Challenges and solutions in the 21st-century law enforcement
János SALLAI, Szabolcs MÁTYÁS*
Abstract: Studying the history of policing, we can conclude that the police have faced different challenges from time to time. There are ancient hazards such as fire, flood, or epidemic, and there are hazards that have been created through development, such as traffic hazards after motorisation has become widespread. Technical progress has accelerated over the past two hundred years, leading to a dramatic increase in risks. In the Middle Ages, a wanderer walking on the country road did not expect to be hit by a speeding mail car. By now, it has become natural that countless dangers are lurking in all areas of life that may have to do with policing. The above motivated us to examine what dangers threaten us in the age of globalisation and what answers can be given to the challenges of police in the 21st‑century.
Keywords: law enforcement, globalisation, police, security.
Table of Contents
The development of modern policing can be traced back to 17th century Paris, where the state police service was first established in 1667. The first concept of policing was developed in 1794. It stated that policing is nothing more than preventing threats and maintaining public order. Modern policing spread in most of Europe, including Hungary, in the 19th century.
The establishment of modern policing can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century. After that, the scientifically demanding cultivation of the police was continuously present. As part of this process, law enforcement practitioners established several non-governmental societies and journals, and law enforcement education at university level was established.
We have known since Fridrich Ratzel that ‛The state is a handful of soil, a handful of blood and an organization that ensures and maintains the coexistence of the two.’ And one of the main tasks of the police is to provide the preconditions for the state. Achieving this means different challenges for the police in the different ages. The main reason for this is that the concept and content of security vary from one era to the other. When people heard the word ‛security’ during the Cold War, they had military security in their minds.
In parallel with the disintegration of the bilateral world, the process of globalisation and the data transmission revolution inducted new challenges in the whole world. At the same time, the process of changing the regime was going on in Hungary, as a result of which Hungarian citizens could experience the loss of their jobs. So, the word ‛security’ meant financial security for Hungarians at that time, rather than the threat of the Third World War. With the dismantling of the Iron Curtain and the introduction of the world passport, freedom of travel has brought several new security challenges that directly affect people. Legal security, social security, food safety, and travel safety have become daily risk factors.
In the 20-21. century, the concepts of world wars, revolutions, natural disasters, migration, and security were constantly shaped. However, the authors (Szabolcs Mátyás and János Sallai) have a concept of security that is still relevant and applicable today. It leads to the interpretation of the concept of policing and the formulation of the law enforcement challenges of the future. The authors used the work of József Tóth to interpret the words order, policing, danger, and security. The Hungarian researchers, just like other researchers (Mohl, Delamare, Buisson), derive the beginnings of the word law enforcement from the Greek word ‛politia’ and based his historical development on French and German research. As a result of the discussions on the police, he stated that the task of the police is to preserve public order and public safety and prevent danger. This is complemented in the National Socialist State by ‛positive, political, public welfare responsibilities.’ According to the authors, public safety evolved from the concept of security, using the definition of security used in German law enforcement since 1917. According to this, security means ‛freedom from danger and disturbance.’ (The source of the concept is 1917, which could still be uttered today, and there are even security politicians who still use this wording today.)
In his two basic works, József Tóth also deals with the history of the formation of policing and the historical development of the concept of policing. In these, he details the meaning of the word politia in antiquity and describes the spread of this word in the French and Prussian territories. It also presents the relationships between the concepts of order, public order, security, danger, and policing.
In Tóth's opinion, public security is based on public interest. In introducing the concept of public order, he went back to the foundations of the ancient Greek philosophers. According to Pythagoras, ‛the order of things is to be traced back to the spirit.’ According to Cicero, ‛order means putting things together in their right place.’ In conclusion, the authors consider the following concept to be acceptable: ‛order is the definite coexistence and connection of the elements of difference in space, time and causality.’ In connection with the order, Tóth wrote, referring to Robert von Mohl, that order is an indispensable human need. In his view, this created law enforcement. According to Tóth, public order developed from the concept of order. Referring to German lawyer Otto Mayer, ‛public order, a situation of the community in which social values, within the limits of opportunity, remain free from any harm.’ Later, Tóth discusses the concept of danger, in which he elaborates on the danger of law enforcement. Here again, comes the idea of Lorenz von Stein, who did not see all dangers as a danger in law enforcement. Stein says the threat to law enforcement is the will of individual people to endanger society. In summary, ‛danger is a condition that presupposes the possibility of adverse consequences.’
