Community Policing in the USA and Britain

  1. Develop a typical “community policing” model utilized by local/American policing tactics. How would you deploy road patrol personnel to best promote the model of community policing? How would you instruct your officers to interact with the community?

The community policing model had found success in the United States because of its balancing of authority with community. A typical model would comprise of a squad of patrollers assigned to a locality.  They would come under the leadership of the delegated sheriff for that locality. The key feature of the community policing model in the United States is ‘participation’. Rather than acting like authorities in power, the patrollers strike camaraderie with local residents.  They develop a first-name calling rapport with the locals. The local residents serve as useful informants and witnesses for suspect activity. At the same time the patrolling officers do also monitor the regulars he comes across on the streets.

The other important feature of community policing is creating awareness among residents.  Rather than strictly being law enforcement agents, patrolling officers take an active interest in the everyday concerns of their contingency.  They constant interact with the community and educate them about safety issues.  It is a very effective method of policing for members of the community are in effect an extension of the police force.  In return the community has closeness and access to authorities which helps in communicating their grievances.  The community can address its concerns directly and promptly to the patrolling officers, who will then act expeditiously to resolve the problem.

Despite its proven success, community policing programs have been stalled in the United States since the 9/11 terror attacks by Al-Qaeda. In its aftermath the nation saw a slew of counter-terrorism measures, some of which (like the PATRIOT Act) have been very controversial. The effects of stringent security measures that were taken in the wake of 911 have percolated even to the police department. Since 911 there have been structural and functional changes witnessed in police departments across the country.

  1. Now apply the same activity to London based on British community policing tactics, in a working class district.

The community policing model has the potential to work very well in Britain.  Britain can adopt the basic framework of the American model and add special provisions to meet local socio-cultural demands.  Its application would allow British police officers to efficiently and expeditiously act upon intelligence. The image of the police in the public eye would also be boosted as a consequence.  The friendly, one-among-us feel of a police officer will replace the tired image of an artillery-heavy points-man who mechanically executes government orders.

Community policing tactics will have to be fine tuned to suit the specific localities where they are deployed.  Working class districts in Britain have historically been more disorderly than upscale regions.  There is more reporting of crime, conflict and violence from working class districts than elsewhere.  One of the reasons is low socio-economic conditions which create tension among people.  The other prominent reason for law and order issues is due to exclusiveness of ghettos in these districts.  People from poor and minority communities clash based on ethnic, racial and religious lines.  In light of these facts, and consistent with the broader vision of Britain as an inclusive cosmopolitan society, the patrolling team in these districts should have representation and diversity.  A community policing effort will work well in working class districts if all demographic groups could identify and relate to the patrolling team.  Considering that Britain (and London especially) have a significant percentage of Muslim immigrant population, counter-terror activities will have to be undertaken with sensitivity.  Britain cannot afford to adopt the Xenophobic