It will then look at how community policing is defined and examine the theories and principles that underpin it.
This section will also outline how community policing is put into practice by examining both specific types of community policing initiatives as well as various case-studies of jurisdictions that have adopted community policing and/or implemented different components of a general community policing framework.
In addition to the traditional forms of policing outlined in previous sections of this report, a reemergence of so called “community policing” and community policing initiatives has become widespread across Canada as well as many other nations.
Generally, community policing is marked by a move away from centralized police departments that practice reactive policing, to more decentralized police structures that emphasize a proactive, problem-solving approach where the police work in close partnership with the communities they serve. Indeed, few police services or elected officials wish to distance themselves from the rhetoric of community policing or community policing initiatives.
Practitioners agree that there is, and has been, a pressing need for innovative practices within policing to help curb what some would consider a “crisis of violence” within many communities.
The changing nature and elevated level of crime seen throughout Western nations in the 1970s, 1980s, and into the early 1990s caused police to seek more effective methods to curb disorder and control crime.
Police brutality often sparked urban disorder, and some members of the public perceived the police as being at the forefront of maintaining an unjust and discriminatory society (Gaines and Le Roy-Miller, 2006).
Perceptions of the police, particularly in terms of police legitimacy, have increasingly been viewed as important.
Many police departments adopted top-down, militaristic, hierarchical management systems that imposed greater accountability on police managers and emphasized police professionalism.
Many have argued that advances in policing methods and technologies, such as motorized patrols, radio dispatching, and use of rapid response techniques, created a greater rift between the community and the police.