The descriptions in József Tóth's book ‛Forms of Law Enforcement' published in 1938 serve as examples for today's law enforcement researchers, too. Contemporary law enforcement researchers think about the concept of danger and law enforcement similarly to how József Tóth did. According to Lajos Szamel, law enforcement is a state activity aiming to avert danger and restore public order and peace. The concept of law enforcement danger is included in the Law Enforcement Dictionary published in 2019 as a separate keyword, and its content agrees with that of József Tóth‛s.
Here, the authors classified the hazards as follows:
a) abstract or potential hazard
b) specific or actual threat (actual threat)
c) putative threat (in reality, there is no threat based on the presumption of law enforcement organizations)
The author cites an excellent example of the classification of hazards. Prohibition of smoking in theatres. This presents itself as a source of danger based on the presumption of law enforcement organizations. If someone smokes, it is not yet a danger, it can only assume an abstract danger, but it immediately becomes a specific source of danger if a curtain or some other combustible material catches fire.
Analysing the concept of danger, it is clear that danger can be non-existent, but it can also be harmful or destructive. However, danger can be an event with harmful consequences that already exist, which can come from human evil, negligence, or the power of nature.
Starting from the concept of danger and order, public order, we can get the concept of policing, which in simple terms means the prevention of danger and the maintenance of public order.
Whether putative, abstract, or concrete, the scale of the threat has widened significantly in recent times due to industrial revolutions and accelerated technological progress. Today, it is pretty clear, seemingly commonplace, that there was no danger to rail transport in the Middle Ages; no one was threatened by being hit by a tram or subway train.
Based on the above, it can be concluded that the police must ensure the functioning of the state and contribute to security. Security, which is a safe state, can only be created if the police prevent dangers, or eliminates dangers and restore the original state. There is a close link between security, danger, and policing, which can also be seen in the day-to-day work of public safety.
New situations created by development always brought unknown risks, which posed new sources of danger to the security of the state and society. In the age of globalization, these threats may include, but are not limited to:
• Possibility of data misuse;
• accelerated traffic, travel;
• expansion of life-extinguishing devices;
• the consequences of global warming;
• striving to maximize profits in economic life;
• land, water, and air pollution;
• struggles for possession of mineral resources;
• fighting for food and water;
• civil wars and conflicts.
The above sources of danger are all tasks and challenges for the law enforcement of the future, the 21st century, in an ever-changing security environment. Thus, it is still clear today how a source of danger becomes a global security challenge and, therefore, how it affects the participants of tourism.
The multiplicity of hazards does not allow us to present some hazards in detail due to space constraints. For example, hundreds of books have now been written about the dangers posed by global warming, all of which have an impact on law enforcement. Recently, the clearest source of global danger is COVID-19. This is a good illustration of how an epidemic from a given region can become a continental and then a global epidemic. This showed how its impact on policing changed and grew day by day until it reached almost every country on Earth.
Among the dangers, I would highlight the danger of an epidemic. This has a particularly rapid and significant impact on touristic development in some areas and requires priority health and law enforcement measures. In January 2020, the appearance of coronavirus that appeared in China was outstanding news. To curb it, the city of Wuhan was shut down. The coronavirus appeared first in Asia and then in Europe. First, Wuhan's local and then China's mainland travel habits were paralyzed by health and law enforcement measures associated with the virus.
The essence of globalization is that an event anywhere in the world affects human, trade, economic, and political relations. Thus, since the coronavirus, the number of travellers to and from China has decreased significantly. There have been flights between Europe and Asia, day by day. This immediately has a significant impact on tourism and hospitality. The arrival and departure of tourist groups will be cancelled or postponed, thus freeing up previously booked hotel and restaurant capacities, which will result in a loss of revenue and – for suppliers – orders. In the case of law enforcement, strict quarantine and other health regulations are priorities. In the field of travel, the control of airports, ports, railway stations, and other public transport locations is a law enforcement task.
