Rachel Neild describes police reform programs in Haiti, El Salvador and other parts of the world. She discusses extensively the challenges of effective recruitment and vetting, particularly in the presence of poor information. She goes on to discuss the process of integrating former combatants into police forces, noting that while starting police reform from scratch may have been necessary in Haiti, this need not be the case in other contexts if former forces are properly vetted and held to the same standards and qualifications as the rest of the police force. Neild goes on to discuss some of the challenges associated with the effective operationalization of the police force, including force composition, professionalization and community involvement. She concludes that policing is a “two-way street” that involves both developing and building trust of the police and ensuring that people “understand the nature of law and rights and responsibilities.”
At the time of this interview, Rachel Neild was senior adviser on ethnic profiling and police reform with the Equality and Citizenship Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative. She previously worked with the Washington Office on Latin America, where she was involved in monitoring the Salvadoran peace accords and demilitarization policy in Haiti. She also worked with the Andean Commission of Jurists, Peru, and the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights, Costa Rica. Neild has done consultancies on human rights and policing for the Inter-American Development Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Rights and Democracy, among other organizations.