- June 13, 2020
Benefits of Adopting Community Policing Strategies in Strengthening Relationships between Citizens and Police Officers
Benefitsof Adopting Community Policing Strategies in StrengtheningRelationships between Citizens and Police Officers
Humanbeings are social animals whose survival since the dawn of time hasalways depended on their social interactions. From the smallest unit,family to the society, man has always lived and interacted with hisfellow man. However, for members within to co-exist peacefully, theyhad to come up with rules of conduct that directed how they wouldrelate with each other and with the society at large. These rulesdirect conduct by prescribing what is right or wrong and what islegal or illegal. To ensure that the laws are followed, societydeveloped a social contract. The social contract establishedinstitutions that would lead and protect the people and in turn thepeople would follow the rules prescribed by society. Failure tofollow these laws would lead to punishment by any member by theleaders (Cordner.,2014).These institutions have over time evolved and have become morespecialized in their roles in society. One of the best examples isthe criminal law justice system. This institution has the role ofidentifying deviant acts that are considered criminal by the society,prevention of the commission of these acts and finally punishing theoffenders. It is comprised of several institutions namely thecourts, the police, and judicial officers.
Benefitsof Adopting Community Policing Strategies
Thepolice sector is an institution in the society established by toenforce the laws and order of the state. The police institution alsoprotects the citizens from criminals and helps to protect property.However, the most predominant role of the police is law enforcementand preservation of order in the society. The institution is thus animportant component of the criminal justice system. This is becauseof the multiple roles that it plays in the society. In lawenforcement, the police are mandated with crime prevention andenforcing laws. After the commission of a crime (breaking of somelaws), the police are expected to investigate the crime, arrest theculprits and finally present them before a court of law. The role ofthe police, therefore, cannot be underestimated. Therefore, thepolice sector plays a vital role in the society, and its success andfailure depend on the effects the police have on the society (Wu,Y., Jiang, S., & Lambert, E., 2011).
However,in most cases, the police institution has failed in its mandate inthe community. In recent times, there have been cases of corruptionamong police and rising cases of police brutality. These and manyother weaknesses in our police force have resulted in strainedrelationships between the police as an institution and the community.Consequently, it has led to tensions that sometimes escalate intochaos which is against the reason why the police sector wasestablished. Lack of trust between the police and the community hasserious negative implications, especially for their functions. For asociety to succeed there must be harmony between its ranks andbetween the various institutions within. Law and order is a majorcomponent, and it is a role shared by all the members of society. Itis for this reason that the police should work together with thecommunity (Palmiotto,M. J., 2011).
Thisconcept of community policing aims to bring the community and policetogether in an attempt to promote law and order in the society. Itmeans that the police become a part of the community and at the sametime gives members of the society more control to police theirresidences. Community policing is democracy in action as the policeand the community work together to achieve a safer and bettercommunity to live. Community policing incorporates the followingaspects (Wu,Y., Jiang, S., & Lambert, E., 2011).
Crime Prevention: The emphasis of community policing is to stop the occurrence of crime. This can be accomplished in a number ways. Firstly, members can provide information to the police about a plan to commit a crime by another member of the society. They can also provide information that can lead to the capture and arrest of a wanted criminal. Similarly, the police can also teach members on ways of protecting detecting and reporting the crime before it happens.
Law Enforcement: The police in fulfilling their roles have the power to arrest a person who is suspected of committing a crime or someone who commits a crime in their vicinity. Community policing also allows members of the society to make "citizen arrests" to either prevent a commission of a crime or when a crime is committed in their vicinity (Palmiotto, M. J., 2011).
Communitypolicing has become a very important aspect of police institutionsand in law enforcement. It has helped the police to learn whatmembers of the society require from them as an institution. This hashelped ease the tension between the police and the people as it helpsreduce cases of police brutality. The improvement in police-communityrelations goes a long way to not only reduce police brutality butalso violence against the police.
Itis also an important tool for promoting public safety. It helpsbroaden the goals of the police force from the traditionalisolationist policy whereby the police were viewed as an outside unitwhich only got involved when a crime was committed or when there wasa public disturbance. Community policing has helped kill this myth byallowing the police to be an integral part of the society. Theprogram promotes active participation by the police in the society.They become involved in communal projects like games and runningcampaigns against drugs and dangerous weapons among others(Palmiotto,M. J., 2011).This close relationship helps the police build close ties withmembers of the society. This helps in the dissemination ofinformation that may help to not only prevent crime but also learnthe underlying causes of crime in the society (Schulhofer,S. J., Tyler, T. R., & Huq, A. Z., 2011).
Italso increases the resources available to the police. The partnershipwith the community makes research easy as the police can easily getthe required information. Through these studies, the police can learnthe best tactics to utilize in combating crime. They similarly revealthe root causes of crimes and the best methods to help stop them. Forexample, if the police can learn why there are increased gang-relatedactivities in an area, this information can assist them in combatgang-related crimes by rooting out the source (Cordner.,2014).
Theadvantages and benefits of community policing far outweigh anydisadvantages. Having the community as a tenet of the policeinstitution can help the police in their roles. The functions of lawenforcement in any given society are law enforcement, crimeprevention and maintaining public order. The police are theembodiment of all these roles, but they cannot function in isolation.Both the police and the community have to work together to be able tocombat crime in the society. It will only work if both parties becomepartners and not adversaries. They must accept and work together ifthe program is to become a success.
Cordner,G. (2014). Community policing. TheOxford handbook of police and policing,148-171.
Schulhofer,S. J., Tyler, T. R., & Huq, A. Z. (2011). American policing at acrossroads: Unsustainable policies and the procedural justicealternative. TheJournal of Criminal Law and Criminology,335-374.
Palmiotto,M. J. (2011). Communitypolicing: A police-citizen partnership.Routledge.
Wu,Y., Jiang, S., & Lambert, E. (2011). Citizen support forcommunity policing in China. Policing:An International Journal of Police Strategies &Management, 34(2),285-303.