Designing Police Reforms
and the latest police reforms in the United States
Designing police reforms is a challenge. More often than not, the tendency is to appoint a group of people claiming to have know-how and experience in dealing with police matters with predefined terms of reference (ToRs); the group then locks itself within the parameters drawn by the ToRs. This approach has not worked very well as the reform design shaped by the predefined ToRs takes away much of the initiative and nudges the group in a particular direction. In case of Pakistan, over two dozen police reforms committees/commissions/bodies worked within this framework and proposed changes, but the debate over the reform design has seldom been undertaken. Presently, the same situation is being faced by the United States where everyone has his own reform design for police. The range of variety of this reform menu is from defunding police to tightening the accountability gaps to reversing the case law on the subject of personal liability of a police officer. This write-up will briefly examine the range of approaches being taken in the United States to reform the police and will try to briefly analyze how important is the reform design debate in the context of Pakistan.
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