With the current high negativity being replaced on our law enforcement, sometimes it’s easy for some part of the public to say that we don’t need them at all. But remember the media only highlights the bad apples and all the things that the police do wrong in the community. Good police officers with good neighborhood involvement do not make good news.
Police are a group of officers who represent the civil authority of government and are responsible for maintaining order and peace in society. Police enforce the law and prevent and investigate criminal activities. They are a major part of society. Police are entrusted with the duty to maintain a peaceful environment. They have the right to arrest and control people if the situation calls for it.
Police are the saviors of society. Because of them, the community feels safe and does not have to worry about their lives and property.
Communities rely on the police for protection, and in turn, police rely on the police for support. One cannot work without the other. Police-community relations need to be one of trust and harmony to make a perfect and safe community. Psychological aspects of police-community relations include the self-image of an officer, the public image of the police, perception, attitudes, and values (L A Radalet, 1986).
In current times, the police-community relation is unidirectional. Police work hard within their organization to keep the community safe and harmonized. While in reality, a healthy relationship between police and community positively influences society.
Role of Police in Helping Community
Police have always been a major part of a community. The police are expected to perform many community duties, including keeping the peace—handling emergencies, and helping civil during civil emergencies. Police are responsible for educating the public and enhancing their confidence. Police help and encourage community participation and involvement.
In current times, police are called by citizens to resolve their social problems. Due to this role, conflict investigation departments are embracing new strategies of policing, including community policing.
What Is Community Policing
Community policing, in general, is a partnership of police and citizens, government and community that recognize and solve a problem that influences societies or cities. Community policing strategy is a philosophy in which the police of certain areas make relations and partnerships with the local citizens. Its main goal is to build relationships with the community to reduce low-level community problems.
The concept of community policing came from Sir Robert Peels in 1829. Peel set forth some principles when he established the London Metropolitan Police, one of which was “…the police are the public and the public are the police.”
In the early 20th century, after the rise of automobiles and telecommunication, police started to rely on technology, and their presence in the neighborhoods became rare—this affected community-police relations.
In 1960 many countries were looking for a way to mend police-community relations, and after many suggestions and ideas, they started experimenting with community policing.
From the history of community policing, it is clear that criminal activities cannot be controlled and can destroy society without the community and police working together.
Community policing goes beyond traditional policing as the protection of social order and law no longer fall solely on police. In community policing, all community members take an active part in improving safety and neighborhood quality.
Although community policing is a partnership of police and community members, police are the major foundation of this strategy. Police officers also educate the public, enhance public confidence, increase public trust, decrease fear of crime, and much more.
Importance of Police-Community Relations
Strong and trusted relations between community and police agencies are important to maintain society safe and protected. Police rely on citizens’ coperations to provide information about a crime or work with the police to formulate solutions.
When relations between police and community are good, police better understand the public concern, especially related to crimes. Citizens are also more willing to compromise and report crimes, serve as witnesses, and participate in jury trials.
In addition, police also become more active in preventing crimes before it occurs or reduces its impact on society. Police-community relationships also prevent the idea of public thinking that police are just a mechanism for intelligence collection.
How Police Can Improve Community Relations
Police-community relations are one the most important things law enforcement can do for society. Mutual understanding and trust in any relationship are necessary, and even though community and police relations are good, they still need improvement.
Both community and police need to understand their roles in protecting society. Police need to focus more on the concerns of the public.
“Choosing the right mission focus for a police department has to start with the community,” says Vidali.
There are many ways police can improve community relations; some of them are mentioned below.
Improve Police Transparency
By sharing information more frequently in a partnered mission can greatly improve public-community relations. Communities should have the right to see the evidence of the shared mission throughout the cycle.
More often, police are only transparent about their mission, leaving the society to imagine what happens between mission and conclusions. Police can increase transparency by openly sharing policies and other ways.
Police should openly share policies with the community in a mission. It builds trust among citizens. Many investigating departments are applying this method to improve community relations.
Maintaining Accurate Records Of Police Misconduct
If there is a question about an officer, police should immediately respond with accurate data. False information about society can affect their relationships with the community. Clear records of training and misconduct should be maintained.
Rapidly Sharing Body Camera Footage
Body camera footage and police/ witness reports help review public events and provide an important, strong perspective on the situation. It prevents exaggeration that can easily spiral out of control if left unaddressed.
Increase Interaction Of Police With Community
The most effective way for police to improve community relations is through interaction. Police need to connect more with the community members to built trust. Interaction helps police to understand the public concern and allowing them to act accordingly on their mission.
Checking on local citizens and foot patrols has proven successful in good community relations. Involvement of police in community programs and neighborhood bring them close to the community and building unity.
One of the most operative and successful ways to improve community relations is high-quality and consistent police services. Every call and every contact of citizens is an opportunity for police to build trust with individuals.
Citizens need to know that police care for them and will protect them. Everything police do, from their demeanor to professional appearance, makes an impression.
Take Steps To Reduce Bias And Improve Cultural Competency
Civil rights leaders and law enforcers recommend that all officers receive training on diversity, implicit bias, and cultural competency. Many countries have communities of various racial backgrounds and cultures. Officers need to be able to communicate effectively with such communities and understand their cultural norms.
Maintain Focus And Visibility
Police need to maintain visibility in the community and have good relations with the community. Many officers do not interact with the police outside their job, which can negatively impact police-community relations.
Finding the opportunity to interact with an individual outside of society help reduce bias on the part of community members and police.
Police Community Outreach Programs
Community partnerships involve programs like virtual neighborhood watch programs and other outreach programs. Such programs are designed to encourage conversation, education, and participation.
Some of the national outreach programs like Coffee with a Cop and National Night Our have proven to be successful and allow an opportunity for personal community engagement with police. Education, child, and personal safety are some of the main factors of outreach programs.
Some Of The Famous Outreach Programs Are:
- Child Car Seat Safety Checks
- 9-1-1 Education Classes
- Child Safety Classes
- Coffee with a Cop
- Cram the Cruiser to Prevent Hunger
- Citizen’s Police Academy
- Access and Functional Needs Citizen Police Academy
- Emergency Preparedness Classes
- Medication Collection Box
- National Night Out
- Parent-Teen Safe Driving Workshop
- Police Explorers Program
- Ride-Along Program
- Scout (Boy and Girl) Badge Events
- Shop with a Cop
- Weather Spotter
Frequently Asked Questions About Policing
What are the main responsibilities of the police?
The police’s main responsibility is to protect life and property through the enforcement of laws. They educate the public and enhance their confidence.
What is community policing?
Community policing is a partnership of police and community members, government, and citizens that recognize and solve a problem that influences societies or cities.
What does a world with a low police force look like?
Police help make a community safe and protect it from harm. A world with less police is full of violence and crimes, as, in that situation, there is a way to ensure safety: crimes rates, killing rate, and fear.
What are the goals of community policing?
Community policing is the current policing strategy in use by police. Its main goals are to form good relations among police and community member. Community policing helps reduce low-level crimes.
Police are necessary for the survival of a community. They make a safe environment for the community to live peacefully without worry. Police know that their success in fighting crimes and building a healthy and peaceful environment depends on their strong relationship with the community. They are working hard to maintain this relationship. CWP
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