How Community Policing Enables The Development of Community in Terms of Having Social Order and Crime Reduction?

INTRODUCTION

This research examines how community policing enables the development of community in terms of having social order and crime reduction. One rationale for public involvement is the belief that police alone can neither create nor maintain safe communities , thus a need for the whole community in maintaining social order and putting crime reduction strategies to create a safe environment for people to operate.

First, one may ask a question of this kind; how can a democratic country, while governing itself, provide freedoms for the citizens and at the same time allow the police to enforce the laws of that country? The answer depends on what role such a country would like to see the police perform. Hopefully the police will be able to uphold law and order while respecting the rights of individuals at the same time. It is at this level that community power is displayed through the social, political and economical activities of a group of people that have common goals. When we govern ourselves, we should also agree to police ourselves appropriately .This demonstrates who should be responsible in policing issues and of what significance will it lay to the entire community.

Methodology

This research will be based on a critical analysis and discussion entirely on data of secondary resource based on reading books from authors and writers who have studied and written extensively on how social order and crime reduction are achieved through the philosophy known as community policing, in addition, use of electronic sources such as websites, online reports and the researchers experience on the related field will be of paramount importance to the research topic.

Definitions

Community policing

The definition states that community policing is a context which promotes proactive policing by a working partnership and relationship between the wider community and the police aiming at crime reduction even fear of crime and improving the safety of community. In addition, it also aims on assisting in the provision of resolutions for other community issues (Brown, 1992). Sir Robert Peel said it best in 1829; “The police are the public and the public are the police, the police being the only members of the public paid to give full time attention to what are incumbent on every citizen” .

According to Friedmann (1992:4) defines Community policing as a policy and a strategy aimed at achieving more effective and efficient crime control, reduced fear of crime, improved quality of life, improved police services and police legitimacy, through a proactive reliance on community resources that seeks to change crime causing conditions. This assumes a need for greater accountability of police, greater public share in decision making, and greater concern for civil rights and liberties. According to (Segrave and Ratcliffe 2004), Community policing recognizes that community members can work together with law enforcement agencies and play an active role in reducing local crime.

Community policing consists of three elements. Those are community partnership, organizational transformation and problem solving. The elements work together to ensure the policing process to be effective Community policing builds on fundamental policing practices with an emphasis on crime prevention and lasting solutions to problems. It requires new commitment from citizens and new thinking from police officers; these three elements are explained below;

Community Partnerships: Community partnerships recognize the value of bringing people back into the policing process. All elements of society must pull together as never before to deal effectively with the unacceptable level of crime claiming America’s neighborhoods.

Organizational transformation: This requires recognizing that forging community-policing partnerships and implementing problem-solving activities will change the organizational structure of policing. Properly managed change involves recognizing the need for change, communicating a clear vision that change is possible, identifying the concrete steps needed for positive change to occur, developing an understanding of the benefits of change, and creating an organization-wide commitment to change.

Problem Solving: Once priority concerns have been identified, problem solving involves analyzing information about the problem to find out who is being victimized and how, when and exactly where the problems occur and what environmental (or other) conditions make it easy for the crime to occur. Once the nature of the problem is better understood, tailor-made solutions are jointly developed and implemented by police and community members. They also work together to define success and measure the impact of their efforts.

PROBLEM SOLVING MODEL (S.A.R.A.)

SCANNING – Scanning involves identifying neighbourhood crime and disorder problems

ANALYSIS – Analysis creates an understanding of the conditions that cause problems

RESPONDING – Response develops and implements solutions to the problem based on the analysis

ASSESSING – Assessment determines the impact of the response on the problem and, if necessary, develops ways to improve the response

Community policing represent an acceptance which the community has a vital and crucial role to place in having a successful resolution of social order and crime problems, and such partnerships with the community can be much more efficient. According to (Murphy 1993, p, 20-21) also argues that the community is viewed as a resource, a support group and an information source rather than as an authoritative body.

Historical background of community policing

At first, before community policing was initiated traditionally, the Police had to wait around passively for crimes to occur and only react to urgent calls for services, or to respond for complaints from victims or witness.

