(2011) JLP 63: 25-47
This article examines international interventions in policing and justice in Sub-Saharan Africa. It calls for increased local ownership and realistic plans that are based on what is available, affordable, effective and legitimate whether this is state provision or not. Yet international development agencies, even when they recognise the importance of so-called ‘non-state’ actors, are still primarily concerned with building state provision. When, however, the categories of ‘state’ and ‘non-state’ are examined more critically, it is seen that the boundary between these categories of actors is blurred, dynamic and subject to local negotiation. The indications are that the distinction between ‘state’ and ‘non-state’ is maintained because it serves the interest of powerful actors, including international donors. Conversely, the distinction makes little sense to ordinary citizens, who are more concerned with who actually provides quality policing and justice, not with who authorises it. Based on these observations, the article supports an alternative, ‘multi-layered’ approach to policing and justice, which is based on the inclusion of a plurality of providers and which has an emphasis on networks.