Is There A Country Without Police? We Find Out

If someone is a victim of a crime, first thing they do is call the police. In areas of high crime, the police often have a strong presence. But what about places with very little, or even no crime? Do they not need police forces? In fact, is there any country in the world without police at all?

There is no country in the world that doesn’t have a police force. All countries have civilian forces that ensure law and order and work to apprehend criminals. Although not every country calls their law enforcement departments the police, essentially every country has a department that acts as a police force.

…but that’s just an overview. In order to fully understand why there is no country in the world without police, we need to go into a bit more detail.

Why There Is No Country Without A Police Force?

So, it’s clear that there is no country in the world that doesn’t have police. However, considering there are so many differences between the nations of the world, why is there not a single one that doesn’t have a police force at all. Actually, there are four main reasons:

  • Police are needed to catch criminals
  • Police are vital in prosecuting criminal acts
  • Police protect prominent public figures
  • The general public want a police force

Now let’s take a quick look at each of these in-turn…

Police Are Needed To Catch Criminals

A first reason why there is no country without police is because police play a vital role in catching and stopping criminals. When a crime occurs, one of the first things people do is call the police. If there is no police force in a country, then criminals would most likely get away. Although the army or local militia could be used to catch crooks, and this was done mostly before the formation of the first police departments, this led to issues around accountability and due process. Police are vital for apprehending criminals, and this is why every country in the world has them.

Police Are Vital In Prosecuting Criminal Acts

A second reason why there isn’t a country in the world without police is because police are needed to prosecute criminals. Catching bad guys isn’t the only thing police do. In order for criminals to be punished, they need to be tried and convicted. Police play an important role in gathering evidence and building a case against criminals. Without a police force, a nation would have no way of providing a fair trial to people accused of crimes. This is why every country has a police force of some kind.

Police Protect Prominent Public Figures

Another reason why all countries have police is because they are needed to protect prominent people. Politicians, royalty, visiting dignitaries and other high-profile people protection. Although often VIPs pay for their own private security, often police forces assist in some instances. Police are also needed to guard public buildings such as parliaments, as well as to provide public safety during large events such as sport matches. All countries have these needs, and its why every country has a police force.

The General Public Want A Police Force

A final reason why there is not a country without police is because, generally, the public support having a police force. People want to feel safe in their homes and whilst going about their daily lives. Having police patrolling the streets, catching crooks and being available to call for assistance when needed, is what most people want. Any country without a police force, would likely receive strong calls for one of be formed. The fact that there is no public support for not having a police force, is one reason why every country has one.

Has There Ever Been A Country With No Police?

Ok, so it’s clear in modern times that there are no countries without police. But what about in the past? If we look through history, has there ever been a country without a police force?

Throughout most of human history, there have not been police forces. The first police department was established in London in 1829. Before this time, the local militia or army acted as a police force. However, these were not civilian forces, and were in many ways different to modern police forces.

The first police force was established in 1829 – the London Metropolitan Police. Before this, essentially no country had a dedicated police force. Policing was done by the army, militaria, or local volunteers. There were many issues with these forces stopping crime. As they were not civilian forces, but military or simply volunteers, they lacked independence and accountability. They also did not work to prevent crimes, but simply punish those that they accused of committing them.

Soon after the Metropolitan Police was established, many other cities, and countries, set-up their own police forces. By the early 20th Century, essentially every country in the world had some form of policing.

Could There Be A Country Without Police?

Now we know there is no country in the world that doesn’t have police, let’s think hypothetically – could there be a country in the world that functions without a police force today?

In the modern age, there could not be a country without a police force. The police are vital for catching criminals and bringing them to justice. Any country without a police force would see a rise in crime, and no population would support not having police at all.

One reason why there could never be a country today that doesn’t have a police force is because the police play a key role in catching criminals. As there is no country without crime, there can’t really be a country without the police.

What Would Happen If There Was A Country With No Police?

A final thought worth considering – what would actually happen if there was a country that disbanded its police departments? Or that never created a police force to begin with?

If there was a country that didn’t have police, there would likely be a significant issue with crime. Not only would lawbreakers within that country have little to stop them committing crimes, but criminals from other countries would likely establish themselves there as there would be no one to apprehend them.

As we’ve said, the police are key to catching and prosecuting criminals. If there was a country without police, lawbreakers would be able to act freely, without fear of being caught. This would mean crime would rise as people would take the opportunity to commit crimes without being apprehended, and criminals who committed crimes would be able to continue to reoffend, as no one would stop them.

If a country didn’t have police, it is likely that vigilante groups would form in order to deter crime. These would be unregulated and poorly trained, unlike the police, which would result in more violence and potentially even more crimes being committed by these groups using brutal methods to stop crimes.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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