Community Based Policing Strategies Criminology Essay

/Community based policing is an important police strategy imposed to create a better relationship between the police and the community. This paper describes the community based policing (CBP), gives the definition, explains how and why people need and use it. The work gives a detailed explanation of main CBP`s features. It also depicts its components and benefits which society obtains from this police-community cooperation. Fundamental principles the same as the importance and the role of CBP in modern society are also observed.

Community policing is probably the most misunderstood and often abused topic in police management during the past years. During the last few years, it has become popular for police agencies to create community policing, and very often with little understanding of what that phrase really means. It is true, that any kind of organizational tinkering has been called community policing. But in fact, community policing is not really a program.

Instead, community based policing is an important system which allows the police department, in which the main organizational goal is to work in cooperation with individuals, groups of citizens, and organizations in order to identify and resolve the issues which can effect the livability of some specific neighborhoods, areas, or the whole city. The departments of community based police understand that the police can’t effectively cope with such issues alone, and should partner with others who share the same responsibility for solving these problems. Community based policing helps the prevention, early identification, and necessary intervention in time to deal with issues before they become serious problems. Thus, the individual officers try to act as general-purpose practitioners, bringing government and private resources in order to achieve positive results. Officers spend considerable time and effort for developing personal relationships with citizens, businesses, different schools, and various community organizations. The main features of community policing are: beyond crime fighting a focus on livability, citizen involvement, geographic responsibility, long-term assignment, decentralized decision making, participative management, generalist officers, and police leadership on community issues, proactive policing and other.

Here is a description of some features of community based policing.

Beyond crime fighting a focus on livability. A lot of police departments and police officers determine their role as crime control. The law enforcement agency plays the main rile in it. But policing is certainly more than law enforcement. A big quantity of studies have proved that working with crime cases takes only 10-20% of the police workload. The officers of community based police departments are aware that “crook-catching” is only a small part of their work, and that they deal with a lot of other issues and problems every day day. Officers know that resolving problems with unruly people, who are drinking in the public place, trying to decrease truancy at school, controlling resources in order to make lighting in a park, and taking away needless vehicles from the streets, may all be the cases of police work, which affect the neighborhood conditions of life. This is the essence of the officers` work.

Citizen Involvement. The police department tries to involve citizens in its operations actively in different ways. Such volunteers as college interns or retired seniors are widely used. Police encourages and welcomes citizen patrols and crime prevention initiatives of people. The meetings of area commanders and members of the public are held often in order to solicit input and feedback. A lot of internal committees need public participation. The policy decisions usually involve opportunities for input from citizens, so the department has formal and informal mechanisms for this purpose. Citizens are included in promotional boards. The police departments use any opportunities to tell the public about their work, such as: web sites, town hall meetings, publications in newspapers and television and citizen police academies.

Geographic Responsibility. The basic division of work for the police is geographical. Officers have the work shift or functional division also. Commanders are divided according the geographical principle and are allowed to use their personnel and resources within that region. Individual officers take care of smaller geographical areas and feel like owning that area. Usually officers are familiar with a lot of people who live and work in the area, and know the area’s geography, churches, businesses and schools. Officers find detailed information about different police incidents which happened in their area of assignment when they didn’t work.

Long-term Assignment. Usually officers work for a long time in the same geographical area. The preferences of officers for areas are considered while making assignments. The changes of geographical assignments happen very rare.

Participative Management. The police department uses a lot of methods in order to involve employees at all levels of decision-making process. Issues of internal management are discussed at staff meetings, task forces, committees, task forces, quality circles, and so on. There are a lot of workplace initiatives that begin with ideas or concepts of line employees. Receiving input from frontline employees is understood as necessary part of any policy decision. There are comparatively few levels of rank in the department. Supervisors` roles are to provide support to field personnel by teaching, solving problems, coaching, obtaining resources, and doing other functions.

Generalist Officers. There is a domination of field officers to the sworn work force. Officers work with huge amount of police incidents, and follow them from beginning to the end. Specialization is only in the areas where it is necessary to have considerable expertise. Even when specialists are involved, they work in cooperation with field officers. Most specialists see their duty in offering technical expertise and help to field personnel.

Police Leadership on Community Issues. Senior police workers take an active part in community affairs. They often find out and discuss the issues of community concern. Police managers often pursue community issues as their personal causes. It is common for police officers to be leaders in community organizations.

Community based policies concepts and its benefits.

Community based policing have three main components:

1. Community partnership understands the value of bringing people into the public safety condition.

Problem solving identifies the concerns of community members are most important to their safety and well-being.

Change management recognizes that police department will have the change its organizational structure to force partnerships and implement problem-solving efforts

The main benefits of the community based policing are:

– The usage of the community’s resources effectively helps to use less of police resources.

– Citizens get a voice in defense and prioritize of their law enforcement needs. Public’s satisfaction with police services increases.

– Officers who find solutions to the problems of community also enjoy increased satisfaction from the job.

– Crime rate has decreased since the early 1990s. Police and government officers, who are involved in community based policing contribute to that decline.