The movement toward community oriented policing has gained momentum in recent years as police and community leaders search for more effective ways to promote public safety as well as enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods. The roots of community oriented policing come from the history of policing itself. Modern law enforcement began in England with the formation of the London Metropolitan Police District in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel. The new police force was created to address the soaring crime rates in Great Britain’s capital. Peel, the first chief of the police force, is credited with developing several innovations that are still practiced today.

Sir Robert Peel’s cornerstone of community policing was that, the “police are the public and the public are the police”. His “Bobbies” were geographically located and become known to the public thereby creating a trust and recognition that the citizens would then report criminal activity to them. Sir Peel’s ideas served as a model of all modern English and American police forces. His principals included the use of crime rates to determine how effective the police were, the importance of being centrally located, public accessibility to the police headquarters, value in proper recruiting, and training (Patterson, Jeffrey, Learning Lessons of History, p.2) Not only in English and American police but even other interested countries have imitated the same idea of community policing that is viewed of great importance in terms of dealing with crime, examples are Rwanda, Ghana, south Africa, Kenya, Uganda among many others.

The main focus is community involvement in combating crime and disorder. Peak and Glens (1996:46-47), regarded community policing as an excellent opportunity for the government and the police to attend to the needs of their “customers” in society. The fact that customer satisfaction has become such an important part of business and industrial settings may be partly the reason for this movement in government and police services .

Community development is a skilled process and part of its approach is the belief that communities cannot be helped unless they themselves agree to this process. Community development has to look both ways: not only at how the community is working at the grass roots, but also at how responsive key institutions are to the needs of local communities . This emphasizes community involvement in maintaining social order and crime reduction.

In addition to the above said, social order is a concept used in sociology, history and other social sciences. It refers to a set of linked social structures, social institutions and social practices which conserve, maintain and enforce “normal” ways of relating and behaving .

Whereas crime reduction is a consultative, research-based approach to reducing crime by focusing both on the police and the community in general on the underlying cause of crime and dealing with already committed crimes. The prevention and detection of crimes are rightly core function within any Police Force. However they should not be seen as being the responsibility of the Police alone. Every one has a role to play and we can all do our bit to minimize the possibility of becoming a victim of crime . This may be summed up in a say that, the society is the victim of crime, home for criminals, the hideout of crime, and the solution to all.

The listed are functions performed by Community Policing; Responding to crime and emergencies; Maintaining public order; Tackling anti-social behaviors; Gathering intelligence; assisting people in need; Maintaining safety in the community; Being accessible to the public; Provide quality service; Interact with the public. Solve problems; organizing public forums to sensitize people on anti-social behaviors such as crimes among many others.

HOW COMMUNITY POLICING WORKS

ACTIVE COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT As the police and community become partners to address the problems of disorder, community policing places a greater emphasis on crime prevention. As the partnership strengthens, community policing can address the root causes of crime.

POLICING GOALS

Community policing recognizes that community involvement gives new dimension to crime control activities. While police continue to handle crime fighting and law enforcement responsibilities, the police and community work together to modify conditions that encourage criminal behavior.

MUTUAL TRUST

The establishment and maintenance of mutual trust is the central goal of community partnership. Trust will give police greater access to valuable information that can lead to solving and preventing crimes. Building trust will require an ongoing effort, but it is essential to effective community policing.

LONG-TERM COMMITMENT Community policing does not offer a quick fix. It requires a long-term commitment by police to work with community members to reach mutually acceptable goals in dealing with the arising problems

If the community is involved with the police, it will begin to demonstrate a communality of interest and belongingness, ensuring a sense of ownership and pride. Once citizens sense that they have control of their own destiny, positive change will occur. Community Policing will encourage citizens to work together to increase safety and security of their communities. Likewise, relationship with the youth, senior citizens, cultural, ethnic or religious organizations and government agencies will be enhanced. Community policing will change negative factors such as hostility, prejudice, apathy and ignorance to the positive co-operate image that will portray the service as sympathetic, accommodating, interesting and knowledgeable

In line with this research, (David L. Carter, 2002) shows that, the crime problem is extremely complicated no single community forces, not even the police has the total answer. Police community relations activity assumes a problem solving character, with crime and quality of life issues as the problems. The primary purpose in the community participation approach should be to solve hard problems, to improve the quality of police service in order to serve them better.

