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Civilian Oversight of Policing: Governance, Democracy and Human Rights

NCJ Number
Andrew Goldsmith, Colleen Lewis
Date Published
347 pages
This volume presents 12 articles that examine recent experiences with civilian oversight of police and considers the prospects for this method of police accountability in countries that have used the civilian oversight process for some years, as well as countries that have recently attempted to establish civilian oversight.
Countries discussed include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Haiti, Israel, Northern Ireland, Palestine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Individual papers consider how different countries have interpreted and implemented civilian oversight. They also consider the political conditions that promote or hinder the introduction and maintenance of effective civilian oversight. Several papers consider the recent experiences of countries that have used the civilian oversight process for some years. They also discuss the reasons for greater or lesser degrees of success in implementing the idea. They also examine influences on some of the changing forms of civilian oversight over time. Other papers focus on recent attempts to establish civilian oversight in other countries. They discuss how oversight of police conduct in several countries is a basic issue of governance and relates to concerns about becoming a democratic country and rebuilding society. They consider the extent to which civilian oversight of policing has or may have any impact on police governance arrangements in countries where government police agencies have been linked to human rights violations. Other chapters address the issue of how to evaluate mechanisms for handling public complaints. They include a legal perspective regarding criteria for determining the adequacy of the legislative framework, a normative perspective that includes suggestions for accessibility and transparency as crucial process values, a study of civilian oversight in Israel, and a discussion of the need for more solid empirical research. Tables, footnotes, chapter reference lists, and index