Police Reform

Police Reform in Europe

The Colonial Dimension of Police Reform in the Ascension of the New State in Portugal

Gonçalo Rocha Gonçalves, from the Open University, made a contribution to the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, in the category “Punishment and its alternatives,” under the title “The Colonial Dimension of Police Reform in the Ascension of the New State in Portugal”. Here is the abstract: In Portugal, the 1930s police reform movement is normally taken with only its metropolitan dimension in mind. The rebuilt of the state under the dictatorship brought so many – and still so little known – transformations to the Portuguese police system, that an important part of this reformation process – the colonial dimension – is normally ignored or examined only by the historians of the Empire. But as the abundant writings of captain Salgueiro Rego (a police officer who served in continental Portugal and in several African police forces) suggest there was a debate going on about police reform that linked the metropolitan and the colonial dimension of policing. Moreover, as the number of policemen in colonies rose from the 1930s onwards the circulation of men began to increase; a mobility movement that would endure until 1974 indelibly linking the two spheres. As the monographs written about the police of Luanda (Angola), in 1938, and Lourenço Marques (Mozambique), in 1940, show, the growing complexity of these forces also testify the profound and rapid transformations that they went through in this period. In this paper we aim to discuss, in a necessarily exploratory approach given the lack of research in this area, the links between metropolitan and colonial policing. Through their relations, similarities and differences as they were elaborated in the reformers discourses we will explore the configuration of Portuguese colonial policing and its influence in metropolitan police system.

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Further Reading

  • “The Colonial Dimension of Police Reform in the Ascension of the New State in Portugal”, by Gonçalo Rocha Gonçalves (Proceedings)

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