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Theme and Variation in Community Policing (From Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, Volume 10, P 1-37, 1988, Michael Tonry and Norval Morris, eds.)

NCJ Number
Date Published
37 pages
The authors compare the community-policing movement in selected countries of Europe and Asia with that in a sample of six American cities.
The countries, regions, and cities studied were Scandinavia, Singapore, Australia, and London. Section I describes community policing's key programmatic components and provides illustrations from the field research. The next section identifies and discusses some of the potential obstacles that can constrain the development of community policing, followed by a section that discusses the enduring benefits of community policing for the public and the police. The study concludes that community policing is increasingly popular around the globe. It shows that community policing is a coherent concept grounded in the notion that police and public together are more effective and more humane coproducers of safety and public order than are the police alone. Programmatic elements that constitute community policing include community-based crime prevention, reorientation of patrol to emphasize nonemergency services, increased accountability to the public, decentralization of command, and the greater use of civilians. Community policing does not always achieve these unifying elements, however. Impediments to the development of community policing include norms grounded in traditional notions of the police role, police needs to react to emergencies, resource limitations, traditional assumptions about patrol strategies, assessment problems, customary public expectations of the police role, and the bureaucratic isolation of community programs within the police department. Despite the obstacles, however, the community-policing movement is likely to grow because of benefits to the public from enhanced crime prevention and police accountability and to the police from increased legitimation through consensus-building with the public, increased morale, and enhanced career opportunities. 25 references

Date Published: January 1, 1988