Police are democratic when they act as authorized by law, when the laws they follow incorporate international standards of human rights, when they are accountable to authorities outside of themselves, and when they give priority to responding to the security needs of individuals. There is general agreement about the first three characteristics. Few would say that policing is democratic if police can make their own rules, if the rules they follow are arbitrary, repressive, and abusive, or if police operate without the possibility of corrective supervision. Accountability implies, of course, an appropriate measure of transparency. The uncommon element in this definition is responsiveness to individuals. I add it to distinguish policing that is preoccupied with serving the political needs of regimes, from policing that ‘serves ...

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