Articles on Police

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Chemical weapons could be making a stealthy comeback. Andreas Gradin via Shutterstock

Could incapacitating chemical weapons start an arms race?

On October 26 2002, to end a three-day siege on a theatre in Moscow by Chechen terrorists, Russian security forces used a secret incapacitating chemical agent (ICA) weapon believed to affect the central…
Police in Ferguson, Missouri, far beyond your friendly neighborhood patrolmen. Larry W Smith/EPA

Police militarization is a legacy of cold war paranoia

In August 2014, the police who faced protesters in Ferguson, Missouri looked more like soldiers than officers of the peace. Citizens squared off with a camouflage-clad police force armed with tear gas…
Better brush up on your sleuthing skills. Casey Fleser

First come DIY detectives, then pay-as-you go policing

An alarming report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has revealed that some police forces have simply given up investigating some types of crime, instead calling on the general public to…
Mourners at the funeral of Michael Brown on August 25. St.Louise Post-Dispath/Pool/EPA

Epidemic of rights abuse fails black kids across the US

As the world grapples with the containment of diseases such as Ebola, there is another epidemic that demands attentive responses, policies, and actions. It is one of grave proportions regarding the violation…
The blurring of the line between the military and the police, especially in the US, is now on the political agenda following recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. EPA/Roberto Rodriguez

Urban combat: Ferguson and the militarisation of police

Anyone watching the footage coming out of Ferguson, Missouri in recent days would be forgiven for thinking they had tuned into a scene from a combat zone, rather than suburban America. There has been a…
Mobile phone towers can be used to locate people. Flickr/Ervins Strauhmanis

What the police can get from mobile phone tower data

Metadata is in the news again with revelations that police in Australia have been getting access to data collected from mobile base stations (cell towers). In the wiretapping world there is a distinction…
In preparing for the World Cup, Brazilian police have embarked on a process of cleaning up the country’s poorest neighbourhoods, known as favelas. EPA/Antonio Lacerda

Brazil’s World Cup preparations showcase ‘celebration capitalism’

Brazil is famous for many things: samba, football and beaches, but also its favelas, the poor neighbourhoods that encircle its cities. These areas are often on invaded lands in middle and upper-class neighbourhoods…
A bit of ‘territorial support’ from the thin blue line. Carl Court/PA Wire

Violence in Britain: getting away with murder?

Over the past ten years, 519 people have died after contact with the police, either in custody (the great majority) or during a pursuit or another road traffic incident. Some 23 people have been shot by…
With the Queensland Police Force covering his back, Queensland premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen (pictured right) was impervious in his time in power. srv007

Jacks and Jokers: Bjelke-Petersen and Queensland’s ‘police state’

In his latest book, Jacks and Jokers, Matthew Condon traces the rise and influence of Queensland Police Commissioner Terry Lewis during the Joh Bjelke-Petersen years. In this extract, Condon writes how…
Surprisingly few police have the knowledge and skills to know how to deal with people in crisis. Shutterstock

Training police to better respond to people with mental illness

Police officers encounter people with mental illnesses every day, whether they are perpetrators, victims, or witnesses of crime. In 2013 alone, NSW police responded to more than 40,000 mental health incidents…
The move to mobile technology has opened up a wealth of metadata, but that information goes deeper than you may first think. The Fuji street shooter/Flickr

Metadata and the law: what your smartphone really says about you

Metadata related to lawful interception has been in the news a bit lately. You may have seen last week the Australian Federal Police (AFP) called for more access to electronic metadata as a Senate committee…
Police lead away members of the Drax coal train protest group. Anna Gowthorpe/PA

The shocking and immoral behaviour of the British secret police

The news that a group of environmental protesters who stopped a train carrying coal to the Drax power station in 2009 have had their convictions overturned should give us pause for thought about the current…
Keys not cuffs. Banspy

Police cells are no place for mental health patients

It is no secret that mental health services are in a sorry state. Last year saw lots of stories about the increased pressures being placed on treating people in the community and on beds in mental health…

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