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The traditional model of policing has several limitations that render law enforcement ineffective and inefficient. Community policing is a novel approach to law enforcement that addresses the shortcomings of the traditional policing. The adoption of community policing may become problematic if key stakeholders lack or have insufficient information about the approach and their roles in law enforcement. Therefore, there is the need for educating stakeholders about various aspects of community policing.
This communication plan aims at informing members of the community, community groups, the police, and other security organizations about key aspects of community model of policing and how they can participate to ensure the success of the policing method.
i) To transform the perception, beliefs, and behaviors of the police and the community about law enforcement through education
ii) To inform members of the society the traditional model of policing and its limitations
iii) To instill in people the need for changing the method of policing to improve law enforcement
iv) To educate the community and the police about community policing by describing its components
v) To inform members of the public the difference between the traditional model of policing and community policing
vi) To demonstrate how community policing addresses the limitations of traditional policing
vii) To outline and explain the roles of community members, community groups, businesses, and the police in implementing community policing
viii) To demonstrate how efficient communication and collaboration among the stakeholders enhances the implementation of community policing.
The stakeholders in the target groups include the police officers and the community. The community members, the business community, and community groups among others make up the community. The current relationship between the two groups i.e. the community and the police are viewed in a different perspective by either side. Therefore, there is a need to have an effective communication plan to educate the police and the community on the benefits of the facilitation of an effective implementation of community policing.
In the traditional policing model, the police perceive their role to be responding to crime. hey can as well carry out fast response to various groups in the community and follow-up with less in place to make a proactive exercise so as to deal with a root cause of a crime that has been reported. In this model, the police officers know that their job is to wait and respond to calls once a crime that has been committed (de Guzman, Das & Das, 2013). Therefore, usually, the police officers remain at their stations when they are not on patrol. If a call is made by a community member, the officer, depending on the nature of the matter reported, would then take a report and deal with that matter or hand over the investigation to the detective.
With this model of policing, there is very little in place beside the patrols carried out that the police can do to prevent crime from happening in the community. This is especially because, with this approach, there is little interaction between the police and the citizens within the community (de Guzman, Das & Das, 2013). The citizens in the community do not really know the police officer sent to respond and the officer rarely knows anyone in those areas. Since this type of policing tends to be responsive to issues of crime brought up more especially by citizens, it has little input towards proactive problem solving and ultimately prevention of crime.
The community is made up of various people, groups, and business community members and each of these have a role to play. The citizens and the police are widely known to be in a separate script when it comes to their relationship. Especially with the traditional model of policing, the citizens view the police as law enforcers and not servants of the public. The police are required by this model to heavily focus on responding to calls for solving crimes in a reactive manner virtually lacking any input from the community members. According to Archbold, (2013), during the social unrest in the 1960s in the United States, this type of approach resulted in tension between the citizens and the police. There is need to bridge and mend the gap between the police officers and the citizens. To achieve this, the public and the police agencies need to be trained on the need to work in unison to not only solve crimes and other related problems but also prevent one from occurring. Therefore, strategies that focus on the problem–solving and crime prevention among others need to be incorporated in the training programs. It will bring about effectiveness in reduction of crime and disorder and as a result improve the police-community relations (Archbold, 2013).
The public has sidelined the role of law enforcement to the police officers alone. The proper role of citizens was to be relatively passive recipients of professional crime control services offered by the police officers. Thus, the actions of the citizens to defend themselves and acting on their own behalf was seen as unlawful and inappropriate. Therefore, the citizen’s perceived role when a crime occurred was to call the police officers. The citizen is also required to be a good witness to give evidence when called upon (Archbold, 2013). An increase in community and police interaction, concentration of patrols in the neighborhood, concentration on the issues concerning quality of life, the decentralization of the police, problem-oriented and solving policing as well as strategic methods for making the police work more efficient and effective will promote how the way the citizens view the police enforcement agency (Millie & Das, 2016).
The community has over the past viewed the enforcement agencies as being uncooperative due to their use of force. This is evident as the police only responded to crimes through reaction and their lack of involvement in community activities. The traditional model of policing almost depends invariably on a paramilitary structure which tends to distance the police from the rest of the community (Millie & Das, 2016). A policing model that involves an arrangement where the police can rely on the cooperation of the community can effectively work to reduce the incidence of crime as well as promote fear of crime hence preventing it from occurring. This, on the other hand, can ease the police officers’ work and result in community development.
Due to the military approach of the traditional model of policing, the community views it as being overly bureaucratic due to the formal ranks, a chain of unquestioned command, and the formal authority. The police culture entails authoritarianism, top-down decision making, solidarity, bias, suspicion among other characteristics (Burke, 2016). This as a consequence contributes to the lack of trust for the law enforcers by the community members.
