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The origins of policing institutions: Legacies of colonial insurgency
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4998-7964
2018 (English)In: Journal of Peace Research, ISSN 0022-3433, E-ISSN 1460-3578, Vol. 55, no 2, p. 147-160Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines the impact of colonial-era armed conflict on contemporary institutions. It argues that when British colonial administrators were faced with armed insurrection they responded with institutional reform of the police, and that the legacy of these reforms lives on today. Violent opposition prompted the British colonial administration to expand entrance opportunities for local inhabitants in order to collect intelligence needed to prosecute a counterinsurgency campaign. This investment in human capital and institutional reform remained when the colonial power departed; as a result, countries which experienced colonial-era conflict have more efficient policing structures today. I demonstrate how this worked in practice during the Malayan Emergency, 1948–60. Archival data from Malaysia show that local inhabitants were recruited into the police force in greater numbers and were provided with training which they would not have received had there been no insurgency. This process was consolidated and reproduced upon independence in path-dependent ways. To expand the empirical domain, I statistically explore new archival data collected from the UK National Archives on police financing across colonial territories. The results show that armed insurgency during the colonial era is associated with higher percentages of police expenditure during the colonial era and higher perceived levels of contemporary policing capacity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018. Vol. 55, no 2, p. 147-160
Keywords [en]
armed conflict, colonialism, policing
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-346110DOI: 10.1177/0022343317747955ISI: 000429881300002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-346110DiVA, id: diva2:1190359
Available from: 2018-03-14 Created: 2018-03-14 Last updated: 2018-06-11Bibliographically approved

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Eck, Kristine

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