One of the results of globalization is the rapid development of intercontinental tourism. Millions of people board a plane every day to travel to another country or continent. However, with current health testing systems, it is not possible to screen out someone with only one disease lurking. A passenger may show the symptoms of the illness only in a few hours or a few days. when he has already arrived. Unfortunately, if current travel habits persist, we will have to live with the fact that another pandemic could break out at any time.
Without wishing to be exhaustive, the authors would like to present some of the major areas of global threat. One of the biggest challenges of the coming period is global warming, which will cause serious environmental, law enforcement, food, water, energy, health, agricultural, etc. security issues. Of these, the authors would like to highlight the lack of water and food as a challenge indirectly linked to globalization (Mostly lack of water and food shortages caused 29,259,338 deaths of children under the age of 5 in 2020). It is perhaps no coincidence that public life and world politics have also been thematized in recent times by the increasingly urgent need to address the challenges posed by climate change. Global warming is a natural process caused primarily by tectonic movements on Earth and in the geological structure, as well as external influences from outer space. However, human activity is seriously accelerating global warming due to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The fact of global warming is no longer questionable today. The world has reached a point where we can no longer talk about climate change as a future phenomenon that will affect the fate of future generations. Rising temperatures, shrinking natural ice sheets, rising sea levels, declining forest cover, declining biodiversity, fierce struggles for resources, etc., are all facts and limit the lives and opportunities of current generations. All these phenomena are already affecting our everyday lives (The exploitation of the Earth is also well illustrated by some statistics. Between 1990 and 2016, 1.3 million square kilometers of forest were cleared in the world, and world oil production increased to 100 million barrels per day).
One of our most important treasures is drinking water. Approx. 1.1 billion people don't reach it, and more than a third of the world's countries suffer from moderate to severe water shortages. According to many, the 20th century was a century of oil, while the 21st century is a century of water. ‛According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), more than 2.8 billion people will live in areas with drinking water shortages or scarce supplies by 2025, as water demand doubles every twenty years.’ All of this can trigger unpredictable processes on Earth, especially in Africa and Asia. Not only is migration intensified, but the struggle for water is also threatening governments in some African, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries, which can lead to local, then national and cross-border riots, uprisings, and civil wars. From a security point of view, it is a matter of further concern that most of the states in these areas are highly unstable and are already in serious conflict. Due to competition coming from globalization, increased water demand may lead to instability in some countries.
Whereas in the past, conflicts over water have been the subject of disagreements over a particular area, a significant increase of conflicts can be expected in the future because of the simple fact that water is the most essential element of survival.
The consequences of global warming – the signs of which (e.g., significant precipitation, mud avalanches, floods, droughts) can already be seen in Hungary – can be felt in the North Pole or the high mountains in measurable form. The loss of glaciers in the Alps or the melting of the ice sheet in the Arctic can be felt by hand. The consequences of these phenomena are not only predictable, but their signs can be seen day by day. In the Alps, ever-shrinking glaciers (which also feed large rivers, such as the Danube) could, within a few decades, cause Europe's large rivers to fall to minimum water levels and possibly dry up. Today, there are important industrial facilities on the banks of these rivers. The cooling or other industrial needs of these facilities require very high-water level. The absence of water (See: Paks Nuclear Power Station) can be an unpredictable source of danger.
Based on currently available research, water scarcity will lead to international conflict in many places, especially in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. There are more than two hundred rivers in the world bordering at least two countries. These include countries (e.g., Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait) that are at least 80% dependent on water resources. In the same way, the slow melting of the Arctic could lead to a new competition for raw materials, the security challenges of which could have unpredictable consequences today. For the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark, and Norway, the Arctic region is another gas, oil, and ore deposit opportunity that these countries are going to fight for.
