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Policing Africa: Internal Security and the Limits of Liberalization

Alice Hills
Policing Africa: Internal Security and the Limits of Liberalization
ISBN: 978-1-55587-715-6
2000/214 pages
"Policing Africa is an exceptionally well-researched book and one to be read for those scholars, politicians, and strategists who are interested in African security issues."—Paul Melshen, Low Intensity Conflict & Law Enforcement

"An informed, sophisticated, and nuanced theoretical analysis of both the development process and of the politics and practices of policing. This is an essential book for anyone who wants to understand the real, on the ground dynamics of (democratizing) development or its failure.... The book will stand for a long time"—Otwin Marenin, Journal of Criminal Justice


The use and abuse of political power in Africa has been closely related to the role and function of the police. Alice Hills explores the impact of the cautious moves toward liberalization across the continent both on policing systems and on the relationship between those systems and national development.

Hills engages contemporary debates on security sector reform, governance, law and justice, and civil society to examine the environment within which Africa’s police forces operate. She also addresses the special problems confronting reconstructed states: the prevalence of low-intensity conflicts, reintegration programs, UN and NGO involvement, the nature of policing, and differing concepts of professionalism and liberalization.

A series of case studies—from Congo (Zaire), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Namibia, Somalia, and Uganda—inform this original book, which offers an important prism through which to view state-society relations in Africa.


Alice Hills is senior lecturer in conflict, development and security at Durham University.


  • Toward a Critique of Policing and National Development in Sub-Saharan Africa Since 1990.
  • Policing the Postcolonial State.
  • The Police and Politics. Models of African Policing: Evolution and Conversion.
  • Models of African Policing: Construction and Integration.
  • Models of African Policing: Transition.
  • Models of African Policing: Adaptation.
  • Conclusion: Modalities of Policing Africa.