Assessing police privatisation in the United Arab Emirates

PhD thesis

Alqutbah, A. 2017. Assessing police privatisation in the United Arab Emirates. PhD thesis Middlesex University School of Law
TypePhD thesis
TitleAssessing police privatisation in the United Arab Emirates
AuthorsAlqutbah, A.

The growth of private security companies and the privatisation of police is a development that has been witnessed around the world in both developing and developed nations. The rapid pace of transformation in policing in the UAE potentially poses severe risks to the future of policing. Different categories of risks have been identified in connection with the transference of public functions to the private sector: regulatory, economic and social risks. In the UAE, the outsourcing of policing operations to the private security sector is significantly embedded as a key policy objective driven by a wider commitment to deliver efficient public services. While the UAE and institutions are committed to applying best practice and principles in this area, a framework to assess police privatisation was lacking. The aim of this research was to investigate the effectiveness of governance, oversight and accountability of private security in the UAE. The theoretical basis for this research was underpinned by privatisation theory and principles of accountability and control systems. The research design employed an action research strategy gathering qualitative and quantitative data. Action research was adopted as a means for addressing organisational change and enabled the private and public sector organisations to adopt invigorated perspectives and stimulated engagement regarding organisational issues and cross-sector partnership. In terms of external controls influencing governance and accountability there were gaps when benchmarked against key dimensions identified in the literature. There was a lack of a comprehensive evaluation framework that addresses all dimensions and an absence of systematic and meaningful evaluation of programme effectiveness impacting sector stakeholders. Findings revealed a lack of democratic accountability and public engagement, market control in terms of self-regulation, regulatory limitations and limited engagement and trust between the public and private security organisations. Assessment of internal controls revealed moderate performance in terms of motivation and morale of security personnel and weaknesses in recruitment and training and organisational learning capacity. A framework was formulated contributing a holistic and integrated approach for assessing private security performance. The evaluation dimension contains key factors, such as evaluation criteria and evaluation mechanisms, with associated criteria specifying the nature of the content of the evaluation criteria, such as comprehensiveness and reflection of stakeholder priorities. A key change objective is the implementation of multi-level, multi-dimensional evaluation mechanisms, with compliance measures related to diverse evaluation mechanisms and regularity of evaluation. This framework reflects an embedded approach to assessing the performance of private security model evaluation as a reflexive social process that enables continuous reflection and emergent transformation.

Department nameSchool of Law
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print07 Dec 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Dec 2017
Accepted13 Nov 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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