Community policing vital in crime fight

Dwayne Gibbs -
Dwayne Gibbs -

THE EDITOR: Dwayne Gibbs, the former Edmonton police superintendent and former police commissioner of TT and Jack Ewatski, former Winnipeg police chief and former TT deputy commissioner, both made strong points about the importance of community policing in the fight against crime. Both served in one of the largest countries of the world, Canada. However, it appears that community policing is now in the background of the crime fight and we are still wondering how to solve crime or to keep crime at bay.

Community-oriented policing is an aspect of intelligence-led policing because it allows for working with others in the community and using those relationships and partnerships to resolve problems within the community.

In other words, police can take information about the criminal environment, analyse that information and then use it to guide police strategies.

Police are not clairvoyant nor are they horizon scanners or magicians. They can’t go into the mind of people to know when they are going to commit crimes. Police depend on information from the public. For the police to get information people have to trust the police. However, there is a lot of mistrust between the police and the public.

The only way to repair the mistrust (apart from weeding out miscreant officers) is through a well planned community policing model.

Community policing involves forming partnerships with community organisations, actively pursuing feedback and establishing programmes that allow police to engage with residents outside of the law enforcement arena.

The practice allows community members to feel they are being heard, respected and empowered to help police control crime in their neighbourhoods, rather than feeling that officers are solely there to enforce laws through aggressive stopping, arresting and incarcerating.

Community policing can significantly improve the ability of the police to discover criminal conduct and make arrests. Improved communication with citizens and more intimate knowledge of the geography and social environment of the beat enhance, rather than reduce, the officers’ crime-fighting capability.

The community is reliant upon the police to curb disorder and help in times of emergency. The police, on the other hand, depend on relationships with the community to report crime and provide vital information that is necessary for them to solve crime and address community concerns.

Police are in the relationships business and at a time of strained police relations, community-oriented policing offers a different approach – one that makes good relationships essential to police work.

With a well planned community policing programme, officers are encouraged to spend considerable time and effort in developing and maintaining relationships with citizens, businesses, schools and community organisations.

The community needs to embrace the police and the police can create the environment for this through a community-oriented programme.


Point Fortín


"Community policing vital in crime fight"

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