The expanding security gap: Australian gendarmes and offshore policing

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Military and police cooperation assumes a different dimension in law enforcement operations that occur offshore, particularly transnational criminal environments. For police, military cooperation offers access to technology, resources, personnel and often operational strategies that are beyond law enforcement capabilities. However, there are challenges, as police seek to resolve investigations and ultimately prosecute offenders, while military objectives may include retrieval of an asset or individual, obtaining intelligence and planning for future operations. These two strategies are not always compatible, particularly where military responses may involve some transgression of law, while law enforcement objectives of identification, detention and prosecution of offenders are unlikely due to insurgency and war. This paper considers an Australian perspective on police responses to a range of transnational crimes, including drug importations and counter-narcotic strategies, kidnapping and terrorism. This historical trajectory illustrates a blurring of military and police roles in highly complex, operation-specific policy responses and development of a gendarmerie capability in the offshore environment, a trend being replicated across the globe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-44
Number of pages24
JournalSalus Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


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