WHAT IS COMMUNITY POLICING 1
What is CommunityPolicing
Community policing also known as community-led policing is a lawenforcement approach to crime and social disorder that focuses onbuilding trust between the police and members of the community (TheInternational Association of Chiefs of Police, 2015). It requiresthat the police adopt a proactive approach in addressing publicsafety concerns. Community policing is motivated by the shortage ofpersonnel facing many police departments across the country and whichgives room for crime to thrive (Fritsch,Liederbach, & Taylor, 2011)
Sir Robert Peel founded the concept of community policing. As amember of parliament in Britain, Robert Peel observed that thecountry was experiencing a surge in crime rates. Following thisobservation, Peel introduced the idea of the police partnering withmembers of the community to address the issue of the high rates ofcrime in their jurisdictions (Fitschet al., 2011). In community policing, problem-solving refers to thesystematic and proactive analysis of the identified issues toevaluate and develop effective responses. Regarding organizationaltransformations, community policing align the structure, informationsystems and the personnel of a specific law enforcement agency to besupportive to proactive problem solving and community partnerships(Office ofCommunity Oriented Policing Services, 2012). It alsoseeks to change the way the police departments are managed andorganized. It emphasizes on the shift from the traditional to themodern management practices that aims to increase efficiency andeffectiveness of the police. The modern police management approachincorporates community policing ideas throughout the departments byimplementing several critical changes in the culture, decision makingprocess, formal labor relations, accountability, transparency, andleadership oflaw enforcement agencies (Office of Community Oriented PolicingServices, 2012). Police leaders must endeavor to act asrole models in terms of building working relationship between theagencies they lead and the community they serve. They should usetheir positions to influence their juniors to support community-ledpolicing initiatives. In changing the culture, community-led policingseeks to adopt a proactive orientation to problem solving andpartnerships. Traditionally, police were viewed as the only crimefighting entities. This is one of the notions that community policingseeks to eliminate. Community-led policing differs from thetraditional policing approach because the former aims to betransparent with all issues involving crime. Transparency createsroom for greater information sharing between the police and thecommunity. Apart from transparency, community policing impacts themanagement of law enforcement agencies by demanding accountability onthe part of these organizations(Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 2012).
Community policing recognizes that the law enforcement agenciescannot guarantee public safety when working in isolation of thepeople and other institutions of the society. Other governmentagencies that are involved in community policing includes thelegislative bodies, parole and probation departments, prosecutors,child support services, and healthcare service providers, amongothers. However, the most essential player in community-led policingare the members of the public, and they include the informalcommunity leaders, commuters, activists, residents, visitors, andvolunteers. Community policing aims to bring together all thesegroups of people and engage them in matters regarding public safety(Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 2012).Private businesses play a major role in ensuring public safety in thecommunity where they operate. They can help in the identification ofproblems affecting the society. Also, private businesses may providethe resources needed in the implementation of community policinginitiatives. For example, they can offer their security technologiesto help in fighting crimes. The media is crucial in community-ledpolicing as it is a mechanism by which the police can convey itsmessages to the community.
The use of community policing approaches yields numerous benefits toboth the public and the law enforcement agencies. First, communitypolicing helps in building public trust and satisfaction with thepolice. This increases the likelihood of the citizens reportingincidences of crimes and social disorder to the police(Fritsch, et al., 2009). Additionally, communitypolicing reduces the fear of the police by members of the community.Traditionally, there has been a perception that when a person reportsa crime to the police, he/she becomes the first suspect. However,police-community corroborations seek to overcome this notion andencourage members of the public to share any information they mayhave concerning what is happening around them regardless of howtrivial or serious it is. Besides, research shows that communitypolicing reduces the fear of crime by the members of the public.According to Fritschet al., (2009), a large percentage of Americans areterrified by crimes such as mugging, robbery, rape, homicides, andburglary. However, police officers hardly encounter these crimes inthe course of their patrols. As such, the only way to bring to theattention of the police the occurrence of these offenses is byeliminating the boundary that exists between law enforcement agenciesand the police(Fritsch et al., 2009). On the other hand, policeofficers also benefit from their corroboration with the members ofthe public. First, community policing reduces the rate of crimeswithin the community. Besides, the cooperation between the police andthe community result in speedy resolution of crimes. Additionally,police officers feel appreciated in areas where community policinghas been implemented (Fritschet al., 2009).
In conclusion, community policing was initiated by Sir Robert Peel.It is a philosophy of policing that seeks to build trust andcooperation between the community and the law enforcement personnel.It brings together the different stakeholders such as the healthcareservice providers, probation and parole departments, businessfraternity, the community, the police, and the media. Some of theeffects of the implementation of community policing include adecrease in crimes and other social disorders in the society as wellas an increase in the public trust in the police.
`Fritsch, E.J., Liederbach, J., & Taylor, R. W. (2011). Policepatrol allocation and deployment.Pearson Prentice Hall
International Association of Chiefs of Police. (2015). IACP NationalPolicy Summit on Community-Police Relations: Advancing a culture ofCohesion and Trust. Accessed on November 10, 2016.http://www.iacp.org/Portals/0/documents/pdfs/CommunityPoliceRelationsSummitReport_web.pdf
Office ofCommunity Oriented Policing Services. (2012). “Community PolicingDefined.” Accessed on November 10, 2016.https://ric-zai-inc.com/Publications/cops-p157-pub.pdf