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?
Building on her over 20 years of researching police in Africa, and working with EU and UK-donor programmes, Alice Hills will discuss the challenges facing, and opportunities open to, donors seeking to influence police reform in the Global South. Andrew Faull will discuss reform efforts in South Africa. Liam O’Shea will introduce the www.howtoreformthepolice.com project, a global platform to collate and synthesise the international evidence on police reform, incubated within LSE.
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
Alice Hills is Visiting Professor at University of Leeds. Her research focuses on police development in Somalia, Somaliland and Kenya.
Andrew Faull is Senior Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies.
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.
Meet the discussant
Zoha Waseem is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Global City Policing at University College London.
Meet the chair
Jonathan Jackson is Professor of Research Methodology and Head of the Department of Methodology at LSE. He is an Honorary Professor of Criminology at the University of Sydney Law School and an Affiliated Scholar in the Justice Collaboratory of Yale Law School.
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 on Friday 16 April 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 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.