Of course, many countries would compete for the minerals that could be extracted as a result of melting, but only the countries mentioned above have the research technology, since these countries were involved in previous Arctic research, so they have gained experience and developed the tools suitable for mining in this special environment.
In addition, the melting of the ice sheet is also leading to sea-level rise, which poses a threat to coastal cities. It may even be possible to relocate these cities in the future, putting new states to the test again. It puzzles how many policing issues the rethinking or possible evacuation of the protection of a coastal settlement or city raises. At the same time, it should be noted that climate change also has benefits, including the gradual navigation of maritime routes, especially in the north. While this may improve further in the future, another source of controversy in international conflicts may be that - though northern gateways have hardly even opened - the great powers bordering them have immediately claimed their exclusive rights over them.
According to United Nations reports, 20% of the freshwater reserves explored are used by industry and 70% by agriculture. Global warming is accompanied by the proliferation of extreme weather events, such as prolonged droughts, multiple rainfall, and unprecedented windstorms. Due to drought or flooding, the soil of humanity is shrinking. The natural areas of plants change, and even if they can adapt to changed natural conditions, significant yield losses are to be expected in many cases. As a result, food production could be seriously jeopardized, food shortages could occur globally, and food prices could rise as a result.
However, globalization, which also has positive effects (e.g., an increase in the number of people involved in tourism, access to mass products, advances in medicine, internet usage, etc.), in many cases its negative consequences take its toll on a daily basis everywhere in the world.
One of them is illegal drugs. The drug is distributed and consumed worldwide in part through the Internet. In the context of globalization, the advocacy and influence of nation-states in maintaining border control is diminishing (because the role of dividing-filtering borders is diminishing). Illegal drug trafficking organizations gain significant influence. This could contribute to increasing impoverishment and thus to an increase in the number of vulnerable people. A major contributor to the global spread of illegal drugs is that there is a layer of consumers everywhere in the world that is reproducing the demand for the substances. The worldwide distribution and trade of drugs are facilitated by mobile phones, the Internet, and other electronic devices, as a result of which distributors organize the route of delivery and sale. In many cases, the illegal drug reaches the user without even encountering the drug dealer. There are currently well-known drug delivery and smuggling routes on the world map
(The EMCDDA estimates that 91.2 million people in the European Union used cannabis and 18 million used cocaine/2018/). However, the illegal drug trade is a very good business, so the fight against it in the 21st century is not expected to end but will continue to pose significant law enforcement, medical and social challenge to the world's states.
It has already been mentioned in connection with global warming that the primary reason for the struggle for the North Pole is the possession of energy deposits. There are numerous examples of international dependence on energy (e.g., Ukraine, EU Member States, China, etc.). It is no coincidence that the largest item in world trade is energy. Energy policy is thus a major segment of international politics. Due to the globalization of energy supply, the world economy is extremely sensitive to even the smallest changes in the market. The 1973 oil crisis caused a serious economic and financial crisis worldwide, but the events of recent years include the Ukraine-Russia conflict. The current Ukrainian-Russian crisis has also jeopardized the European Union's energy supply. Nowadays, it has become clear that China, whose economy is growing significantly, is suffering from severe energy hunger as it procures more than 90% of its oil and gas needs from abroad. It has also become clear that one of the most important areas on Earth within the geopolitical struggle is the power struggle for energy resources.
This issue is one of the defining elements of international politics today. It is clear from all this that the economic role and influence of the central regions, which play a key role in globalization, and of China and India, which aspire to it, is maximally determined by the existence of energy resources or the lack of resources. Although China has stated that it has no expansionary aspirations, several phenomena contradict this. Millions of Chinese live in a country neighbouring China, e.g., in the Siberian territories of Russia, in South-East Asia, etc. I consider László Nagy's analysis to be remarkable, according to which: ‛In terms of land acquisition, the northern and western directions (i.e., Russia and Kazakhstan) are more desirable and favourable for Beijing than the expansion to the South, Indochina or even India. In the South, they are struggling with the same problem as China: many people, a little land, and many territories. However, to the north lies the almost uninhabited, vast area with its almost inexhaustible mineral resources that China so desperately needs. And Baikal's vast drinking water reserves, which China will soon need more than oil.’ China could launch unpredictable processes in the world by linking its energy hunger to expansion. But in the face of increasing economic competition, let us not lose historical experience. At the same time, the European Union, which is also a major energy importer, should be mentioned (as a counterexample), but there are no expansionist ideas among EU policymakers.
