There appears to be a growing convergence between the police and the military of Western developed states. This has been argued to be problematic for a number of reasons, including the fact that this is out of step with current post-conflict peacebuilding efforts that aim to ensure a strict separation of these two agencies. This paper investigates the police-military relationship in contemporary peace operations from a number of different angles. It considers points of convergence and divergence both in theoretical terms and in different case studies, and investigates doctrinal developments that have been undertaken in recent efforts to demarcate these two roles more clearly. The paper argues that there are continuing significant functional and symbolic differences between these two agencies. Furthermore, there are practical and normative advantages to be gained from utilising police and military in distinctive ways in contemporary peace operations, and more needs to be done to establish what those appropriate ways for utilising those different agencies actually are in various security contexts.
Dr Greener is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Massey University and has published widely on international security-related matters; her book The New International Policing was published in 2009. Dr Fish is an Associate Professor in Philosophy at Massey University.