The key messages of the communication plan will address the objectives stated above. The Traditional Policing
The definition of the traditional policing will enhance the understanding of the audience about the current approach to law enforcement. Traditional policing is the existing and the most common policing method in various countries across the globe. According to De Guzman, Das & Das (2013), the traditional model of policing simply involves picking calls from individuals who need the help of police officers to address a security issue. It also involves making patrols to assess the security situation in the neighborhood and making arrests when they find someone breaking the law. However, they cannot know or respond to unreported cases that took place in their absence.
Patrols are the main pillar of keeping law and order in the US. The existing framework of modern-day patrols is based on the Peel’s foot patrols. Only the means of patrolling has changed. The introduction of automotive has improved the efficiency of patrol where one officer can transverse a large geographical area alone. The patrols increase the presence of law enforcers in the community. The police use this approach to deter criminal activities and behaviors by instilling the fear of being caught. However, this approach may only work for deterring potential criminals and not individuals who are used committing crimes.
In the traditional model of policing, law enforcers respond to criminal activities as they occur. Therefore, the existing method of policing is reactive (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, 2013). The conventional policing places police officers in positions of authority over the security of the public. Therefore, they are not considered as isolated members of the society who are responsible for the security of the entire community. The community is either not involved or least involved in the maintenance of their own security (Mohanty & Mohanty, 2014). Therefore, they are solely responsible for maintaining peace and order. The relationship between the police and the public begins when a crime is reported and is terminated the moment the investigation of a given crime is over. Long-term relationships are rare in the traditional policing. The conventional model of policing is inclusive since all members and institutions of the society are not involved in the process of establishing security and maintaining law and order.
Community policing is the most appropriate approach to law enforcement and maintenance of peace in the neighborhood since it addresses limitations of traditional policing. Eide & Holm (2013) refer to community policing as a peacekeeping model. It is proactive to address security concerns and enforcing laws since it facilitates the identification of risk factors to crime to preventing the crime from taking place. It helps in reducing or avoiding the adverse outcome criminal activities in the society.
Hess, Orthmann & Cho (2014) state that the foundational ideology of community policing is the participatory justice, which is different from the conventional method where law enforcers are solely responsible for crime prevention and maintenance of law and order. Community policing promotes the involvement of the police in law enforcement. It makes law enforcement a shared responsibility between members of the public and police. Since security issues affect the public, their association with the police can provide valuable insights into crime. Involving members of the community in safeguarding their security enhances their participation in enforcing laws since they believe that they are valued and considered as a component of the criminal justice system.
Community shifts the authority of the police over law enforcement to the community (Peak, 2013). The police participate in law enforcement by offering professional knowledge, skills, and experience in solving security issues and disputes among members of the community (Palmiotto, 2011). The prolonged relationship between law enforcers and the community builds trust and understanding between them. Furthermore, the long-term and healthy relationship creates an environment favorable for sharing intelligence and other information between the two parties. Information is an important resource that facilitates the detection of potential criminal activities and the development of appropriate methods of preventing them.
The collaboration between police officers and community promotes positive changes of the key stakeholders about law enforcement and their responsibility. The change in perception transforms the approach they use to address security concerns. According to Miller, Hess & Orthmann (2013), community police transforms the community members’ perceptions of law enforcers to individuals who offer services and activities for maintaining law and order in neighborhoods (Square-Smith, 2017). It also enables the police to view members of the public as clients and not enemies as it is in the case of the traditional model of policing. The current approach to security is a state where no one does not trust the police as they believe that the police may falsely implicate them for having committed a crime. Community policing transforms the police department from authoritative law enforcement to professional approaches to maintaining law and order. As stakeholders of law enforcement, members of the society are required to play their role by adhering to the law and necessary security procedures and protocols. They should be their brother’s keepers by reporting any suspicious activity or behavior to the police.
Problem-solution is the approach police officers use in community policing to maintain law and order. It requires professional knowledge and skills, thereby, demanding the education of the public and informed police officers. Training of the policing is necessary to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and skills they do not have but are necessary for the implementation of community policing.
Cost and Benefits of Community Policing
Community policing requires additional human resources because more officers are needed on the ground to facilitate security programs (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, C. (2013). Therefore, there will be the need for additional funding to the police department during the early stages of implementation of the policing program. Increasing the awareness of the policing method in the society requires financial and human resources to inform the society about it and their responsibilities (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, 2013). Community members are considered as human resources in community policing since they are partners with law enforcers.
Community policing has several benefits to the public and law enforcers. According to Ismaili (2015), it brings law enforcers closer to the community, thereby, facilitating the collaboration between the two in fighting crime. The collaboration between the two enhances the efficiency of eradicating crime and promoting peace in the society.
