Introduction

Author:George Kurian
Pages:VII-VIII
 
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World Encyclopedia of Police Forces and Correctional Systems is the second edition of the work published in 1988 as World Encyclopedia of Police Forces and Penal Systems. The first edition covered 183 countries in one volume. The present one covers 198 countries in two volumes. In the intervening years between the first and the second editions the world has changed dramatically, and so have law enforcement and corrections. In the first edition, law enforcement was perceived as a local activity limited to nations and localities within nations. With the ever-present threat of terrorism, law enforcement has taken on a global dimension and the globalization of the science and the profession will only continue to grow in the future. When the first edition was published the Soviet Union had pulled down its iron curtain across half the world, permitting little information to leak into the free world. The collapse of Communism meant not only that there were now 21 more nations in the world, but that there was more access to the police systems of those countries that were once closed to the scrutiny of scholars. Since 1988 the information revolution and the resulting quantum jump in technology have changed the once staid and slow-moving profession of law enforcement into a dynamic one where every policeman has access to as much information in the field as his commanders at headquarters. Even in the smallest countries of the world, law enforcement people are seamlessly connected into a vast network that, through Interpol and other organizations, can reach into the farthest corners of the world. In fact not since the birth of the modern police in Robert Peel's Britain in the mid-1840s has there been a greater expansion in police powers and functions than in the last two decades.

These changes are reflected in the second edition and in the scope of the work. Because these global issues and trends needed to be addressed, the encyclopedia is now divided into two parts. The first part deals with critical global themes that affect all nations and that cannot be properly treated in national chapters. Terrorism has emerged as a discrete target of law enforcement activity. Although it can be dealt with only in a quasi-military fashion, most of the first responders are law enforcement officers and fire fighters. The conventional rubrics that governed law enforcement do not apply to terrorism, which is often described as a war. As the police gain new powers...

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