This policy guidance relates to legislation that has expanded USAID’s mandate to work with civilian policing authorities. Section 564(a) of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2005, expands “community-based police assistance” authority on a worldwide basis.

This guidance anticipates increased demand for civilian policing assistance. It covers police assistance activities that may be supported by USAID, unless and until such statutory authority is changed or rescinded. The guidance elaborates key points and provides the legislative background, along with program goals, policy and notification guidance, program guidelines, advice on implementation, and illustrative activities.


Civilian police authority means a public safety or constabulary force that has the authority to carry out certain functions normally exercised by a law enforcement force. This includes the authority to carry weapons, make arrests, search private premises, interrogate in private, supervise confinement, and initiate prosecutions.

Community-based policing is an approach to policing based on the concept that crime can most effectively be addressed through a partnership between the police and the community they serve. When put into practice, this approach to policing is generally characterized by consultation by the police with communities; adaptation of police policies and strategies to the requirements of particular communities or localities; mobilization of the public to work with the police to prevent crime; and adoption of a mutual problem-solving methodology as the fundamental strategy of policing.


In January 2004, USAID issued a white paper that identifies five operational goals for the Agency, in line with strategic priorities. The country goals include promoting transformational development, strengthening fragile states, and supporting strategic states. USAID’s goals in the area of civilian policing are to establish the rule of law, with security and human rights protections as an inherent component of a democratic political order, and to establish a positive enabling environment for economic growth, including commercial activity, investment, and trade.