Examining Intelligence-Led Policing: Developments in Research, Policy and Practice

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While evaluations vary in their complexity and focus, a number of common implementation problems can be identified.

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Although these problems often manifest themselves during the implementation process, many stem from the foundations upon which initiatives are based and reflect problems relating to how community policing is understood and the organisational support structure upon which it is built. It is essential that practitioners are aware of these potential impediments to the implementation of community policing for the development of future initiatives Cunneen, Active support for community policing at every level of policing organisations has been identified as essential to its successful implementation.

An initiative adopted and implemented in South Australia in the early s, Project Benchmark, found that where organisational support was nonexistent, the effectiveness of community policing was compromised Saul, Within Australia, community policing has tended to "remain an ancillary activity rather than part of core police work", reflecting an international trend that has been the subject of much criticism Brereton, While some identify specialised models i. The success of community policing is heavily influenced by organisational factors, including the structure of the organisation within which officers work and the level of support and encouragement received from their colleagues and supervisors Greene, Many community policing programs clearly demarcate the role and work of community police officers and general duties police officers Brereton, ; Edwards, The report on Project Benchmark found that many of the difficulties faced in attempting to encourage general duties officers to embrace community policing as an integral part of their role were further exacerbated by the continued emphasis on the distinction between the roles and activities of community policing and general duties officers Saul, In both the evaluation of the Australian Capital Territory Country Towns initiative Collins, and the Toowoomba Beat Policing Project Criminal Justice Commission, , it was noted that this separation of roles served to reinforce pervasive attitudes within policing organisations that community policing is not 'real' police work.

Consequently, the satisfaction, enthusiasm and commitment of community policing officers may be difficult to maintain over the long term, which directly affects the implementation and the ultimate success of any initiative Sarre, Community policing has become so much a catch-phrase in modern policing throughout the world, that hardly any policing organisation wants to be seen as not participating. Consequently, almost anything that is not a reactive strategy to deal with a particular issue has been claimed as a community policing initiative, which has blurred the meaning of community policing Edwards, Community policing needs to be defined with clarity, as the definition has direct implications for the implementation and evaluation of initiatives.


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As Cordner 45 noted, without clearly articulating what 'it' is, it is difficult to say whether 'it' works. Critically, a clear definition enables both the community and police to be informed about the parameters of this policing model. In the past community policing has been oversold as a panacea for crime problems to the police and to the community, resulting in a loss of support for the model when immediate results are anticipated but not forthcoming and unrealistically high expectations are not met Goldstein, The community is the foundation upon which community policing is built.

However, sometimes it may be difficult to locate a cohesive community with strong infrastructures as communities exist in many different forms Flynn, It is essential that policing organisations adopt a broad view of what constitutes a community and that the challenges in locating a 'community' are understood. The varied nature of community memberships must also be recognised such that officers seek out and engage with a broad range of community members, particularly in communities where there is limited community organisation or interaction.

Community participation is the cornerstone of community policing. Initiatives are developed based on the presumption that community members will be both willing and able to respond to a community policing initiative. Yet, evaluations of past initiatives have found that responses vary considerably- some groups may be fearful or unappreciative of an increased police presence, others simply may not have the resources to work with the police Skogan et al, ; Rosenbaum et al, Such challenges in attempting to engage the wider community to support and participate in community policing have been identified in various US evaluations Skogan, ; McElroy, Community policing officers must be prepared for an unenthusiastic initial response to an increased police presence, aware that participation and partnership will not automatically occur, and understand that time and effort must be invested to overcome these barriers Walker et al, Community policing requires collaboration with the community.

A major issue for police organisations when implementing community policing is the presence of strong personalities and influential groups, who may dominate discussions and control the initiative's direction Thurman et al This is a particularly pertinent issue when there is great variety in the problems identified by different community members. There is a concern that while community policing presents itself as an initiative for the whole community it ultimately serve the interests of a vocal minority. It is essential that policing organisations seek to address these issues to ensure community policing is implemented for the benefit of the whole community.

Community policing initiatives tend to be implemented with little regard to past initiatives and often neglect to adopt a clear definition of 'success'. Many that are evaluated focus on traditional indicators such as crime statistics and clear-up rates despite the fact that less traditional objectives are driving the initiative. A central recommendation of community policing evaluations including the Community Patrol Officer Program CPOP program that operated in New York and the Community Police Stations project that was implemented in Victoria, Canada was the need for rigorous evaluations that employ wide-ranging methodologies McElroy, ; Walker et al, Policing organisations must ensure that rigorous evaluation of community policing initiatives occurs prior to the development of future initiatives.

Although noting that the number of rigorous evaluations was limited, Sherman and Eck were able to reach a number of conclusions regarding community policing as a crime prevention tool, notably that:. Despite the challenges and limitations identified, commitment to community policing has not dissipated rather it has flourished.