At the same time, the department which establishes community based policing also gets its benefits:

1. The way to more efficiently and effectively use the resources of department;

2. The possibility to be more responsive to the community and respected by the public;

3. Access to better intelligence about criminal activities;

4. Better communications with public;

5. More support of Department programs from the community.

Fundamental Principles of Community-Based Policing

1. Policing by consent, not coercion.

2. The police act as part of a community.

3. The police and community work together in order to find out the needs of communities.

4. The police, citizens and different agencies work together in partnership and cooperation.

5. Adaptation the work of policing to fit community needs.

Community based policing is a philosophy (a way of thinking) and an organizational strategy (a means that can be used) which allow the police and community to cooperate together in different ways in order to solve problems of safety, crime and disorder in the society. It is based on two main elements, such as: making changes in methods and practice of the police and establishing a relationship between the police and the public.

The philosophy of community based policing is based on the belief that the public deserves an input into policing, and indeed, has a right to it. It also rests on the view that in order to find solutions to community problems, the police and the public must move beyond a focusing attention on individual incidents and crimes, and instead consider innovative ways of addressing community concerns.

The main point in the community-based policing is the recognition that the police are much more than mere crime fighters and can be public servants in other ways. The end purpose is the creation of a professional, accountable, and representative organization or institution which works in partnership with the public. These ‘peace officers’ are a service rather than a force, and an institution that only criminals need rightly fear.

Achieving these goals requires taking action at three levels: individual, institutional, and societal (Lindholt 2003). Even as the values of service and competency are imparted at the level of the individual officer, an appropriate management structure, capable of embedding and sustaining these values, must be created as well. Reform to the police alone, however, is insufficient; community support and assistance are also necessary to achieving the basic goals of the police. Community based policing, therefore, also encompasses strategies to reorient the public who, for frequently good reasons, have been leery and distrustful of the police. Building partnership relationships between the police and communities is a major challenge that confronts aspirant reformers, but thus far, international reform efforts have given little recognition to this challenge – not one of the mandates for UN missions mentions engagement with local communities as a reform priority.

The philosophy of community based policing asks of both the police and the public a leap of faith and a commitment to effect change. It is a complex process that requires contemporaneous action to be taken at multiple levels meaning that detailed strategic planning necessary to translate philosophy into practice within the police organization and among the public. A detailed plan has often proved lacking in internationally inspired police reform plans however. Beyond a rhetorical commitment to police reform there has been little sense of how to operationalize a reform process to achieve the changes sought.

Community Based Policing: More Than Just Law and Order

Policing is an activity that is not carried out in isolation. All the disparate aspects of policing that individual officers are called upon – from issuing parking tickets to thwarting crimes – impact and involve other institutions and processes. The workshop discussed how a community based police reform program fits in with, and can contribute significantly to advancing, a variety of security, social, and developmental objectives and agendas.

Community based policing and security sector reform

External actors pick and choose which parts of security sector reform (SSR) they carry out without necessarily seeing how these elements are linked and interrelated. Although at a policy level, the police are considered an integral element of the security sector, this synergy between the two is rare at the level of implementation.

For many donors, SSR remains a primarily military concern, deprioritizing policing. Policing is also sometimes in a different institutional ‘silo’, which presents an institutional barrier to actual coordination. Greater synergy between the reform processes towards the various institutions that make up the security sector would be beneficial.

Community-based policing, the rule of law, good governance, and human rights

To be effective police reform must link other criminal justice institutions. The entry point to the justice system and the part in closest contact with the public, a fair, competent, non-discriminatory, and respectful police is integral to upholding the rule of law. Along with courts and the correctional service, the police are an essential part of the ‘triad’ of institutions needed to make a justice system run effectively (Mani 2002). Experience suggests that positive impacts to one of this triad of institutions will be nullified without similar concentration on other institutions.

Community-based policing, development, and poverty reduction

Community based police reform can contribute to a wider poverty reduction strategy. Several donor agencies and governments have recognized the links between security, development, and poverty reduction. High levels of crime stifle development in any community – businesses become the victims of crime, commercial activities (including those of the informal sector) are interrupted, and outside investment leaves.

The poor and marginalized also suffer disproportionately from the effects of crime and violence. They lack adequate protection from corrupt or dysfunctional security institutions. The poor are also often marginalized when it comes to political or social structures and are likely to have very little influence over the policies and programs that affect their daily lives.

Community based policing, through its partnership approach, aims to ensure that the safety and security needs of all groups in a particular community are addressed. In this way, the police can facilitate all people’s access to justice, regardless of their social or economic status. Addressing local needs while effectively combating crime improves safety and security, and strengthens the conditions for development to take place.

Community based policing and stemming small arms proliferation

Controlling the accessibility and spreading of small arms and light weapons (SALW) is vital in the effort to increase community safety, the aim of community based policing. However, citizens will only be willing to hand over firearms in their possession if they perceive an improvement in society security and safety and if they have some kind of trust in the police and other security agencies. This is where community based policing can play an important role in amplification SALW initiatives. So, if there is mutual understanding, trust and a good working relationship between the police and the community, it will be much easier for the police to receive information about arms.

So, the community based policing is a kind of partnership between the police and the community, which involves sharing the delivery of some police services. It involves the strategy of problem oriented policing and uses different tactics, depending on the problem being solved. Some of the tactics which can be involved are: decentralization, shared responsibilities for community issues, community consultation, recent management concepts, various types of responses to calls for service, numerous crime prevention programs, proactive service delivery and other. Community based policing is an important and necessary part of community life, which has all prerequisites for further development and spread in society.

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