With respect to maintaining social order and reducing crime, this can be achieved through Crime prevention which is everyone’s responsibility. There is no way that the police and security organs for that matter can hope to successfully reduce crime without the full support of the community. The strategic direction of the Police should therefore be based upon the concept and philosophy of community policing. This involves increasing the partnership linkages between the police, the various stakeholders (NGO’s) and other members of the community. If there is limited or no community support, communities would only be able to deal with the symptoms of the problems and not adequately address the underlying cause of the problem.

The role of Community in crime prevention is exchanging information timely to the police, efficiently and regular reporting of criminal incidences. Research shows that involving the community in decision making process can help change people mindsets leading to positive results in maintaining social order and reducing crime. Therefore, it’s vital for citizen’s involvement in national security through national security programs by providing quick and first hand information to the Police, other security organs and administrative organs about anything that can help to maintain the peace and security that all people are opted to enjoy.

When carrying out community policing, the Police are finding that, in addition to bringing them closer to the people, community policing offers numerous other benefits. Making effective use of the talents and resources available within Communities helps extend severely strained police resources. As police interaction with the community becomes more positive, productive partnerships are formed. This may lead to greater satisfaction with police services and increased job satisfaction among police officers. Reduced levels of crime allow more police resources to be allocated to services that have the greatest impact on the quality of community life.

According to ( Michael D. Lyman,2004) Crime prevention efforts often result in homeowners installing security related devices in their homes, putting lights up in dark streets, clearing away bushes that may hide criminals and notifying police of suspicious circumstances, identifying criminal collaborators observed in their neighborhoods and by use of informants in the community, the police are able to locate suspects and hideouts of criminals.

In the concept of Community policing, citizens are able to gather information about neighborhood criminality in quite systematic, organized and detailed manner. If such information is supplied to police services through police liaison officers and use of hotlines can help in identifying criminal acts as well as getting information through community neighborhood patrols. It’s evident that through community participation, neighborhood watch programs and night patrols are set up with the aim of watching out for any security threat or disturbance to public order. Therefore, Problem oriented policing partners with pre- identified specific partners in dealing with crime while community policing brings the community in general.

Countries that use community policing, identify problems of crime and disorder by involving all elements of the community in the search for solutions to these problems. It is founded on close, mutually beneficial ties between police and community members .

Achieving less crime is thus interchangeably referred to as preventing or reducing crime, or realizing community safety. The relationship between crime reduction and community safety is not straightforward. Safety is not compromised by crime only, so crime reduction, however successful, cannot by itself achieve community safety ( Tim Newburn, 2008 ), it’s better to look beyond strategies of policing and tackle real causes of crime in the society by engaging the community and this can only be achieved by initiating community policing in all communities so that people own their security.

Community policing in Rwanda.

As community policing has been adopted in English, American countries and other world, dealing with crime comprises a range of activities which cannot be performed by the police alone, but collaboration with different institutions including the citizen oriented policing in order to achieve the effectiveness of policing, that’s why in Rwanda, community policing committees were approved in the ministerial decree No 02/10/2007 that gives guidelines for Community policing committees that are made of citizens who live within the community, elected by the community people in order to participate in policing activities and to gain sense of belonging to their security in collaboration with other government institution assigned with security matters.

Community policing is exercised by partnership between the following, Rwanda National police, Rwanda defense force, local administration authorities, REMA,RBS(Rwanda Bureau of Standards) BTC (Belgium Technical Cooperation),RDB(Rwanda Development Board) National Security Intelligence Service, Local defense force, HAGURUKA, MIGEPROF, Transparency Rwanda, Ombudsman Office, Hospitals, Community policing Committees, Religious leaders, Private security companies and all other interested stakeholders in dealing with crime through:

Reporting all incidents occurred in the community to the liaison police officer, use of police emergency hotlines like 112, 3512( for Domestic violence cases),3511(any crime information among others).
Protection of the scene of crime to avoid crime scene contamination
Help the police to identify and locate the suspects, through community patrol (IRONDO), Unacceptable behavior is recorded and passed up the hierarchy to the police. These partnerships will help to ensure a strong state through social penetration, and also act to relieve the caseload of the police force.
Educating people how to claim their rights,
Teaching the citizens the manner of fighting against criminality and the consequences of the offences.

