The pattern of transnational policing

Authored by: Neil Walker

Handbook of Policing

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9781843925002
eBook ISBN: 9780203118238
Adobe ISBN: 9781136308529


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The purpose of this chapter is to map some of the most salient developments in transnational policing, to locate and explain their causes and to identify current trends and future prospects. Before we proceed to these various stages of discussion, three preliminary issues of orientation should be addressed. The first concerns the title of the chapter. The term transnational is preferred to international for an important reason. If we are concerned with policing other than policing that is authorised and practised within the territorial and institutional confines of the state, then only some such policing can be properly labelled ‘international’. That is to say, policing beyond the state often does take the form of ‘international’ or (more correctly) ‘interstate’ policing – police co-operation and common action between officials and bureaucracies who owe their authority and allegiance first and foremost to the discrete states in question – yet it may also take a different form. For some forms of policing beyond the state are not reducible to co-operation between actors whose main reference point is their state of origin, but may instead involve networks which are relatively autonomous of these states of origin or which owe authority and allegiance to other non-state ‘polities’ or political communities – of which the EU is, in the policing field as in so many others, the primary example.

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