Policing in Africa
Editor: David Francis
Publisher: Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 232p.
Reviewer: Binneh S. Minteh | September 2014
This book outlines the paradigmatic challenges of policing in Africa amid diverse and multi-dimensional security concerns with respect to armed conflicts, insurgencies, national and international criminal violence, and political instability. It looks at the constraints of African policing through the lenses of democracy and modernity – the state, citizenship, democratic space, humanity’s infinite capacity for progress – the defeat of dogma and the instrumental rationality of policing. The book captures conditions of policing and its disappearing distinctions among legality, criminality, security and peace for the transitioning societies of Africa.
The narrative of the book brought to light the challenges of policing in broken and post-conflict societies (Liberia and Sierra-Leone), repression and policing (Uganda), and the conflict of cultural institutions with post-colonial policing institutions (The Gambia). Further, outlining international capacity building and police reform efforts in the Balkans and Latin America, the book provides a framework for understanding the pivotal role and potential impact of developmental partners and the international community on policing in Africa. It explores the potential of achieving effective policing in Africa that guarantees security, liberty, freedom and progress, embedded in democratic governance.
Francis’ analysis considers corruption, weak state institutions, rising violence, the conflict of culture and modernity, and the erosion of civil liberties. In sum, while providing examples of capacity building and reform in collaboration with international partnerships, he explores the critical discourse and matrixes of African policing from clearly defined empirical lenses. The evidence provided is succinct and lucid.
The review author is a Doctoral Candidate of Global Affairs, Rutgers University, and an Adjunct Professor of Political Science, New Jersey City University and Former Gambian Army First Lieutenant.