Key findings: There are few detailed case studies of cities or regions in developing countries that outline effective methods for police reform. This is mainly due to the lack of evaluation that objectively identifies certain types of police reform as having improved performance. It is also true that changes in performance may not be universally judged as an improvement, reform that is effective in one context may not be so in another, and police reform often takes place on a national, rather than regional or city level.
The case studies identified in this study – from India, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Pakistan – suggest that the reason for improvements in performance has not necessarily been the use of particularly innovative reform policies. Rather there has been a political and social context which has allowed improved practices to take hold. The literature suggests the following to ensure effective police reform:
- sustained political and social support for reform;
- police leadership;
- adequate resources and/or low-cost measures;
- good systems of evaluation.