More Bobbies on the Global Beat?" Transnational Policing and Local Police Accountability

Benjamin Bowling, University of London

The idea of a 'global police force', waiting in the wings for more than half a century, has stepped out on to the world stage. As one British newspaper put it: "Even before September 11 there was a very strong case for a global force to tackle the underground economy of laundered money including drugs, crime and the fruits of government corruption that is estimated to top 1,000bn. The unpaid taxes on these sums should alone be incentive enough for the global police". But this answer to the "new world disorder" simply raises more questions. Who would govern the 'global police', manage its resources and supervise its investigations? How would its priorities be set and by whom? The questions of effectiveness, integrity and accountability - unresolved in relation to local policing - are if anything more acute in relation to transnational policing. This paper invites reflections on the globalisation of policing and considers the implications for research and practice.

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Updated 05/20/2006