Public Security

The rise of transnational crime and terrorism has challenged existing security and enforcement arrangements in federal countries. Federal countries have a plethora of agencies and institutions at different levels of government tasked with enforcement and security functions. While these organizations were established with specific mandates in mind, assignment of responsibilities are not quite as clear cut as envisaged. Overlapping mandates, mission creep and different institutional cultures often lead to inter-service competition rather than cooperation. This in turn creates operational problems and hinders effective public security management.

The rise of drug crime and terrorism underscores the need for closer coordination between agencies and across orders of government. As a result the ever-expanding domestic security agenda has shown that no level of government or no one agency is equipped to confront these challenges on its own. Furthermore, except federal police and investigative agencies specially established for the prosecution of federal crime (USA, Australia), or as institution for intergovernmental coordination (Germany), federal security and intelligence agencies are traditionally oriented towards confronting external threats (incl. customs).

This program, on the basis of an analysis of the basic public security challenges of several federations and the federal/intergovernmental context of the public security domain seeks to draw comparative conclusions on innovative modes of intergovernmental and interdepartmental cooperation. It is implemented jointly by the Forum and the Gimenez Abad Foundation (Saragossa, Spain) and will run until 2013. Christian Leuprecht from the Royal Military College, Kingston, is the program’s lead expert.

The first phase of the public security program, initiated in 2009, has focused on the three federations of North America. The choice of these three countries is shaped by geography, their federal governing arrangements, and consequently their shared security concerns. To date, the Forum has organized two closed-door workshops in North America: the first took place in Washington D.C. (November 2009) followed by a second meeting in Tijuana, Mexico (March 2010).  These events brought together experts, policy-makers and uniformed officers from Canada, Mexico and the United States to discuss candidly how improved coordination and policing reform have contributed to a more efficient and effective response to threats to public safety.

Subsequent phases of this program examined security challenges and responses in India. There was a workshop on “India faces emerging internal security challenges” that the Forum organized in collaboration with India’s Centre for Public Affairs (CPA) in New Delhi on March 19, 2010 for 22 participants working in the field. A second workshop co-organized with CPA was held in New Delhi on April 29, 2010. With the support of the Inter-State Council of the Government of India, the CPA and Forum organized an international conference “Security Management in Federal Countries” in December 2010 in New Delhi. The conference explored the following themes: 1) The Ideas, Premises and Practices of Public Security; 2) Mechanics of Public Security: Practical Experiences and Innovations; and 3) Emerging Jurisdictional Issues in Public Security: Challenges, and Responses.

For further inquiries please contact Felix Knuepling at knuepling@forumfed.org