About Security Force Monitor

The Security Force Monitor works to make police, military and other security forces around the world more transparent and accountable.

Human rights researchers, journalists, advocates, litigators and others engaged in making security forces accountable face a common problem – a lack of clear, detailed information on those forces. Often, answering even simple questions can be difficult:

  • Who is in charge of the specialized anti-riot police unit?
  • What army unit has jurisdiction over what areas?
  • Where did this commander previously serve?
  • When was a particular police unit based in a specific city?

There is a vast amount of public information on security forces around the world, but it is unstructured and scattered among a wide variety of sources, making it prohibitively costly for those engaged in public interest work to understand the security forces of a particular country.

The Security Force Monitor aims to solve this problem and aid those working to make police, military and other security forces accountable. The Monitor analyzes and compiles public information to provide data on: the command hierarchy, location, areas of operation, commanders and the other linkages between units – all tracked through time. The Monitor’s mission and technical offerings have been developed to serve, and in consultation with, a wide range of civil society efforts.

To learn more about our journey, read “Why I started Security Force Monitor” by our founder and Director Tony Wilson. In this blog post he traces the development of Security Force Monitor from one-off research into Bahrain’s security structures, to a large-scale data collection initiative that aims to collect data on every human rights relevant security force.

The Security Force Monitor is a project of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.

The Monitor is supported by grants from Open Society Foundations and Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. Previous donors include: Charles Koch Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Oak Foundation.