This study introduces a new type of oversight in civil-military and executive-legislative relations: community policing. Building on principal-agent theory, this type of oversight emphasises trust rather than confrontation. To illustrate how community policing functions, the study examines how legislative oversight of military affairs operates in Belgium and New Zealand. Legislative defence committees in both countries rely on trust when overseeing the executive's handling of defence affairs. This allows these committees to perform their oversight function at low cost in terms of time and effort, but with a high degree of access to information. Community policing therefore combines the strengths of recognised 'police patrol' and 'fire alarm' oversight, while avoiding their respective weaknesses. However, since it relies on a higher degree of trust and cooperation between the principal and agent, community policing is inherently fragile.

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European Journal of International Security
Norman Paterson School of International Affairs

Lagassé, P, & Saideman, S.M. (2019). When civilian control is civil: Parliamentary oversight of the military in Belgium and New Zealand. European Journal of International Security, 4(1), 20–40. doi:10.1017/eis.2018.17