It was not explicitly created by globalization, but there is no doubt that globalization and the disintegration of the bipolar world acted as a catalyst for the worldwide spread of terrorism. The spread and coercion of Western ideologies to other cultures, and expansionary activities, not surprisingly, have not always been welcomed. Resistance has taken and continues to take various forms. The radical degeneration of this is in many cases seen as terrorism. In many cases, the tempers that degenerate into terrorism have been fuelled by the unequal development of a globalized society and economy. This led to further impoverishment of some areas while gaining significant economic and political supremacy in other areas. Because terrorism and the fight against it have significant literature, the authors omit a detailed explanation.
If the basic idea of capitalism is profit-making, then globalization is the maximization of profit. Globalization and the global market allow individual companies to group their cross-border activities in a way that brings the greatest (economic) benefits to them. Although the English economist David Ricardo says that free trade is good for economic operators in the participating countries, it is now certain that the social scissors will, in many cases, open in opposite directions. There will be an increasing contrast between the centre and the periphery, i.e., developed and developing areas.
Actors in the economic sector strive to make as much profit as possible at the lowest possible cost. As one of the highest costs in the production of products is personnel costs (e.g., wages and related contributions), transnational companies (TNCs) seek to relocate their production subsidiaries to an environment where they must pay as little as possible. In this respect, the countries of Asia, Africa, Latin, and South America are favourable investment areas for large companies. Minimum wages are much lower and, in many cases, do not pay health or pension contributions (average monthly net salary in some countries: Switzerland: 6,215 USD, Luxembourg: 4,263 USD, Denmark: 3,639 USD ↔ Egypt 224 USD, Nepal: 222 USD, Nigeria: 173 USD /2020/).
Furthermore, legal, safety, political and environmental regulations are critical considerations for companies. The European Union is a representative example: strict safety and environmental standards are in many cases too burdensome (financially) for companies to relocate their industrial production to countries that are much less compliant with the rules. This process deepens the gap between the central regions, i.e., North and South, resulting in significant conflicts. The size of per capita income is in the opposite direction to the classification according to economic development. Per capita incomes are exceptionally high in the central regions while very low in the peripheral countries. These contradictions also greatly generate anti-globalization movements. These demonstrations have often led to or may lead to acts of violence, the consequences of which are impossible to predict. The main goal of these organizations and demonstrations is to create a new and more just world order, the implementation of which can be a very long process. As a result, the North-South divide will deepen, which could provoke significant social and societal tensions worldwide.
The challenges of globalization discussed so far, and the overpopulation of the Earth, and migration are inseparable. Natural and social disasters, threats, the intensification of the North-South division, and the fact that our world's population has exceeded 7 billion can all contribute to one of the greatest challenges of globalization, the intensification of migration. Thus, it is almost evident that the main migration directions that can be well drawn on the world map go from the peripheral areas to the central regions.
Higher living standards, better security environments, and aging societies in the Nordic countries have a significant attractive impact on the populations of Asian, Latin American, and African countries. As migration and overpopulation also have significant literature, the authors omit a detailed explanation of the topic.
The best answers to the challenges of globalization could be found if they were formulated globally and based on global cooperation. Of course, the most advantageous solutions would be those that address the root causes of the challenges in the first place. However, there is currently little chance of this. Factories and cars continue to emit harmful substances, and TNCs that seek to maximize profits will continue to have their interests in mind and will not be the Sancho Panza of a fairer society. As one can see in the international political public life, countries' political leaders are in their best interests to deal with the situation created by global warming.
However, the situation is not so desperate. With strategic thinking and good situation analysis, the answers to the challenges of globalization can also be found. The renewal of international cooperation in the field of law enforcement needs to be prioritized.
