Community policing is a broad concept which is used to describe a range of programs and initiatives from those that closely involve members of the public in the routines of the police service. It may seem that the concept is vague actually but its advocates would rather have it this way because it may be innovative and contextual based on the requirement in a particular part of the world. Just as the other government departments are involving and empowering the citizens so also ‘community policing’ is the manifestation of the same in the Police in any country. In several cities across the world it has been adopted and through it the residents share the responsibility with the police department and help implement crime prevention strategies. As an innovation in the police organization and philosophy, community policing has come to occupy centre stage in fact.


The movement is most pronounced in the USA where the federal agency was established COPS  (The office of Community Oriented Policing Services) to encourage development of community policing programs. The turning point came in the early 1990s when life in major cities had become intolerable due to hike in crime rates. The then mayors and police chiefs, namely Gulliani and Bratton in the New York City adopted new policies for ‘zero-tolerance’ to crime in the form of innovative methods of ‘community policing’. These multi-agency approaches with public-private funding led to considerable improvement in the ‘quality of life’ due to reduction in offences and nuisance. The New York model indeed successfully led to drastic reduction in crime rate as also crime prevention. It was now no longer limited to only the U.S. but the philosophy took root throughout the ‘developed world’. In the last decade, various innovative programmes of community policing have emerged in other countries too.

The UN Conference on Human Rights in Southern Europe, 2002 as also the International Council on Human Rights Policy, 2003 too recommends New York style COP as the solution for countries as varied as Ukraine or Argentina. In the year 1999 a seminar largely promoted the Singapore style COP. The seminar was funded under the Japan-Singapore Partnership Program for th 21st century, 2001. This was attended by police officials of various developing countries such as South Africa, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Thus across the developing nations COP has been introduced as an antidote to crime problems.


Spellman and Eck (1989) define it as a strategy which combines citizen interaction with imaginative problem-solving techniques which reduce the incidence of crime. Herman Goldstein (1990) defines it in terms of the ability of the police to identify, analyse and resolve crime-related problems specific to a given community.Thurman and others (2001) have given a four-fold definition of community policing:

1. COP depts. value citizen input, define their mission more broadly than just law enforcement, and believe that policing must be tailored to the needs of the community.

2. The strategic dimension has to do with translating the philosophical side into practice through planning. The dept. thinks how to reorient its operations, geographic focus and emphasis on crime prevention.

3. COP depts. emphasize positive citizen interactions, police-community partnerships and problem-solving activities.

4. Concerns the structure of the department and its personnel CP favors a work environment where employee input is highly valued, mentoring is encouraged and systematic evaluation methods are in place.


The theory of community policing is based on the normative sponsorship and the critical social theory. Normative sponsorship theory proposes that most people are good and are willing to cooperate with others to satisfy their needs. The role of the community police officer is equivalent to the role of a critical social scientist, the facilitator and catalyst of problems solving activities.


The three key components of community policing strategies are organizational transformation, community partnerships, and shared problem solving.There are four dimensions of community policing: philosophical, strategic, tactical, and organizational (Cordner & Scarborough, 1997). The philosophical aspect involves incorporating community policing ideals (as discussed above) within the organization.

The Philosophical Dimension

Many of its most thoughtful and forceful advocates emphasize the community policing is a new philosophy of policing, perhaps constituting even a paradigm shift away from professional-model policing and not just a particular program or specialized activity. The philosophical dimension includes the central ideas and beliefs underlying community policing. Three of the most important of these are citizen input, broad function, and personal service.

The Strategic Dimension

The strategic dimension of community policing includes the key operational concepts that translate philosophy into action. These strategic concepts are the links between the broad ideas and beliefs that underlie community policing and the specific programs and practices by which it is implemented. They assure that agency policies, priorities, and resource allocation are consistent with the COP philosophy. Three important strategic elements are re-oriented operations, prevention emphasis, and geographic focus.

The Tactical Dimension

The tactical dimension of community policing ultimately translates ideas, philosophies, and strategies into concrete programs, tactics, and behaviors.
Three of the most important tactical elements of community policing are positive interaction, partnerships, and problem solving.

The Organizational Dimension

It is important to recognize an Organizational Dimension that surrounds community policing and greatly affects its implementation. In order to support and facilitate community policing, police departments often consider a variety of changes in organization, administration, management, and supervision. The elements of the organizational dimension are not really part of community policing per se, but they are frequently crucial to its successful implementation. Three important organizational elements of COP are structure, management, and information.


CP presents very diverse forms globally. Some examples are the Fijian CP warns locals about the new green shoots of marijuana plantations,Australian Federal Police include hurricane watching,Solomon Islands CP is equated with peace-keeping

In England and Wales in the mid 80s, CP included the following:

a. Community constables

b. Police shops

c. Specialist community liaison officers

d. Community Survey

e. Crime analysis

f. Inter-agency initiatives such as victim support

g. Police facilities for young people

h. Joint training with other agencies

i. School liaison

j. Local consultative committees

Some Popular Programs under Community Policing around the World

Schools/ Children program: Across the world, special programs are being developed jointly by police forces and local communities in order to deal with security problems in school. For this they make contact with children as often as possible. Some police forces deal train special teams to deal with school safety.

Community problems /Aid to the community:In some countries the police forces are involved in social services. They give support to the homeless by delivering food and blankets. They also give social and health advice. They give assistance to drug addicts and alcoholics. They connect the disabled persons with the health and medical services and also assist refugees who have no place to stay. They find missing children or adult. In many situations the role of police is to report these matters to appropriate authority for further action.

Domestic Violence (DV): It is a problem that has significant impact on communities and society at large. In some countries, police forces are developing prevention teams/units to deal with DV. Their mission is to bring domestic disputes to a satisfactory conclusion, minimizing its impact and protecting those involved and preventing a repetition.

Victim Support:Some police forces are also developing Victim Support Teams working in straight collaboration with experts in these matters.

The Police and the Environment:Police does have a role in enforcing laws concerning littering, dumping of toxic wastes, noise pollution and similar such environment related issues. Some countries now have specialized investigative units to deal with these crimes. Such policing intervention has also been termed as ‘quality of life policing’.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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