Policing globalization : the imperial origins of international police cooperation

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2014-04-25

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Whitaker, Robert David

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This thesis studies the early history of international police cooperation and international crime control. It argues that the British Empire played an active and often decisive role in this history by encouraging the development of international police organizations, such as Interpol. Additionally, it contends that Britain’s support for these organizations was based in large part on the country’s experience policing its Empire. The effort to reform colonial police brought British police in regular contact with police throughout the world, and led to exchanges of philosophies and technologies between the international and colonial spheres. During the aftermath of the Second World War, the reforming zeal of Britain’s imperial police was translated into several foreign police missions in occupied Europe and elsewhere. The British police involved in these missions attempted to encourage the development of civilian, unarmed policing with little reference to local circumstances. The failure of these missions, combined with the development of several colonial emergencies, caused Britain to abandon their forward foreign policy with regard to policing. In this vacuum, the United States emerged as the leading force in international law enforcement, though without Britain’s emphasis on civilian style policing and pursuit of cooperation with other countries.

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