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NCJ Number: 164569 Find in a Library
Title: Police Reform in Northern Ireland
Journal: Police Studies  Volume:19  Issue:2  Dated:(1996)  Pages:27-43
Author(s): R Weitzer
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: SES-8911898
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The issue of police reform has become especially salient in Northern Ireland since the announcement of a ceasefire in September 1994.
Abstract: The literature shows that policing in societies such as Northern Ireland and South Africa differs in important ways from policing in more integrated societies. In divided societies, policing is inextricable from larger communal relations and thus tends to be highly politicized, militarized, controlled by the dominant group, biased against the subordinate group, and lacking in effective accountability structures. Since the announcement of a ceasefire in Northern Ireland, the issue of police reform has been increasingly debated in the media, among civic bodies, and in political circles. Among the issues of interest are counterinsurgency practices, police bias against Catholics, the overwhelmingly Protestant composition of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and deficiencies in mechanisms of accountability. The ceasefire offers a unique opportunity for change in Northern Ireland. Because the ceasefire might be broken at any time, however, authorities are currently entertaining only proposals that satisfy the principle of reversibility; that is, any change must be readily reversible in the event of a resurgence in political violence. The need to maintain police morale is another consideration. Merits of switching from counterinsurgency policing to community policing are examined, as well as the political context in which police reform occurs. 31 references and 7 endnotes
Main Term(s): Police reform
Index Term(s): Community policing; Foreign police; Northern Ireland; Police policies and procedures; Political influences; Religiously motivated violence
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