It gives community members the control over their own security, thereby, making them determinants of their well-being and future (Bayerl, Karlović, Akhgar & Markarian, 2017). It eliminates the feeling of helplessness in members of the society when they are faced with security challenges. Community policing gives the citizens courage to solve issues facing the community.
Community policing is effective in reducing crime and creates a sense of security and peace in the society. Therefore, the fear of being harmed or losing a property reduces significantly. Businesses thrive in the society due to reduced chances of robbery, theft, or injury to employees and customers. As a result, community policing promotes sustainable development.
The shared responsibility in law enforcement is a relief to police officers (Giwa, James, Anucha & Schwartz, 2014). Police resources can be diverted to enhance other services that result in a significant impact on the quality of life in the community. Therefore, community policing enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the use of police resources.
The Method of Addressing Security Issues Using Community Policing
The process of addressing issues in the society using the community model of policing involves the use of the four-step SARA method. SARA is the acronym for scanning, analysis, response, and assessment. Scanning involves identifying and prioritizing the problem. It is essentially the collection of information about the issue and using the information to define various aspects such as the nature and scope of the issue (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, 2013). After defining the problem, objectives are developed to guide the next three steps.
The analysis phase involves assessing the issue to develop a deeper understanding. It also yields valuable insights into the success and limitations of existing interventions for managing the problem. A deeper understanding of the issue facilitates the detection of trends and patterns, which further reveals correlations among various factors.
The response phase is where the solution is developed and implemented based on the insights acquired during the analysis stage (Tilley, Bullock & Erol, 2013). This stage should make considerations of the concerns and interest of various stakeholders of the problem at hand. The implementation process should be inclusive to leverage the resources, abilities, and talents of community members and law enforcers.
The assessment stage is the evaluation of the achievement and failures of the implementation process (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, 2013). The weaknesses of the strategy are identified and addressed accordingly to guarantee the success of the strategy.
Weaknesses of Community Policing and Their Solutions
There are concerns that the accountability of police officers will be eliminated despite being significant to their professional ethics. Community policing shifts the accountability of officers in law enforcement to the community, thereby, create loopholes for the negligence of their responsibilities.
The increased autonomy and greater discretion brought by community policing increase the risk of losing control of their departments (Peak, 2013). The shifting of accountability results in the shift of their loyalty to the community. As a result, it becomes hard to define the responsibilities of police officers.
Community policing may promote unfair or bias treatments and corruption in service delivery. Community-police partnership facilitates the creation of a personal relationship. Law enforcers develop the tendency to favor certain groups at the expense of others. The increased autonomy and discretion of the police creates loopholes for entertaining corruption (Peak, 2013).
The best approach to reducing the limitations of community policing is through its gradual adoption. Blending the traditional, professional, and community models may help in addressing the disadvantages of community policing. Establishing an ethical framework for community policing may help in creating an environment that does not favor corruption and favoritism. Cultural changes, particularly the perception, expectations and acceptable behaviors of police and other stakeholders, are necessary (Miller, Hess& Orthmann, 2013).
Methods of Communicating
The following methods will be used to disseminate the key messages of this communication plan.
1. Discussing aspects of community policing in public events
This approach requires personnel with a good understanding of community policing to talk about its aspects, benefits, and role of stakeholders during its adoption. The personnel educates the community members attending public functions such events in educational institutions, community forums, and political meetings among others.
2. Local Media
TV and radio stations can be used for educating the public and the police about various aspects of community policing. This approach is effective given a large number of the audience it reaches.
3. Print Media
Newspapers and magazines can be used to raise awareness of community policing and the need for changing policing methods. It is advantageous because it provides the opportunity for discussing community policing at length.
4. Social Media
Due to the increased online presence of the public, using online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and other social media is an effective way of disseminating information about community policing.
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Archbold, C. A. (2013). Policing: A text/reader. SAGE
Bayerl, P. S., Karlović, R., Akhgar, B., & Markarian, G. (2017). Community Policing - A European Perspective: Strategies, Best Practices and Guidelines. Cham Springer International Publishing.
Burke, R.J. (2016). Stress in Policing: Sources, Consequences and Intervention. Routledge.
De Guzman M., Das & Das A. (2013). The Evolution of Policing: Worldwide Innovations and Insights. CRC Press
Eide E. B. & Holm T. T. (2013). Peacebuilding and Police Reform, Routledge.
Giwa, S., James, C. E., Anucha, U., & Schwartz, K. (2014). Community policing—a shared responsibility: A voice-centered relational method analysis of a police/youth-of-color dialogue. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 12(3), 218-245.
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Tilley, N., Bullock, K., & Erol, R. (2013). Problem-oriented policing and partnerships. Routledge.
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