Civil-Military Working Paper 1-2013 - Police–military interaction in international peace and stability operations


Policing is an increasingly important part of peace and stability missions. The word ‘policing’ suggests that it is civilian police who carry out the task, but recent practice has seen a marked rise in the use of more militarised formed police units, as well as indications that there is some acceptance of the use of military police or other military personnel in policing or policing-type tasks.

Although some new academic work has been done on the militarisation of law enforcement, broader theoretically informed research into what has been termed ‘third-generation civil–military affairs’ remains fledgling. In addition, there is a dearth of doctrine and guidelines relating to police–military interaction in the field. In 2009 the United Nations developed pre-deployment training guidelines that describe generic roles for police and military personnel in peace operations, but the guidelines are fairly general and more detailed documentation dealing with the relationship between the police and the military in operations does not appear to exist.

The aim of this project was to help fill the gap between operationally specific reference documents and abstract academic arguments in order to provide some general guidelines for formulating how police and military personnel should interact and decide on the division of responsibilities when on operations. The research deliberately focuses only on the relationship between civilian police and military personnel, although mention is made of the specific role of military police. It does not deal with the role formed police units or constabulary-type forces might play or the role of private security companies; both of these subjects remain important areas for future research.

In this document, therefore, the focus is on the interaction between the civilian police forces and the militaries of countries with Anglo–Peelian traditions of civilian policing, with a strong consent-based tradition and a tradition of professional volunteer military forces; examples are Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. The document identifies the appropriate divisions of responsibility for the various forces, taking into account the hostility of the environment, in order to show areas where coordination, cooperation or collaboration might be beneficial and to point to ways in which such interaction might be profitably pursued.


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