Community policing is an approach to law enforcement that stresses the need for strong sustainable relationships between the local police and the communities they serve. Through open communication and understanding of common interests, public safety then becomes a collective problem-solving activity, which ideally promotes societal cohesion and democratic values. Given the diffusion of terrorism in recent years, and the involvement of local people in plotting and staging attacks, police forces in different countries believe that community policing principles are crucial for countering radicalisation and violent extremism. Effective community collaboration enables the police to understand the issues and remain informed so that potential interventions can be conducted early and locally, before problems escalate beyond the community’s control. This report evaluates community policing approaches in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, with regard to countering violent extremism and terrorism. It finds that the construction of transparent relationships with communities is objectively advantageous as a counter-terrorism strategy, but obstacles to success remain. Covert operations, surveillance, and the heavy-handed tactics of federal agencies can erase the trust that the police have sometimes spent years trying to build. If community policing is to be an effective approach to countering home-grown terrorism, governments need to consider the effects of coercive policies and practices on the people they seek to engage.
About the Author
Cameron Sumpter is an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). He holds an MA with first class honours in Politics and International Relations from the University of Auckland, where he wrote his thesis on prison-based disengagement strategies, focusing on the experiences of Indonesia. Prior to commencing his postgraduate study in New Zealand, he worked as an English teacher and journalist in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America. His research interests include initiatives aimed at countering violent extremism (CVE), processes of radicalisation, extremist organisations and intra-movement dynamics, disengagement programmes, and social movement theory.
Americas / East Asia and Asia Pacific / Europe / Policy Reports / Terrorism Studies
Last updated on 22/09/2016