What is Community Policing?

Community Policing (CoP) is the interaction between the police and the community. This strategy of policing focuses on taking into account the community's opinion on security and public order in the particular area. Community Policing is the constant interaction between the police, the public and local authorities with a view to providing a common safe environment.

What are the principles of cooperation between police and community?

Community Policing is an approach in the daily work of the police based on the following principles of continuous communication:

  • Police and the local community share responsibility for security.
  • Police respond to local needs and requirements defined by the community.
  • Interaction and communication between the population and the police are effective.
  • Individual approach to solving local problems in cooperation with the population and responsible authorities is applied.
  • Cooperation is aimed at preventing offenses and elaborating a joint preventive action plan.

CoP is not an isolated program or a separate police department. It’s an approach in the daily work of the police!

Why does the community need Community Policing?

The need for security is one of the basic human needs, and the cooperation between the police and the community is the best way to ensure it. This approach is based on the interaction between the community, the police and the local authorities as all of them share responsibility for security in a particular area.

How do the specific members of the specific community benefit from the Community Policing?

  • They will be able to report to the police on the security problems and seek solutions to overcome them jointly with the police.
  • The local police will take into account the public opinion on security issues when planning their work. The local security programs will be formed based on this information.
  • The launch of innovative platforms to communicate with the public (online platforms, crime mapping, thematic meetings, joint initiatives, etc.) will help the residents to promptly get a feedback on their applications and deal with the security issues more effectively.
  • The people's level of awareness about the actions, role, rights and responsibilities of the police will rise due to closer communication and interaction between the population and the police.
  • Focus on the causes of crime will allow preventing them.
  • The community will be able to monitor the activities of the police, receive up-to-date information about the security situation in their place of residence.
  • The work of the police will be assessed against the efficiency of solving the security problems identified by the population. At the same time, the work of the police will be assessed by the representatives of the community, local authorities and independent experts.

Guided by the principle "good neighbors protect better than fence", people are always willing to live in the safer environment, i.e. where the Community Policing operates efficiently. Among other things, the dwellings in safe environment become profitable investments for their owners. The development of the cooperation between police and community makes for the safe area/village/city.

Why do the local authorities need Community Policing?

Responsible local authorities are always interested in ensuring the maintenance of the law and order in their territory. After all, the level of security in the community has the impact on the well-being of people, the safety of people depends on the quick and effective response to crimes, and the proper preventive measures result in a smaller number of offenses and crimes in the future.

Should only the law enforcement agencies deal with these issues? Definitely, they should not. Security in cities, towns and villages is a shared responsibility of the police, local authorities and residents.

Can people and local authorities help the police? Of course, they can!

  • Local authorities are responsible for ensuring well-being of people, illuminating the streets when it’s dark outside, repairing the roads and pedestrian paths, dilapidated building, etc. That is why their role in the development of Community Policing is very important.
  • Community Policing allows to focus the police activities on the important security aspects for the population (e.g. drug addiction, apartment theft, etc.) and agree on how to best deal with them.
  • Local authorities in cooperation with residents can identify the dangerous areas in a city, town or village and better understand the security needs.
  • Local authorities can respond to people's demands to enhance the security by specific actions and thereby raise the level of people’s trust.
  • Local authorities can define the priorities for the development of a city (territory) that are important for the population and provide an effective action plan for achieving the objectives.
  • A safe area is more attractive for investment projects, which could be used to attract the external resources to develop the cities, towns and villages.
  • The safer a city or a village is, the more comfortable it is for tourists, who will provide additional income for the community.

An example of interaction between the local authorities and the police: Representatives of the urban development department arrange joint patrols with the police to detect and stop the illegal trade. The municipal voluntary people's patrol monitors and maintains the order in the city center and helps in case of need to block the traffic during mass events. If the people's patrol witnesses an offense, they call the patrol police officers.

Why do the police need Community Policing?

Police officers are part of the community they serve to defend. People hope the police will be able to punish their offenders.

The quality of work of the police can be judged by the effectiveness of solving the security problems in a particular area.

Modern police are guided in their work by the needs of the local community.

The Law of Ukraine "On the National Police" stipulates the need for cooperation between the police and the population on the basis of partnership. Why were these norms adopted and why should the police develop their interaction with the community?

  • The involvement of people (i.e. in joint patrolling, monitoring the territory and timely informing of patrol police officers) helps the police to prevent offenses more effectively. As a result, the need for response to committed offenses and investigating will be rare.
  • The collaboration with the proactive residents helps to win community engagement and build trust between police officers and residents.
  • Solving the problems, which bother the community, contributes to the formation of a positive image of the police.
  • In cooperation with the community, the police have the opportunity to raise awareness of local residents about their work (i.e. about the limits of competence of the police or alternative ways of solving problems). This will further reduce the burden on patrol police.

Which countries have already adopted Community Policing?

CoP is an integral part of the daily work of the police in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Many countries have adopted the practice of neighborhood watch, when the residents of a cottage town or a section of a multistory building patrol their locality in shifts. For example, they may keep an eye on the parked cars or playgrounds near the house. If the residents notice something suspicious or dangerous, they call the police (911 (102) or a special direct telephone number).

Ukraine now implements the Police and Community Program of the IREX international organization. Thematic meetings of police officers and community members are held in the premises of libraries or other organizations. Such meetings allow the community to understand the powers of the police and ask them any questions, even those that do not relate to their service. Such an approach develops closer ties between the community and the police officers.

© 2017 All rights reserved.
This site is created and operated with the support of the International Foundation Vidrodzhennia. The site is administered by the Human Rights Information Center.
WARNING! This site performs the informational and educational function. The site is not an analogue of the service "102" and does not fulfill the function of prompt response.