OCCASIONAL PAPER No. 1, MARCH 2014 Challenges with Assessing Impact in International Police Reform and Assistance
As peacebuilding missions have become more complex and resource-intensive, the need to demonstrate that they are having the intended effect has become more pressing. The Challenges Forum Impact Evaluation and Assessment working group therefore commissioned a series of papers analyzing how the different components involved in peacebuilding missions, including police, evaluate their impact and effectiveness.
The paper is focused on impact assessment in policing reform, and argues that determining long term impact remains a challenge. UN missions are rarely funded or structured in a way that facilitates this endeavour, and although many in-program evaluations track implementation relatively well they are less capable of assessing long term impacts.
The ability to assess long term impacts ultimately depends on gathering data focused more on the perspectives of local communities. Such approaches increasingly employ survey-based methodologies, an area where the UN has not traditionally allocated significant funds, but which arguably remain the most reliable way of determining whether a policing reform initiative had its intended impact.
Mark Andrew Reber is a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with 20 years professional experience in policing and security sector reform. Prior to leaving the RCMP Mark was seconded to several policing oversight agencies, including five years as Chief of Staff to the Oversight Commissioner for Policing Reform in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and eighteen months as a Senior Inspector with the Garda Síochána Inspectorate in Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
His subsequent professional efforts were focused on leading policing reform assessments in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central America, continuing to strengthen civilian oversight in Northern Ireland, providing expert advice on police complaints and internal discipline systems in Palestine, and providing anti-corruption capacity building in southern Africa.
Mark holds a Diploma in Management from the University of Ulster, a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Politics from the University of Toronto and in International Relations from Carleton University.