Resilience policing and disaster management during Australia's Black Summer bushfire crisis

Jarrett Blaustein, Maegan Miccelli, Ross Hendy, Hutton Burns Kate

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    Policing landscapes are being transformed by disaster risks associated with climate change. ‘Resilience policing’ is described as an emergent model of security governance that builds upon established state-based community policing traditions to support the management of these complex risks and hazards. The assumption is that established policing capabilities might be harnessed to enhance disaster resilience. Empirical research on resilience policing is lacking however, and it is unclear whether this model is truly innovative, or simply a progression of established community policing models. This article explores these questions by considering how local police contributed to disaster management activities in a remote rural community which was directly impacted by Australia's catastrophic Black Summer bushfires in 2019–20. Our qualitative, empirical case study illustrates how institutionalized learnings, organizational and systemic reforms, and everyday policing activities enhanced the absorptive and adaptive capabilities of police as emergency responders, emergency management networks, and local residents. Our analysis indicates that a resilience policing model, anchored in existing community engagement and partnership-working methods, may hold promise as a means of enhancing the adaptative capacity of police and improving alignment between policing and emergency management networks. Less optimistically, it reveals potential obstacles to adapting this template for use in complex policing environments, sustaining institutional focus and adaptive capabilities amidst poly-crises, and aligning policing roles and mandates with transformative climate adaptation agendas.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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