International “Engagement”: Is the IACP Meeting the Needs of the “Global” Policing Community?

Guest Blogger: D.C. (David) Beer, IACP International Vice President; International Policing Advisor, Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Imagine a coin with distinct features on each side.

On one side, the IACP services the needs of the policing and security culture in which the organization was founded–the policing and security style of the western countries.

On the other side of the coin is the international division, reflecting issues that emerged with the transnationalization of crime and terror and servicing members in more than 100 countries.

It could be argued that the IACP is attending only to the needs of the global membership as they relate to international issues. Equally, though, it could be argued that this is a logical point of departure and, as the reach of an international association increases, the depth and breadth of that engagement is also increasing.

Just as transnational communication, transportation, and trade were seen to shrink the planet, transnational criminality and terror have made the world of policing smaller. Yes, the international issues such as counternarcotics and counterterrorism have been primary, but with each new engagement and every new partnership, the opportunities and the need increase for wider and deeper IACP engagement. Who can deny that issues such as

  • community policing,
  • training standards,
  • technologies and equipment, and
  • officer safety are globally relevant in policing?

What can be done to make the IACP more universal in its engagement, its reach, and its influence? The first responsibility lies with the International Division. Our World Regional Chairs need to actively pursue opportunities, foster new partnerships, and introduce the IACP to new environments. Wider participation in regional conferences and experts available for professional participation would be important to making a contribution across a wider range of policing issues. More publication of international articles and translation of publications can be considered.

There is, of course, wide international representation on the International Division’s Steering Committee and on the Washington, D.C.-based Advisory Committee, but a more global representation must be considered for all IACP divisions, committees, and decision-making bodies. The International Managers of Police Academy and College Training (IMPACT) group has set an example for all committees to follow.

The IACP does tend to focus on local and regional issues on the one hand and attend to its transnational partners on the other. Yet both side of the coin are relevant around the globe. The IACP strategic plan recognizes this, and the importance of universal engagement is known, but there is more we can do to make the international organization more globally relevant.

IACP 2011 has special areas and programs intended to cater specifically to international delegates. For information, to register, and to secure housing, visit

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