn from Western cases but also how can lessons from the Global South can inform police reform in the West.
Meet the speakers
Ben Bradford is Professor of Global City Policing at University College London.
Rachel Neild is Division Director at Open Society Justice Initiative.
Heather Sutton is Public Safety Expert on the Citizen Security Team, Inter-American Development Bank
Shota Utiashvili is Senior Fellow at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Rondeli Foundation).
Meet the discussant
Zoha Waseem is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Global City Policing at University College London.
Meet the chair
Liam O’Shea is the David Davies of Llandinam Research Fellow (DINAM) at the Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science.
The first seminar, run by the Urban Violence Research Network, took a broad perspective to examine police reform in the Global South, looking at why police use excessive force, what works to prevent it, the importance of local context, and how policymakers and scholars can better account for it. Kieran Mitton introduced the topic and Zoha Waseem, Ignacio Cano, Erica Marat and Liam O’Shea (as a discussant) considered the challenges and promises of police reform in different contexts across the Global South, drawing on their research in South America, Latin America, and Central Asia.
The remaining seminars examine individual elements of police reform in more detail. Seminar 2 asks "How are Police Organisations Actually Reformed?", Seminar 3 on Friday 30 April asks "What Makes Police Reform and Police Reforms Movements Successful?" and Seminar 4 on Friday 4 June asks "How Can Donors Best Support Police Reform in Non-Western Contexts?".
The series is being co-organised with Dr Zoha Waseem from the Institute for Global City Policing, University College London, with support from the Urban Violence Research Network.