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Community Policing

Conceptual Frame-work

Community Policing has become a `buzz` word particularly with the law enforcement officials all over the world since the 1980s as an effective tool of prevention of crime, reducing the fear of crime, maintenance of peace & order in the community, identification of criminals and bringing them to justice as the conventional method of Policing has proved to be ineffective in dealing with crimes & criminalities in a fast changing socio-economic order. The crime scenes have undergone radical changes with the emergence of new types of crimes and sophistication in the modalities of criminals. There was, therefore, the growing realization that the community’s participation & partnership in combating the whole gamut of criminal administration & solving community problems was an imperative need. Community Policing started in some big and high crime-prone cities in the USA in mid-80s and their gradual success encouraged other developed and developing countries to follow their examples keeping in view their own culture, values, heritage and needs. But the oldest form of Community Policing is the `kobans` of Japan introduced as back as in 1874 with 35,000 kobans (similar to our police Boxes) spread all over the country. Its success is well known and many countries have adapted it `mutatis mutandis` suiting their special requirements.
The concept of Community Policing needs a little elaboration for better understanding and implementation in our context. There are different dimensions of Community Policing and there are obviously many definitions of the concept but the most comprehensive definition seems to be given by Robert R. Friedman of Georgia University USA (1992) which is as follows:
Community Policing is a policy and a strategy aimed at achieving more effective and efficient crime control, reduced fear of crime, improved quality of life, improved police services and police legitimacy, through a proactive reliance on community resources that seeks to change crime-causing conditions. It assumes a need for greater accountability of police, greater public share in decision making and greater concern for civil rights and liberties.
Community Policing from the above definition implies that it is a policing strategy and philosophy based on the notion that community interaction and support can help control crime and reduce fear, with community members helping to identify and detain suspects and bring local problems to the attention of police.


Community policing consists of three key components:

 Community Partnerships: Collaborative partnerships between the law enforcement agency and the individuals and organizations. Their services are essential to develop solution to problems and increase trust in police. These partnerships are forged in conjunction with other government agencies, community members and groups, human and social service providers, private businesses and the media.
Organizational Transformation: Police departments engaged in effective community policing seek transform their organizational culture, leadership and management structure, strategic planning processes, how they evaluate performance, the transparency of their operations, the assignment of officers, mobilizing their financial resources, recruitment of suitable personnel and their training. The objective of these changes is to create own organizational infrastructure that can best support proactive operations intended to prevent crime. Traditional law enforcement practices are reactive while, Community policing encourages police to proactively solve community problems and address the factors that contribute to crime rather than how police respond to crime.
Problem solving: Community policing requires police to become proficient in what is known as the SARA model of problem solving-Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment.


Bangladesh perspective

   Community’s involvement & partnership in Policing was keenly felt in the early days of our Independence as there was a sharp deterioration in law & order situation, increased crimes & fear of crimes due to a host of reasons; political, social & economic. Police of a newly independent country felt helpless to combat the rising incidences of crime as they were not properly organized, lacked the necessary man-power, logistics, equipment & training facilities. Moreover, there was little or no community support & participation in policing due to lack of popular trust & confidence in police based as it was on a colonial model not suitable for a newly independent country. Bangladesh Police is a typical centralized and highly bureaucratic organization which inherited a colonial structure and culture established by an Act of 1861. Under this Act police forces were not accountable to anyone except their own hierarchy and the political and administrative executives. But community policing demands the police organization to be more accountable to the community than to the police hierarchy.

 The successful implementation of the community policing philosophy in Japan, USA and some other countries encouraged some police officers to get trained abroad to replicate Community Policing model in our country suiting our own requirements within the existing organizational and legal frame-work. Community policing in its rudimentary form was introduced by some pioneering and innovative mid-level police officers (SPs/OCs) in the early 1990s in some districts (Mymensingh) and some Police Stations (Kafrul & Cantonment) of DMP on their own initiatives on an experimental basis. This was in the form of night patrols by volunteers through Committees (Town Defense Party TDPs) with leading and well-to-do persons of the locality. A major break-through in introducing community Policing was achieved in 2005 with the launching of Police Reform Project (PRP) in 2005 to modernize & reform Police with a view to establishing the rule of law and  making police a service-oriented, pro-people institution which will be accountable to the people they serve. The project funded by donor agencies like UNDP, DFID and European Commission is being implemented in two policies i.e 2005-2009 and 2009-2014. Under the aegis of PRP some significant development has taken place over the years in the areas of Police infrastructure, training equipment, logistics and improvement in professionalism. Other significant areas include spreading community policing all over the Country and introduction of Open House Day once a month in every Police Station when people of all walks of life come and interact with Police Station officers and other senior police officers and make suggestions for ways and means to reduce crimes and solving other problems in their respective areas. 

Community Policing

  Ensuring institutional support for the sustainable ``grass-roots`` level implementation of Community Policing approach.

  Adoption of a transformational model for developing police response to meet community needs identified through consultation and partnership.

 Ensuring successful adoption of community policing philosophy through greater public involvement, change in working procedures, pro-active consultation and effective monitoring of implementation.


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