Policing Africa: Internal Security and the Limits of Liberalization

By Alice Hills | Go to book overview

7
Models of African Policing:
Adaptation

The World Bank refers to a crisis of statehood in Africa, which has led to a spiral of insecurity and crime. 1 Indeed, the World Bank considers that most African states, with the exception of a few countries such as Botswana and Uganda, now have a lower “state capability” than at independence. A comparable evaluation has led French researcher Perouse de Montclos explicitly to relate the problems to those of the police in Africa. He suggests that African police are mere shadows of their former selves, that the prevalence of repression is symptomatic of their loss of control; and that systematic corruption and brutality are now fundamental to African policing. 2

Following Montclos, we might point to a more general failure to define the distinct interests of the state, as opposed to the private interests of the individuals or groups that staff its agencies. Herein lies a distinction among bandits, private militias, politician's action groups, and the real public police, which (in a Hobbesean notion of the state) provide nonexclusionary security or (in a Lockean notion) offer a public good in a more explicitly contractarian fashion. The police may be brutal or abusive in all cases, but a definition of their interest, public or private, is crucial. 3

Perouse de Montclos argues that brutal behavior by the police can no longer be regarded as an aberration. The police are consistently the biggest suppliers of arms to criminals, and poverty is no longer the sole explanation for their susceptibility to bribery. The notorious venality of the Nigerian police, for example, is probably an indirect consequence of the prosperity attending the oil boom, though the situation has since worsened with the collapse of oil prices. But the relationship between corruption and poverty is not straightforward, and it is more likely that poverty is a cause of corruption than the sole cause. Like many commentators, Perouse de Montclos judges that state authorities could not stop police banditry nor

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Policing Africa: Internal Security and the Limits of Liberalization
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xi
  • 1 - Toward a Critique of Policing and National Development in Sub-Saharan Africa Since 1990 1
  • Notes 21
  • 2 - Policing the Postcolonial State 27
  • Notes *
  • 3 - The Police and Politics 55
  • Notes 84
  • 4 - Models of African Policing: Evolution and Conversion 89
  • Notes 111
  • 5 - Models of African Policing:Construction and Integration 115
  • Notes *
  • 6 - Models of African Policing:Transition 139
  • Notes *
  • 7 - Models of African Policing:Adaptation 161
  • Notes *
  • 8 - Conclusion:Modalities of Policing Africa 185
  • Notes *
  • Acronyms 193
  • Bibliography 195
  • Index 207
  • About the Book 213
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