Tuesday, June 12th 

4pm-5.30pm, SCCJR seminar CEES Seminar Room, 8 Lilybank Gardens

Gaps in Post-Soviet Police Reform:  the Case of Georgia

Prof. Matthew Light, University of Toronto

Georgia’s police restructuring under President Mikheil Saakashvili has attracted attention among scholars of comparative policing and post-Soviet studies.  Debate has centred on the relative evaluation of successes, such as the dramatic reduction in some forms of corruption, and uncorrected systemic abuses, such as mistreatment of criminal suspects and political opponents.  The talk presents ongoing research on issues in Georgian policing that have received less attention, focusing on aspects of police training and interaction with victims and witnesses of crime, both of which display continuing Soviet legacies.  These gaps in Georgian police restructuring underline that police reform needs to be more carefully conceptualized; or in other words, reforms respond to specific political imperatives to prioritize particular outcomes.  By extension, the questions of corruptions and human rights in policing that preoccupy post-Soviet scholars do not exhaust the range of outcomes that determine how police reform processes should be evaluated.