Trope-a-Day: Space Police

Space Police: There isn’t any overall police service for the Associated Worlds – the closest thing is probably Conclave Security, which does answer directly to the Conclave of Galactic Polities, but whose jurisdiction is limited to just the Conclave Drift itself and its containing star system, and possibly the Operatives of the Presidium, who wield this kind of authority as one-off special agents.

In practice, every polity polices its own space, colonies, and the routes in between.  The Great Powers often augment this with various roving fleets, asserting universal jurisdiction over assorted free-space crimes (piracy and such, usually), providing a kind of rough-and-ready frontier law and order. The loose structure of the Accord on Uniform Security provides for limited extradition and limited cooperation between polities (and Warden-Bastion PPLs), provided that hostilities aren’t, that everyone agrees that whatever happened was in fact some sort of crime, and that everyone’s having a reasonably nice day.

Within polities, of course, situations and law enforcement structures vary.  The Empire, for example, doesn’t have a specific organization devoted to policing space.  In planetary orbit, or among clusters of drifts, the Watch Constabulary has the same jurisdiction it does planetside or within habitats, and in Imperial in-system space, the same as its rangers do in the wilderness – the specialized divisions which operate “outside” are called the Orbit Guard and the Stellar Guard, but functionally, they do not differ from the norm.  Major crimes in in-system space are handled by the Imperial Navy, but that’s functionally no different from the way that the Imperial Military Service planetside has generally been called upon to address riot, insurrection, and brigandage.

(In deep space, law enforcement is also provided by specialist units of the IN, simply because they’re the ones who can get there – and it’s outside all traditional borders anyway. And, of course, this excludes all private-conlegial/PPL bodies…)

Trope-a-Day: Sliding Scale of Law Enforcement

Sliding Scale of Law Enforcement: Standards vary acutely, depending on where in the Worlds you are.  The Empire’s Watch Constabulary and the PPLs signatory to the Warden-Bastion Compact occupy the idealistic end of the scale (well, one idealistic end of the scale, since they’re perfectly happy to shoot people who won’t surrender if they’re caught in the middle of their special crime) with their great, great respect for individual rights and people’s lack of guilt until formally convicted, willingness to wade in and help out, and generally go above and beyond.

The other end of the scale is, as usual, Nepscia and its fellow Wretched Hives – where “law enforcement” generally means “the biggest brute squad in the vicinity”.  Various more authoritarian states and less scrupulous PPLs occupy the wide, wide middle ground, here.

Public-Private Partnership

The degree of cooperation which you can expect to receive in the course of your work abroad will usually – not universally – be a function of the local government class.

Our most successful relationships are usually with the many private sovereignties of the Associated Worlds, large or small – the independent habitats and freesoil worlds.  We have made no secret of our national origins in the private-law providers that sprung up after the Drowning of the People, and while the historical processes that caused those PPLs to join together into first the Old Empires, then the Union of Empires, and finally the Empire have led to many changes, we still show the marks of our origin.  The Imperium Incorporate is still exactly that; the rights and obligations of, and the services provided to and fees paid by, our citizen-shareholders are matters of written and individually sealed contract; and in this way, we acknowledge that our sovereignty – our mandate – is delegated to us explicitly, and on an individual basis, by the people.

In short, it’s not too difficult for them to see us as the same type of organization.  Yes, by any standards, we are a hypertrophied PPL, having taken on other functions such as externality management and certain types of service provision; we are a monopoly within the majority of our service area; and so forth.  But we operate in the same essential paradigm, and we govern, inasmuch as we do govern, by the unanimous consent of our citizen-shareholders.

We treat them, moreover, with respect that most archist polities do not.  We are signatories to the inter-PPL Warden-Bastion Compact, and operate according to its strictures where their clients and our citizen-shareholders interact.  Quite simply, we take them seriously as sovereignties and peers, whether in individual negotiations or before the Conclave, or whether they are managed by PPL corporations operating across dozens of worlds and systems, or are a single habitat with a double-digit population, and are accorded courtesy and cooperation in return which those governments which only respect their fellow public-geopolitical sovereignties are not.

Our relationships with the aforesaid public sovereignties, conversely, are considerably more difficult, and for much the same reason.  Our national myth, incorporating both the fall of the korásan and the Drowning of the People, makes our opinion of public sovereignties of both the autocratic and democratic scholia clear, as do frequent public statements from organizational-engineering theorists examining the principles of contract and consent and libertist action groups alike.

And while we are not treated – by virtue of size and Great Power status – with the same degree of public disdain that the major public sovereignties reserve for the small private sovereignties, the Empire’s steadfast support for the principle of individual self-sovereignty and self-determination and consequent willingness to treat with private sovereignties – many of which have seceded from, or whose population is drawn from ex-citizens of, existing public-geopolitical sovereignties – further significantly impairs our ability to maintain cordial relations.

– excerpt from an early training lecture at the Ministry of State and Outlands