Democratic Policing? Police Reforms in Post-Accord Colombia as part of Security Sector Reform (SSR)

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS)

Author: Clara Carrera Bergman; [2022]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: Establishing law and order in a country, and focusing on human security, isgenerally seen as a prerogative for sustainable peace. Security Sector Reform(SSR) is crucial when establishing security and stability in countries amidstpost-accord peacebuilding. It includes police reforms to enhanceeffectiveness and accountability within police forces. Democratic Policing isthe goal of police forces in democratic countries, which is accomplished whenpolice are professional, ethical, and transparent, and represent the community.This research analyzes the internal Colombian police efforts to reform theforce and compares them with the international principles of police reform,as stipulated in SSR guidelines and democratic policing standards. Throughextensive field research conducted in Colombia, the study pursues a bottomup approach, focusing on police officers’ own perceptions of how reforms aredone and what obstacles remain, thereby attempting to fill an importantunexplored area in academic literature. The theoretical framework is basedon the similarities between SSR police reform frameworks and DemocraticPolicing. The findings conclude that despite the claimed reforms within thepolice, there are still problems prevailing within the force, particularly interms of rule of law, accountability, transparency, effectiveness, and humanrights. The conclusion underlines that the Colombian police cannot beconsidered to be following the guidelines of democratic policing, althoughsome reforms seem to aim towards it. The study finalizes withrecommendations

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