Securing communities for development: community policing in Ethiopia's Amhara National Regional State

Research reports and studies
November 2013
Lisa Denney with Demelash Kassaye
See photos of community policing Amhara captured by Lisa Denney

There is growing interest in community policing internationally as a way of involving communities in security provision. This case study examines Ethiopia's Amhara National Regional state, which offers an unique perspective. Its 'top-down' community policing model emerges from a particular political context shaped by its political structures and ideology, state-society relations and the existence of long-standing customary security and justice practices.

Community policing in Ethiopia serves multiple purposes - from sharing the state's burden of policing with customary actors, to reducing crime, involving communities in security provision and contributing to national development.

Both positive and negative effects of this community policing model are apparent, with some improvements in perceptions of crime levels and police-community relations but there are still concerns around the quality of justice on offer, as well as its contribution to an effective state surveillance system.