Future Of Community Policing Essay

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It will then look at how community policing is defined and examine the theories and principles that underpin it.

This section will also outline how community policing is put into practice by examining both specific types of community policing initiatives as well as various case-studies of jurisdictions that have adopted community policing and/or implemented different components of a general community policing framework.

For example, a 1997 survey conducted by the Police Foundation in the United States found that 85 per cent of police departments reported having adopted community policing or were in the process of doing so (Skogan, 2004).

A more recent federal survey, with a much larger sample of American police departments (in cities with populations over 250,000) found that over 90 per cent of police services had full-time, trained community police officers in the field (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2004).

It has also been recognized that curbing disorder, fighting crime, and increasing feelings of personal safety requires commitment from both the police and the public.

Eggers and O’Leary (1995) note that the public surrendered its role in controlling crime in the 1960s and increasingly relied upon the police to do the job.Practitioners agree that there is, and has been, a pressing need for innovative practices within policing to help curb what some would consider a “crisis of violence” within many communities.The changing nature and elevated level of crime seen throughout Western nations in the 1970s, 1980s, and into the early 1990s caused police to seek more effective methods to curb disorder and control crime.In addition to the traditional forms of policing outlined in previous sections of this report, a reemergence of so called “community policing” and community policing initiatives has become widespread across Canada as well as many other nations.Generally, community policing is marked by a move away from centralized police departments that practice reactive policing, to more decentralized police structures that emphasize a proactive, problem-solving approach where the police work in close partnership with the communities they serve. Indeed, few police services or elected officials wish to distance themselves from the rhetoric of community policing or community policing initiatives.During the course of their work, the police interact with the communities that they serve in various ways.The community is reliant upon the police to curb disorder and help in times of emergency.More alarmingly, there is growing concern that perceived injustice itself causes criminal behaviour, which is counter-productive to the aims of policing (Tyler, 1990; Lafree, 1998).Several scholars have drawn a connection between perceived legitimacy of the police and criminal offending.Without confidence in the police, citizens become alienated and reluctant to cooperate with the police as witnesses, victims, or suspects.Such a situation thwarts the efforts of the police to control crime and maintain social order (Decker, 1980; Murty et al., 1990).

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