On 28TH September 2011, During a 460 CPC members who recently underwent a civic education course at Nkumba, in Burera District, The IGP Emmanuel K.GASANA, emphasized that giving the information on time is important in Police’s efforts to reduce and prevent crime in the following words, “Policing is a partnership and your role in this partnership is paramount because thieves, drug dealers and other criminals live within your communities,” It is, therefore, important that you share information about their activities with police so that crimes are prevented”. He further urged the participants to master the art of effectively communicating crimes, by including the what, who, where, when, why and how factors while reporting cases. “You should not allow anyone to undermine the country’s culture, development plans and socio economic welfare prospects,” IGP said, adding that this can only be done through ensuring security. “. This strengthens how significant the community is as far as security issues and development of the community are concerned.

However dealing with crime by involving the community has been successful in crime reduction but still challenges emerge resulting during crime reporting. The widespread charge is Public apathy, particularly when the subject is a crime and involvement with the law, this end up people not reporting crimes committed in their neighborhoods. Secondly, is fear of retaliation which is one of the reasons frequently mentioned by community members, thirdly is lack of communication and coordination facilities at low levels of administration, and last but not least are social and economical factors.

According to Segrave and Ratcliffe (2004) three continuing challenges remaining for community policing implementation: building community partnerships, which in are often more challenging to develop than police perceive; making community policing an integrated approach to policing with other complementary policing strategies (e.g. problem-oriented policing and intelligence-led policing); and the need to strengthen research into community policing strategies to determine its effectiveness as a policing tool.

Overall, the challenges in implementing community policing vary from nation to nation. Law enforcement agencies should not expect immediate results from implementing new community policing initiatives. Community policing requires significant financial and organizational investment, and agencies wishing to implement such practices should base actions on proven successful methods and only if they are able to be adapted to suit the local context (Brogden 2004, p. 649).

Community-Based Policing can be cement for security and development. A Police Force supported by the community and capable of arresting insecurity can have a far-reaching impact in enabling a lasting economic, social and political development. However, as international efforts have so far indicated, reforming a Police organization, re-orienting their shoddy public image and improving their service delivery, means facing daunting political, financial, logistical and historical obstacles

RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION

To be effective community policing needs a democratic environment to flourish in. This can only happen if the community and the police form a partnership of equality. They must also learn to trust each other with the understanding that whatever the one does will also be in the best interest of the other . States are obliged to overcome social, economical and political needs that hinder community participation in maintain social order and fighting crimes if community development is put under consideration.

Therefore this research has tried to discuss how community policing is of paramount importance in enabling community development in terms of social order and crime reduction as it is the only better way to address the concerns and problems of communities, because it is decentralized, proactive, and deals with crime prevention and the fear of crime. Horowitz (1995:87) wrote that “To rid poor urban neighborhoods of their criminal element, public officials at all levels must encourage the creation of new relationships between low-income resident organizations and local police forces.” Sparrow (1988:1) as community policing concept “perceives the community as an agent and partner in promoting security rather than as a passive audience.”

REFERENCE

1. Brown, L. 1992. Community Policing Guidebook, Police Department, City of New York.

2. Swilling, & Boya, 1994. Local Transition and the challenge of Sustainable Development: The Greater Johannesburg Case.

3. Tim Newburn, 2008, handbook of policing, 2nd edition

4. Leftwich, A. 1993. “Governance, Democracy and Development in the Third World”, Third World Quarterly, 24,3,1993.

5. Murphy, Chris. 1993. “The Development, Impact and Implications of Community

6. David L. Carter? The police and the community” 7th edition, 2002, p31

7. Brogden M 2004, ‘Commentary: community policing: a panacea from the West’, African Affairs, vol. 103, no. 413, October, pp. 635-49

8. Segrave M & Ratcliffe J 2004, Community policing: A descriptive overview.

9. D. Lyman ” The Police An introduction “3rd edition, 2004, p127,147

10. Patterson, Jeffrey, Community Policing: Learning the Lessons of History, downloaded from lectlaw.com on 23rd November 2011

11. Understanding Community Policing, A Framework for Action, MONOGRAPH, (August 1994) prepared by the Community Policing Consortium.

12. Friedmann, Robert R. 1992. Community Policing: Comparative Perspectives and Prospects. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Downloaded from gsu.edu/~crirxf/considerations.htm on 20th November 2011

By

KIIZA B Joseph

Email: josekiiza-at-yahoo.fr