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Policy Papers - April 15, 2005

Police Reform in Post Conflict Societies: What We Know and What We Still Need to Know

William O'Neill

 

 

The rising number of organizations carrying out police reform evidences the increasing importance attached to it. The United Nations (UN) is joined in police reform efforts by bilateral donors, a large and diverse number of international organizations, nongovernmental organizations and, increasingly, the private sector. The circumstances in which reformers intervene have expanded as well. Internationally led police reform originally took place in the aftermath of conflict; now it is also part of a broader conflict prevention strategy.

Given the fast pace and wide scope of police reform activities, it is understandably difficult to assess experiences and draw out lessons from the wide range of initiatives being conducted. Based on desk research and interviews, this study examines what we know so far about police reform, and concludes by setting out what more needs to be learned in order for current police reform strategies to become more effective and sustainable.

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