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Rethinking community policing in international police reform

13 September, 2018



Community policing has often been promoted, particularly in liberal democratic societies, as the best approach to align police services with the principles of good security sector governance (SSG). The stated goal of the community policing approach is to reduce fear of crime within communities, and to overcome mutual distrust between the police and the communities they serve by promoting police citizen partnerships.

This SSR Paper traces the historical origins of the concept of community policing in Victorian Great Britain and analyses the processes of transfer, implementation, and adaptation of approaches to community policing in Imperial and post-war Japan, Singapore, and Timor-Leste.

The study identifies the factors that were conducive or constraining to the establishment of community policing in each case. It concludes that basic elements of police professionalism and local ownership are necessary preconditions for successfully implementing community policing according to the principles of good SSG.

Moreover, external initiatives for community policing must be more closely aligned to the realities of the local context.


About the Series

The SSR Papers provide innovative and provocative analysis on the challenges of security sector governance and reform. Combining theoretical insight with detailed empiracally-driven explorations of state-of-the-art themes, SSR Papers bridge conceptual and pragmatic concerns. Authored, edited and peer reviewed by SSR experts, the series provides in-depth discussion of a governance-driven reform agenda, addressing the overlapping interests of researchers, policy-makers and practitioners in the fields of development, peace and security

All of the SSR Papers are available for reading and download on the DCAF website.