The Beat
22 Jan 2015|

Specialist entryWelcome to ‘The Beat’, a regular update that we’ll be publishing from ASPI’s Strategic Policing and Law Enforcement program. Like other ASPI updates, it’ll provide commentary on a select range of topical issues and links to different documents, reports and other items of interest to those involved in the law enforcement field, and its contribution to national security.

Looking ahead

Our first edition focuses on what might lie ahead for 2015 in the broad security space. In this short paper, Rohan Gunaratna shares his views on the terrorist threat, with a focus on daish (Islamic State). A much longer report by CSIS Washington covers what the US can do in the Middle East, and is noteworthy for its commentary on counterterrorism strategy and interagency cooperation. And lastly, the comprehensive forecasts by private intelligence firms Stratfor and G4S are also worth a read.

Interesting to note that none of those forecasts sees any prospect for the early demise of daish, but Stratfor seems less concerned about its activities outside Iraq and Syria (but also perhaps with an expansion into Lebanon) than others. G4S sees the potential for some of daish‘s 2014 gains to be rolled back.

UK inquiry report into the murder of Fusilier Rigby

Last November, the UK parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee released its report into the performance of the security services in relation to the 2013 murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby. The report states that the security services couldn’t have prevented the attack, but makes some interesting findings concerning the high threshold for intrusive investigations, the importance of engagement between street-level police and the community to gather intelligence, and the low priority Britain gives to counter-radicalisation.

From the bookshelf

One worthy read comes from American criminology professor, Louise I. Shelly, whose book  Dirty Entanglements explains the links between terrorism, crime and corruption. She also shows how most of the major terrorist attacks of the past decade required support from corrupt officials and more common criminals. While Australia doesn’t get much of a mention, it’s still a must-read for the evidence supporting Shelly’s case and for those who seek to understand how this unholy trinity interact to jeopardise our interests.

Perhaps of growing interest?

While Australia’s still only talking about legalising marijuana for medicinal purposes, it’s interesting to watch how US states are approaching the issue. Those interested in the debate might like to follow the Brookings Institution’s research thread, including posts like this about the prospects for further marijuana legalisation in the US  and its implications for international treaties.

Coming up….

Clare Murphy is an intern working within ASPI’s Strategic Policing and Law Enforcement Program. Image courtesy of Flickr user Andrew Becraft.