M8D1: Global Crime and Regional Police
How can the police and law enforcement address transnational and globalization of crime given the current organizational mission and mandates of the police and law enforcement?
Include a discussion of the potential of “regionalizing” small police and law enforcement agencies.
It has been said that “transnational criminals have been one of the biggest beneficiaries of globalization…Globalization facilitates international trade but also increases the difficulty of regulating global trade…traffickers and smugglers have exploited this” as well as terrorists (Patrick 2012). Globalization has also facilitated the creation of terrorist networks connected by ideology rather than nationality. “Illicit networks are challenging to states because states are militarily and diplomatically organized to deal with other states. Governments around the world “have found it very hard to adapt to non-state or sovereignty-free actors” and perceive them s threats (Patrick 2012).
The problem with dealing with global, transnational threats it that traditionally law enforcement agencies have thought of themselves as solely protecting nations, rather than combating threats posed by many nations. Even between intelligence agencies such as the FBI and the CIA there have often been arguments about jurisdiction and which agency has the right to intervene in specific areas. Barriers to sharing information between allies are even higher — as we were recently reminded by the revelations of spying on the leaders of countries widely regarded as the United States’ friends. Yet without sharing information across borders, threats that are not confined within a specific nation will be impossible to police. Greater cooperation is also needed to limit the ability of renegade groups to obtain funding. “The global financial system has undergone widespread deregulation since the 1970s, allowing illicit actors to launder the proceeds of crime more easily” (Patrick 2012).
This is not to discount the important role that local law enforcement agencies can play in keeping watch upon criminal activity. Local law enforcement may have a better ‘ground’s eye view’ of the situation. However, local law enforcement agencies cannot ‘do it alone.’ They cannot touch the financial regulations that make it easy for terrorists to obtain funds through illegal activity; they often lack the ability to orchestrate broad, interagency cooperation, although they can certainly benefit from it and make a meaningful contribution to making the world safer. While regional input is needed, creating more atomized structures of law enforcement is the last thing that is needed — we need broader, not narrower channels of communication between officers of all nationalities and agencies.
Patrick, S. (2012). How globalization affects transnational crime. Council on Foreign Relations.
M8D2: Issues in Law Enforcement: Three major issues
The phenomenon of ‘citizen journalism’ is a new one, spawned of new technology. Many people are keeping ‘watch’ on the police via photographs and videos that they take themselves. Others are even more radical and may try to engage in their own ‘set ups,’ such as proving how easy it is to breach security. “For individuals and groups who believe that mainstream news outlets do not accurately or fairly report the news, citizen journalism offers opportunities to present stories unmediated by professional journalists. However, citizen journalism presents real dangers both to individual organizations and people and perhaps to democracy itself. Among the skills that traditional journalistic practices require are unbiased news gathering, a separation of fact and opinion, and research skills” (Braunstein 2007). The proliferation of media channels in general makes it more difficult for law enforcement agencies to convey a coherent message to the public. Officers must maintain public trust through communicating directly with the public in an effective manner, given that trust is a cornerstone of policing.
Other, new methods of ensuring police accountability may be more crudely technical in nature. “In the past few years, more state legislatures and state supreme courts have created statutes and evidentiary rules that either mandate or strongly encourage audio or video recording of interrogations. More than half the states now have some rule on this topic. In 2010, that number is expected to grow” as will the use of in-car video systems “capable of recording an officer’s activity for an entire ten-hour shift. Constant electronic recording of police activity may become the new core of police accountability” (Wallentine 2009). On one hand, many officers will find this frustrating; on the other hand it can be a way for officers to protect themselves against baseless charges of harassment. It may make evidence-gathering more difficult but also will reduce the chances of officers crossing the line and potentially getting evidence thrown out of court.
Technology has thus changed law enforcement and the perceptions of law enforcement. A final technology-related concern pertains not to perceptions of officers and the threats they pose but the threat of new types of crimes, specifically cyber-related crimes. Technology not only gives criminals enhanced ways to communicate: it also creates new forms of crime that solely take place online such as identity theft. Moreover, given that credit-reporting agencies require victims to issue an ‘identity theft affidavit’ and report the crime to the police to obtain restitution, the police are more involved than ever before in fighting ‘virtual’ threats to public safety (Newman 2004). Cyber harassment, using online venues to sell illegal goods,
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