For example, in the case of INTERPOL, the benefits of cyberspace created by the data revolution should be considered even more. More effective law enforcement training should be provided at global, continental, and regional levels. If international organizations perceive increasing profits from crime, trafficking in human beings, illegal drugs, and arms, then nation-states should also spend proportionately more on police research, training, and enforcement. By working together with a strong state and more effective NGOs, the effects of global threats lurking in globalisation can be eliminated and reduced.
It is now clear that the only answer to a global challenge can be a global solution. This also applies to the police. A supranational law enforcement organisation can provide answers to international law enforcement challenges, equipped with state-of-the-art technical and technological tools and methods.
International law enforcement cooperation requires a common working language spoken by the heads and officials of all states' police and law enforcement agencies. In some cases, language must be an obstacle to effective cooperation.
The current situation proves that we live in a continuously changing world, in which industrial-technological development has accelerated as a result of the data transfer revolution. Thanks to accelerated development, humanity has to face new sources of dangers and new challenges, which directly impact the actors of national and international law enforcement life. International law enforcement cooperation will also need to be renewed to address the new cross-border threats. Based on previous experience, law enforcement cooperation must focus on the below main tasks:
- operation of an efficient international risk analysis center;
- conducting international (multilingual) training to facilitate communication
- to establish and maintain direct contact between the law enforcement specialists to ensure rapid international cooperation;
- preparation of a multilingual law enforcement dictionary for professional cooperation;
- providing and operating common means of communication for the actors of international law enforcement.
The above can go a long way in enabling law enforcement to provide professional responses to global challenges and address law enforcement threats posed by global warming.
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 The number of tourists reached 1.5 billion in 2019 (UNWTO).
 Kábítószer és Kábítószer-függőség Európai Megfigyelő Központja, Európai kábítószer jelentés, https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/publications/11364/20191724_TDAT19001HUN_PDF.pdf (accessed: 15.8.2021), archive: https://perma.cc/93JC-6KAW.
 Sallai, J., A rendészet kihívásai napjainkban. ‛Hadtudomány’, 2015, vol. 1-2. pp. 135-138.
 Bernek Á., A globális világ politikai földrajza, Royal Press Hungary Kft., Budapest, 2005, p. 435.
 Nagy, L., NATO – Oroszország – Kína: stratégiai háromszög. ‛Felderítő Szemle’ 2010. vol. 3-4. p. 20.
 In this context, it is very noteworthy that in the People's Republic of China, there is a rule for school and other open-market maps that the Chinese equivalent of quite a few Siberian geographical names must also be indicated (in parentheses).
 Fekete, K. – Sallai, J., A rendészet globális, kontinentális, regionális és lokális kihívásai és válaszai napjainkban, ‛Létünk’, 2018. pp. 42-10.
 Kónya, Cs. Terrorizmus – biztonság a globalizáció tükrében. ‛Korunk’, 2005. vol. 8, pp. 1‑5.
 Cséfalvay, Z. Globalizáció 1.0, 2.0. Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó, Budapest, 2004, p. 312.
 Világgazdasági Kutatóintézet, A gazdasági biztonságot befolyásoló egyéb (soft) tényezők. A globális gazdaság és nemzetállamok közötti ellentmondások (nemzetbiztonság), Budapest, 2007, p. 9.
 Lukács, G. A külföldi tőke és az állami szuverenitás kapcsolata a globalizálódó világgazdaságban – elmélet és empíria. Ph.D. dissertation Budapest, 2003, p. 209.
 Földes Gy. – Inotai A., A globalizáció kihívásai és Magyarország, Napvilág Kiadó, Budapest, 2003, p. 403.
 Hegyaljai M., Az Europol új jogi alapja (conference presentation), Pécs, 2013.
 Fekete K. – Sallai J., A rendészet globális, kontinentális, regionális és lokális kihívásai és válaszai napjainkban, ‛Létünk’, 2018, pp. 42-10.
 R. Robert, The Work of Nations, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1991, p. 115.