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United Agents : Community of Practice within Border Policing in the Baltic Sea Area

Yakhlef, Sophia LU (2018) In Lund Dissertations in Sociology, 1102–4712: 119
Abstract
The risks and insecurities emphasised in contemporary societies have given rise to diverse forms of policing, such as transnational and intelligence-based police collaborations. This dissertation focuses on a border police collaboration project, called Turnstone, that took place between 2014 and 2015, aiming to address issues related to irregular migration and cross border crimes in the Baltic Sea areas. The purpose of this study is to provide a community of practice perspective on cross- border police collaboration drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with a number of intelligence police, coast-guard, and border guard officers from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden.

The study illustrates the everyday... (More)
The risks and insecurities emphasised in contemporary societies have given rise to diverse forms of policing, such as transnational and intelligence-based police collaborations. This dissertation focuses on a border police collaboration project, called Turnstone, that took place between 2014 and 2015, aiming to address issues related to irregular migration and cross border crimes in the Baltic Sea areas. The purpose of this study is to provide a community of practice perspective on cross- border police collaboration drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with a number of intelligence police, coast-guard, and border guard officers from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden.

The study illustrates the everyday interactions as well as the formal processes and practices that have generated a trust-based collaborative environment, which is necessary for sharing secret intelligence information. Increasing demands of collaboration places the officers in an ambivalent position: their neighbouring countries are both their work partners and the ”source” of the cross-border criminals. Two processes account for the emergence of a community of practice: 1) the development of a common linguistic repertoire (a set of norms and values that served as guidelines for streamlining and guiding the pursuit of their joint daily activities), and 2) the actors’ engaging in what they consider “real police work”. The study shows how the participants are at pains to reconcile between these two demands: “real police work” involving “action” and aiming at catching criminals, versus formal work practices, such as attending formal meetings and writing reports, thereby catering to bureaucratic needs.

By focusing on their joint activities organized during the project (referred to as Power Weeks), the study shows how a trust-based relationship, which is necessary for the exchange of culturally, politically and professionally sensitive information, has gradually developed by the participants in and through their joint engagement in these everyday practices. The study highlights the importance of both informal face-to-face encounters and more formal processes in the development of the group as an entity. The findings of this study suggest that working together, attending formal meetings, producing reports, sharing sensitive information, and profiling suspects are equally important as the informal after-work activities. The Power Weeks included various episodes of telling stories and sharing jokes and this has proved to a be a fertile context for generating trust, knowledge, and innovative work practices. The study emphasises the relevance of community of practice for understanding how participants from different organizational and cultural contexts brought together in a project can develop a collaborative environment around sensitive issues. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
De senaste årens fokus på säkerhetsrisker i samhället har gett upphov till olika former av polisarbete, såsom gränsöverskridande och underrättelsebaserat polisarbete. Den här studien uppmärksammar ett samverkansprojekt mellan gränsmyndigheter i Östersjöområdet som pågick mellan 2014 och 2015. Projektet fick namnet Turnstone och involverade underrättelsepoliser, gränspoliser och kustbevakare från Sverige, Finland, Estland, Lettland och Litauen. Syftet med projektet var att förhindra och öka kunskapen om gränsöverskridande brottslighet och migrationsströmmar i Östersjöområdet, samt att förbättra samverkan mellan polis och gränsmyndigheter i regionen. Studien baseras på intervjuer och observationer under projektets aktiviteter. Forskaren... (More)
De senaste årens fokus på säkerhetsrisker i samhället har gett upphov till olika former av polisarbete, såsom gränsöverskridande och underrättelsebaserat polisarbete. Den här studien uppmärksammar ett samverkansprojekt mellan gränsmyndigheter i Östersjöområdet som pågick mellan 2014 och 2015. Projektet fick namnet Turnstone och involverade underrättelsepoliser, gränspoliser och kustbevakare från Sverige, Finland, Estland, Lettland och Litauen. Syftet med projektet var att förhindra och öka kunskapen om gränsöverskridande brottslighet och migrationsströmmar i Östersjöområdet, samt att förbättra samverkan mellan polis och gränsmyndigheter i regionen. Studien baseras på intervjuer och observationer under projektets aktiviteter. Forskaren lägger fokus på gemenskapspraktik (community of practice) och uppmärksammar de gemenskapsbyggande processer som pågick under projektet.

