Trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services. In a civil society, elected officials bear the responsibility of managing a city’s public safety programs, including its police department. By accepting this responsibility and holding law enforcement accountable for their actions, local elected officials play a key role in building trust between police and the communities they serve.
Community policing is the concept that trust and mutual respect between police and the communities they serve is critical to public safety. It is a law enforcement strategy that emphasizes the systematic use of community engagement, partnerships, and problem solving techniques to proactively address conditions that cultivate crime and social disorder.
Governments at all levels need to understand, support, and encourage law enforcement officers to receive training on community policing principles. Training programs in community policing should explore the dramatic shifts in society, technology, criminal trends, economics, and the very definition of “community” relative to law enforcement. Law enforcement officers need to understand problem solving tools, practice de-escalation methods, discover examples of successful police and community partnerships, and be educated about directly linking to numerous community-policing resources.
The ubiquitous proliferation of smartphones and other ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) means they are often seen as a vector through which initiatives of all kinds can instill a culture of proactive engagement with their respective stakeholder communities.
Modern day-policing is under new pressures. They need to respond to more complex criminality, requiring more specialist skills, with an accelerating demand from cyber-crime, set against an enduring challenge around efficiency and effectiveness. The ubiquitous proliferation of smartphones and other ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) and the borderless nature of crime have posed a critical challenge to our current policing model. At this juncture, we either improve how we harness digital opportunities from existing and emerging technologies, or we are at risk of becoming overwhelmed by the demand they create and lose the chance to enhance and modernise our policing services.