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Technology and the Internationalization of Policing: A Comparative Historical Perspective

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 19 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2002 Pages: 453-475
Mathieu DeFlem
Date Published
September 2002
23 pages
This article addresses the role of technology in police institutions and police function from the mid-nineteenth century to World War II.
Focusing on the time from the mid-nineteenth century to World War II, this article discusses the role of technology in police institutions, police functions, and policing practices. After arguing that considering the role of technology in policing is often viewed as irrelevant, the author presents a brief literature review discussing the few studies that have focused on the practical aspects of examining the use of technology in policing. Focusing on the powers and limits of police technology, this article details a brief history of international policing and technology and police across national borders, asserting that borders pertain primarily to geographical space. Presenting a comparative historical analysis of the role of technology is policing, the author argues that the earliest technologies that contributed to transformations in national and international policing were focused on systems of information exchange. Addressing the role of technology in the creation of international crime, this article asserts that developments in communications and transportation aided both the internationalization of crime and international policing techniques. The author concludes that technology has an important role in policing as it has the dual role of providing public police institutions with the means for independence from their political centers as well as enhancing the opportunities for a newly constructed class of criminals to transcend national boundaries. References