Chapter 17: Community policing in rural Mozambique and Sierra Leone
Since the 1990s community policing (CP) has become a key component of international security-development interventions in the Global South and a central part of post-conflict reconstruction and democratization (Baker 2008; Brogden and Nijhar 2005; Wisler and Onwudiwe 2009). Inspired by CP models that emerged in the UK and North America in the 1980s, CP is contrasted with centralized and paramilitary forms of state police (Ruteere and Pommerolle 2003), reflecting the human security turn in development thinking and the notion that policing should focus on the safety of people rather than regime preservation (Duffield 2004). Whereas CP reflects the general principle that security and development are interdependent (DANIDA 2004; OECD DAC 2007), it also constitutes the ‘soft’ and decentralized dimension of security sector reform that is associated with notions of community development and safety. CP is also believed to lead to more accountable and less violent police services, which in turn will improve overall state legitimacy (Brogdon and Nijhar 2005; Groenewald and Peake 2004). The empirical evidence of CP programmes’ success is limited (Baker 2008). The in-depth studies that do exist argue that while CP may reduce crime, it can also reproduce inequalities and create new forms of violence and exclusion (Buur et al 2006; Ruteere and Pommerolle 2003). In this chapter we explore how CP programmes were rolled out in rural areas of two post-war African countries from the early 2000s: Mozambique and Sierra Leone.
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