What will make the recent policing increase money well-spent?

The Development Intelligence Lab recently asked three experts - including Institute Deputy Director Lisa Denney, Gordon Peake and Gregory Ley - what will make the recent policing increase money well spent. The results were published in The Intel with Lisa's response extracted below.

What will make the recent policing increase money well-spent?

More money for security, you say? Whose security? There is no shortage of important things to invest in to strengthen people’s security in the Indo-Pacific region. Addressing sexual and gender-based violence, excessive rates of pre-trial detention, labour exploitation, transnational crime and money laundering – to name a few – would all be worthy investments. But addressing these challenges requires understanding the locus of security as the individual, not the state.

Second, the curious thing about security is that you often don’t get more security by ‘doing security’. You get it by strengthening social cohesion, addressing livelihoods stresses that can be a trigger for violence, reducing inequality, and ensuring people have recourse to dispute resolution that satisfies their needs. This is at the heart of human security – an old but popular-again concept that sought to move beyond conventional state-centric security that is insufficient in delivering secure lives for individuals.

If the budget boost is intended to fund more advisors and twinning arrangements and provision of arms to regional police services, it’s going to overlook key pieces of the security puzzle. It’s going to miss the opportunity to make individuals more secure, and thus make their countries more prosperous and peaceful. To be well-spent and deliver a development dividend, security investments can’t focus alone on building the architecture of a security sector in the hope that it will actually deliver security to people. Rather, it will need to focus on the security needs of individuals and contribute to the wider socio-economic drivers of security and insecurity. This means engaging with the diverse ways in which local people actually obtain security and protection in their day-to-day lives and the community-based, customary and religious practices and organisations involved – very often this doesn’t include the security sector at all. It also means better and closer collaboration (dare I say, even joint programs) between police and aid folks, and setting aside stereotypes about each other.

You can read all three responses in the original post on the Intel.