Supporting Transitions Towards Sustainable Peace and Security Through Community Policing

Supporting Transitions Towards Sustainable Peace and Security Through Community Policing: Design and Implementation in Transitional Environments

The transition from military-provided stabilization measures to civilian-led safety initiatives like community policing and community security presents one of the most complex challenges faced by both operational units and policy designers of overseas stabilization and reconstruction operations. In the last of three panel discussions Saferworld, the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI), the Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance and Massey University will hold a joint event in Washington on the 28th of October 2014 to explore more effective ways of defining and managing the implementation of community policing systems within the context of transitional security environments.


  • Gary White, MBE: former Assistant Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • Karen Finkenbinder: Rule of Law, Justice, and Reconciliation Advisor at the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute
  • Keith Smith: Senior Analyst, International Law Enforcement and Rule of Law, Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance

With the deterioration of humanitarian conditions and increasing levels of violent conflict in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine along with continuous instability and violence in countries like Somalia, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, there is a pressing global need for peacebuilding measures that work. Key to successful peacebuilding approaches is the transition from military security to community security in conflict-affected contexts. Supporting the transition from combat troops to civilian police officers accountable to their communities is a complex and political engagement. The planners of reconstruction, stabilization and transitional security operations have their hands full. However, there is evidence and experience from other contexts that may improve the success and sustainability of operations.

This third and final installment in our series of panel discussions on community policing as a pillar of transitional security will present research findings and hands-on professional experience of designing and implementing community policing services in heavily militarized conflict-affected contexts. We invite discussion with the community of experts concerned with supporting sustainable transitions to peace and in particular the role that transitional security plays in peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery.

The panel will look at different transitions from military-led security to civilian-led policing through specific case studies on Northern Ireland and elsewhere. We will identify common obstacles and challenges to security transition in practice and discuss ways to overcome them.  Finally, we will discuss the importance of managing expectations and being realistic about what it takes to establish and maintain good community-police relations in conflicted environments.

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