Technology and the Internationalization of Policing: A Comparative-Historical Perspective




Justice Quarterly



Criminologists and police scholars have discussed the role of technology in the function and practice of police in a variety contexts. Studies have typically focused on technologically driven functional re-orientations of policing to scrutinize these developments in relation to the problems posed relative to normative concerns related to citizens’ and human rights. Less discussed has been the role of technology in the organization of police institutions, including, in particular, the development of international cooperation among police. This paper analyses theoretical and empirical aspects of the role of technology in relation to the internationalization of the police function. Based on historical data of international policing in the period from the middle of the 19th century until World War II, this analysis reveals that technological advances in the areas of communication, transportation, and criminal identification significantly facilitated the internationalization of police operations. At the same time, it is shown, police institutions also held technological developments accountable for an increase in opportunities for cross-border criminality, which in turn justified the planning and implementation of international police strategies. I conclude with theoretical reflections on the relative autonomy of technology as a facilitating factor in the internationalization of policing.

Read more.