The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive. Pierre Claude, R. "Human Rights and Statistics". University of Pennsylvania Press The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state. A Dictionary of World History, Market House Books, Oxford University Press, 2000. The term "police state" was first used in 1851, in reference to the use of a national police force to maintain order, in Austria. Oxford English Dictionary, Third edition, January 2009; online version November 2010. In fact, even on a local level, the use of a police force to actively maintain order, outside of emergencies, was nearly unknown before this time. The first use of a state police force in the US, for example, was the very same year, 1865, where such a force was established in Massachusetts. http://books.google.com/books?id=M2NgAj4nFOwC&pg=PA406&lpg=PA406 Classification of a police state
The classification of a country or regime as a police state is usually contested and debated. Because of the pejorative connotation of the term, it is rare that a country will identify itself as a police state. There are several non-governmental organizations that publish and maintain assessments of the state of freedom in the world, according to their own various definitions of the term, and rank countries as being free, partly free, or unfree using various measures of freedom, including political...
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