Attempts to implement community policing to date have drawn attention to some key stumbling blocks that present challenges to policing organisations for the future development and implementation of community policing initiatives. Three central issues remain. Working in partnership with the community is the central tenet of community policing. However, research has demonstrated that working with the community is less straightforward in practice than many policing organisations anticipate. Future initiatives need to identify this and allocate substantive resources to enable officers to work closely with communities to engage a broad range of community groups and members.

Officers require extensive training to counter community unwillingness to participate and to undertake consultation. Consultation with the public is a marked shift away from traditional policing practice and this is often difficult for officers to undertake, particularly in terms of relinquishing past responsibilities and control to other agencies or community groups Sarre, Achieving community partnerships, especially within disadvantaged communities that are afflicted the greatest by crime problems, demands changes within the organisation to encourage and enable police officers to adopt new policing practices and to enable greater engagement with the public.

Adopting community policing as the organisational philosophy does not signal the abandonment of the traditional response-based, investigative police function. Rather, a balance must be struck between the competing demands of emergency calls and rapid response situations which will not simply disappear with the introduction of community policing and the increased focus on community-based, proactive policing. The maximum benefit may be best achieved through a combined approach Edwards, Community policing is a strategy that can operate successfully when implemented with other complementary strategies, for example in Queensland problem-oriented partnership policing brought together community policing with problem oriented policing.


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  • Thus, with community policing as the central paradigm it is be possible to implement initiatives and strategies that allow for the building of partnerships with the flow on effects of increasing intelligence and a greater understanding of the community context that, for example, in turn feeds into intelligence-led policing strategies Ratcliffe, Although the evidence-base has increased in the past decade, many questions remain unanswered.

    A strong evidence-base to support the wisdom of community policing rather than the hyperbole that currently surrounds it is fundamental to the continued advancement of community policing Skogan Bayley 4 stressed that policing organisations must "develop the institutional capacity to understand what is going on in their environment as well as the impact of their own strategies, and to use this knowledge to provide a higher measure of safety and reassurance to the public".

    As the level of community alienation or isolation that officers experience increases, there will be a corresponding decrease in officers' sense of mastery in carrying out their expanded discretionary role. Second, a strong sense of community integration for police officers would seem to be vital to the core community policing focus of proactive law enforcement.

    Proactive enforcement is usually defined as the predisposition of police officers to be actively committed to crime prevention, community problem-solving, and a more open, dynamic quality-oriented law enforcement-community partnership. A lack of community support resulted in an increased sense of alienation and a greater degree of apathy among police officers.

    The more police officers felt socially isolated from the community they served, the more they withdrew and the more negative they felt towards its citizens.

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    Traditionally, determining whether police or policies are effective or not can be done by evaluating the crime rate for a geographic area. Community policing is more complicated than simply comparing crime rates and there is no universally-accepted criteria for evaluating community policing. However, there are some structures that are commonly used.

    One possible way to determine whether or not community policing is effective in an area is for officers and key members of the community to set a specific mission and goals when starting out. Once specific goals are set, participation at every level is essential in obtaining commitment and achieving goals. Street-level officers, supervisors, executives, and the entire community should feel the goals represent what they want their police department to accomplish. The U. Criminologists have raised several concerns vis-a-vis community policing and its implementation. On the broadest conceptual level, many legal scholars have highlighted that the term "community," at the heart of "community policing," is in itself ambiguous.

    Others have remained skeptical of the political ambition behind community policing initiatives. For example, in Peter Waddington cautioned that the "largely uncritical acceptance with which [the notion of community policing] has been welcomed is itself a danger. Any proposal, however attractive, should be subjected to careful and skeptical scrutiny. He said that the former was a "romantic delusion", because "there was never a time when the police officer was everyone's friend, and there will never be such a time in the future.

    Similarly, C. Klockars and David Bayley both argue that community policing is unlikely to bring fundamental change to how police officers work, with Klockars calling it "mainly a rhetorical device". He argues the progressive and democratic ethos of shared governance inherent in community policing runs counter to central elements in police culture and more widespread understandings of crime and punishment. McDowell argued in that because community policing was a radical departure from existing ideology, implementing it would take time. Yet another set of criticisms revolves around the potential efficacy of community policing.

    David Bayley has argued that enacting community policing policies may lead to a reduction in crime control effectiveness, maintenance of order in the face of violence, increase in bureaucratic and governmental power over community affairs, increases in unequal treatment, and an erosion of constitutional rights. This in turn could be problematic, in that it could entice corruption or vigilantism. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with neighborhood watch. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.

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    February 22, Retrieved July 11, Rethinking community policing. El Paso. Brown Police Foundation. Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved Langworthy, Robert H. Upper Saddle River, N. London: Routledge. Bureau of Justice Monograph Series.

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