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duty of any state to provide its citizens security and without doubt the police are the face of this security. Time and again efforts have been made to find ways to fulfill this obligation, community policing being one such step. Community policing, often known as 'foot patrol', has become a dominant process and adheres to the idea of collaboration between the police and the community to identify and solve problems. This concept involves the community to ally the police in its efforts to ensure safety in any particular neighborhood. This concept focuses on creating a partnership and a foundation of trust which enables the community to voice their concerns, give their valuable suggestions and assist the police to address the problems. The output in any case is one; to enhance the quality of life for the community.
Community policing should not be regarded as a substitute for all other needed forms of policing, but rather as a complementary strategy. According to James Q. Wilson and George Kelling (1982) in their article 'Broken Windows', to address the big problems the small ones need to be tackled. Effective community policing can lead to many benefits; the foremost being the building of a stronger relation between the police and the community. This entails greater trust of the community on the police and its actions, and of the police on the community for its effort to control crime. If this is achieved at the core then this strategy can reduce neighborhood crimes and decrease the citizen's fear of crime. The more police is engaged with the community the better informed they would be of their performance and community reaction to their new strategies and ideas to control crime. In short a more accurate and speedy way to their feedback.
Furthermore, trust development could mean that people more readily inform the police about ongoing criminal activity in the area. The local community is the best resource the police can use to remove signs of neglect, such as abandoned cars, empty building etc., and utilize them constructively. With a personalized relation forming, the Officers may act as mediators in disputes capable of referring a problem to the relevant government department. The society is dynamic today; therefore, officers should be willing and ready to respond to crime and accommodate to changes spontaneously. This strategy also helps ensure mobilization of resources as the police becomes more assessable to the community and offer greater assistance.
However, the crucial element in reaping these benefits would be to firstly recruit patrol officers with such characteristics that would make community policing a viable option. Keep in mind that community policing demands a different kind of patrol officer, one who can think creatively, can solve problems, and is motivated to address these non-traditional tasks. (Wilson and Kelling, 1982) To begin with, a police officer must have good morals to be able to work in the community. They must have a strong sense of right and wrong and uphold the law so that they may be able to enforce it. They must be honest and reflect good behavior so that others may have confidence in them. Furthermore another very important personal trait is Patience. Police officials must exhibit patience as they may have to deal with all sorts of people inclusive of criminals. They must have good communication skills to get the message across and also be able to listen to the concerns of community members and come up with reasonable solutions.
This also entails that a police officer must also possess leadership skills as others tend to look up to them for guidance. Hence, the must reflect the ability to lead in difficult situations. Alongside they must also be able to keep calm in high pressure situations and control their emotions while dealing with people. A candidate must have these qualities at the very least because being a patrol officer requires different duties and responsibilities. Although these abilities are inherent in candidates but sufficient education can also help establish them. A person with at least higher education is more likely to have developed research and reasoning abilities. A minimum of two years college education should be established.
Police officers with these skills and traits can successfully be recruited foremost by the willingness to join and serve the law enforcement. Like any other job, the agencies must present themselves as good employer, offering decent and compatible pay packages and making the job attractive and rewarding. Awareness can be spread in colleges to encourage such individuals to render services in this capacity. Once an officer is being hired, information about their character and conduct can be investigated.
Furthermore, once recruited the police officers must not stop here. Instead further training must be given to them to polish their skills. Since community policing involves wide ranging task, it should involve a versatile training. This may include enhancing their logical and deductive skills, their ability to gather and process information, optimal use of community resources and being creative and use discretion when required. This training should not be limited to any particular level but spread at all ranks.
These are all attempts to secure a positive output from community policing but the results cannot be guaranteed by anyone. The department can evaluate the effectiveness from time to time. Measuring the success or failure of this strategy can be difficult as no cost-benefit sort of analysis can apply to it. Also it is difficult as no such concept existed in the past which may show how to assess or evaluate the success or failure. Hence, it will depend on what is of more importance when an assessment is made of community policing. It is possible that at times some of the consequences will be tolerated if the outcome they produce is more valued in the eyes of those assessing. Some of the criticism against community policing is based on the practical issues of implementation, ensuring public involvement, financial implications, and measurement of the possible successes (Ferrier, n.d). These may be taken as some of the grounds to make an assessment. Although it is clear that much more needs to be considered then just these as the evaluating criteria. Therefore, multiple factors may be taken to consideration.
As discussed above, the most visible outcome is the relationship between the police and the community. Some would look at it as a positive outcome of the growing trust and cooperation between the two to prevent crime, while critics may argue that it will only lead to increased corruption. Wilson and Kelling (1982) also acknowledge that critics of this strategy would argue a greater opportunity for conflict of interests and wrongdoing through growing interaction. It would then have to be seen whether a growing relationship of cooperation and trust is more important or is it essential that no room or opportunity be given for corruption to grow. Attached to this can be the problem that some people in the community might also want to resist the increased interaction of the police with the community. It can turn out to be a difficult ordeal to establish exactly how involved is the public and this would make it difficult to determine the success of community policing.
Furthermore, this strategy also entails putting more officers on the streets. This might result in recruiting more human resource. On one hand that could mean more job opportunities and on the other hand it could mean using resources to hire more men or women instead of spending them on equipment and relevant machinery. Also for some this would be a waste of man power that could be otherwise engaged in the service. For many critics community policing is not cost-efficient. While others may argue that this would allow duty officers to be more informed as they…[continue]
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