I studien beskrivs gemensamma aktiviteter som anordnades under projektens gång, så kallade power weeks. Under dessa veckor träffades ett antal deltagare från de olika myndigheterna för att arbeta med pågående fall och för att dela information om gränsöverskridande brottslighet. Utöver dessa arbetsveckor anordnades formella möten i samband med projektet. Intervjuade projektdeltagare hävdade att internationell samverkan och förtroende mellan samverkande gränspoliser endast var möjligt om deltagarna kunde mötas, lära känna varandra och arbeta tillsammans. Att dela underrättelseinformation kräver förtroende och samförstånd mellan samverkande parter, något som är svårt att uppnå genom officiella överenskommelser. Studien illustrerar hur vardagliga interaktioner, samt formella processer och möten skapade en förtroendebaserad samverkansmiljö. Att skapa en gemensam språkrepertoar (såsom uttryck, ord, skämt och berättelser) och att fastställa gemensamma mål var avgörande för deltagarnas identifikation som samverkansgrupp. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Gundhus, Helene O.I., Oslo universitet, Norge
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Border police collaboration, community of practice, intelligence sharing, transnational policing, face- to-face encounters, meetings, trust building, Baltic Sea area, Europe, Gränspolissamverkan, gemenskapspraktik, underrättelseinformation, informationsutbyte, gränsöverskridande polisarbete, interaktioner, möten, förtroende, Östersjöområdet, Europa
in
Lund Dissertations in Sociology, 1102–4712: 119
pages
211 pages
publisher
Lund University
defense location
Kulturens hörsal, Tegnérsplatsen 6, Lund
defense date
2018-10-26 13:15:00
ISSN
1102–4712
1102–4712
ISBN
978-91-7753-807-3
978-91-7753-806-6
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f6f21b34-daf5-47d1-92a0-b5ea62baa8d9
date added to LUP
2018-09-25 17:58:03
date last changed
2019-09-08 15:22:25
@phdthesis{f6f21b34-daf5-47d1-92a0-b5ea62baa8d9,
  abstract     = {The risks and insecurities emphasised in contemporary societies have given rise to diverse forms of policing, such as transnational and intelligence-based police collaborations. This dissertation focuses on a border police collaboration project, called Turnstone, that took place between 2014 and 2015, aiming to address issues related to irregular migration and cross border crimes in the Baltic Sea areas. The purpose of this study is to provide a community of practice perspective on cross- border police collaboration drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with a number of intelligence police, coast-guard, and border guard officers from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden. <br/><br/>The study illustrates the everyday interactions as well as the formal processes and practices that have generated a trust-based collaborative environment, which is necessary for sharing secret intelligence information. Increasing demands of collaboration places the officers in an ambivalent position: their neighbouring countries are both their work partners and the ”source” of the cross-border criminals. Two processes account for the emergence of a community of practice: 1) the development of a common linguistic repertoire (a set of norms and values that served as guidelines for streamlining and guiding the pursuit of their joint daily activities), and 2) the actors’ engaging in what they consider “real police work”. The study shows how the participants are at pains to reconcile between these two demands: “real police work” involving “action” and aiming at catching criminals, versus formal work practices, such as attending formal meetings and writing reports, thereby catering to bureaucratic needs. <br/><br/>By focusing on their joint activities organized during the project (referred to as Power Weeks), the study shows how a trust-based relationship, which is necessary for the exchange of culturally, politically and professionally sensitive information, has gradually developed by the participants in and through their joint engagement in these everyday practices. The study highlights the importance of both informal face-to-face encounters and more formal processes in the development of the group as an entity. The findings of this study suggest that working together, attending formal meetings, producing reports, sharing sensitive information, and profiling suspects are equally important as the informal after-work activities. The Power Weeks included various episodes of telling stories and sharing jokes and this has proved to a be a fertile context for generating trust, knowledge, and innovative work practices. The study emphasises the relevance of community of practice for understanding how participants from different organizational and cultural contexts brought together in a project can develop a collaborative environment around sensitive issues. },
  author       = {Yakhlef, Sophia},
  isbn         = {978-91-7753-807-3},
  issn         = {1102–4712},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Dissertations in Sociology, 1102–4712: 119},
  title        = {United Agents : Community of Practice within Border Policing in the Baltic Sea Area},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/51782432/Sophia_Yakhlef_United_Agents.pdf},
  year         = {2018},
}