Transnational Policing, Security and Justice

Policing and security have become key priorities in regional, national and international politics and policy-making. At the same time, they are issues at the centre of polarizing political and public debate on the protection of justice, citizenship and human rights.
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor/Master, open to PhD staff and professionals
Recommended course combinationSession 1: International Criminal Justice
Session 3 
3 August July to 17 August 2019
Co-ordinating lecturerDr Yarin Eski, Dr Marijn Hoijtink
Other lecturerstba
Form(s) of tuitionLectures, seminars, excursions
Form(s) of assessmentA short written assignment (app. 1000-1500 words) in the form of a blog
ECTS        3 credits
Contact hours45
Tuition fee€1150
Advanced Bachelor’s and Master’s students, who have a keen and demonstrable interest in matters of transnational policing, security and justice. We encourage students from all disciplinary backgrounds to apply. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.

Course discussion questions include: How far can we take civilian surveillance in the fight against terrorism? How can we regulate illicit trade, in arms for example? Or could and should we ban the arms trade altogether? How can we hold the perpetrators of crimes accountable? And of course, just as important is the age-old and crucial question of “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” or “Who watches the watchmen?”

The social sciences fulfil a pivotal role in asking these and other challenging questions, and delivering critical perspectives and insights to policy-makers, practitioners and citizens, so that balanced policy decisions can be made. Shaping critical evidence-based policing and security policy starts in the classroom. This Summer School course in Transnational Policing, Security and Justice offers a varied, interdisciplinary programme based on insights from leading researchers and practitioners in the field. Using these insights, we will discuss current issues of radicalization, illicit trade, corruption, cyber security and the effects of policing and security policy on our communities, or on human rights and justice in general.

The city of Amsterdam (a cultural melting pot known for its open-mindedness) and the nearby city of The Hague (home to the International Criminal Court and Europol) are ideal locations for exploring these questions. The lecturers involved in the Summer School can draw on an extensive network of practitioners in the field of transnational policing and security and will invite guest speakers from Dutch and international public organizations (e.g. Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, Europol, Customs), non-governmental organizations (e.g. PAX, Small Arms Survey), the private sector (e.g. Schiphol Airport Security, G4S) and the world of journalism.

VU Amsterdam has a wealth of research expertise in the area of policing and security and offers a wide range of relevant Master’s programmes on these topics, including Law and Politics of International Security, International Crimes and Criminology, Political Science: International Relations and Transnational Governance, and Bestuurskunde: Besturen van de Veiligheid (in Dutch only). VU Amsterdam also offers an interdisciplinary minor on Peace and Conflict Studies.

The programme includes three excursions (to the offices of Europol in The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, and the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam), and one social activity (a canal tour in Amsterdam).
•  To enhance students’ critical understanding of the potential and limits of competing theoretical approaches to transnational policing, security and justice.
•  To familiarize students with specific problems in international and domestic security, including (cross-border) crime, port security and illicit trade, arms trade, radicalization, terrorism, private security, accountability, justice and human rights.
•  To teach students to apply the ideas and concepts covered in the course in order to develop a critical analysis of transnational policing and security and the way in which they are governed.
•  To stimulate active class debate, interaction and exchange of skills.
•  To present findings persuasively in the form of a blog.
•  To discover and explore practitioners’ views, and make the most of networking opportunities and cultural experiences.

A selection of articles, to be provided by the course coordinators at least two weeks prior to the start of the course. Students who would like to prepare for the course are encouraged to read the following textbook: Bowling, B. and Sheptycki, J. (2012) Global Policing. London: Sage.
Students are asked to write a 400-500 word motivation letter in advance, elaborating on their interest in the topics. Students are also encouraged to submit specific questions they would like to discuss during this Summer School course. This helps us integrate the backgrounds and questions of students into the course, to create a more customized programme.


Dr Yarin Eski is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Security and Social Resilience Knowledge Hub (KVV) of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He previously worked as a senior lecturer in policing studies at Liverpool John Moores University and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the United Kingdom. Yarin is the author of the book Policing, Port Security and Crime Control (Routledge 2016). His other publications include theoretical and empirical work on (maritime) security, ethnography, professional identities, socio-cultural aspects of policing, the use of force and accountability, biography, the arms trade, illegal drug trafficking, corruption, undermining democracy, genocide and existentialism. He is currently working on A Criminological Biography of an Arms Trader (Routledge forthcoming 2018) and an edited volume on Genocide and Victimology (Routledge forthcoming 2019).

“Taught in the vibrant city of Amsterdam, this Summer School course enables students to advance their knowledge of 21st-century security and policing challenges. Renowned international scholars share their specialist expertise and critical knowledge, supplemented by domestic and foreign practitioners’ perspectives and practices. The course includes visits to relevant local sites of transnational policing, security and justice.”

Dr Marijn Hoijtink is an Assistant Professor in International Relations at VU Amsterdam. Her work focuses on security, war, militarism and the role of technology. Her most recent project, funded by an NWO Veni grant, studies advances in artificial intelligence and robotics in warfare and the ways in which decisions are taken by engineers in the design process on issues such as who can be killed, when and to what effect. Marijn Hoijtink coordinates and teaches on the LLM Law and Politics of International Security. She is also the coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies minor at VU Amsterdam.

“This Summer School course is a unique opportunity to study a range of pressing and contemporary issues in the field of security and policing from an interdisciplinary perspective. The programme is taught by leading scholars in the field, assisted by a variety of high-level practitioners.”

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