02 February 2020 | Source | E. W. AFRICA, EUROPE
In the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) context, the transition to more community-based approaches is vital as it allows the police and the community to work closely together in creative ways to solve problems including radicalization. Community policing adds a vital, proactive element to the traditional reactive role of the police, allowing police to work with people on developing immediate as well as long-term solutions for community concerns in ways that encourage mutual accountability and respect.
In addition, a move to community policing can reduce perceptions where the police are seen as discriminatory, corrupt and/or heavy-handed individuals, people, including from marginalized groups. There is evidence that actual or perceived overly-coercive policing tactics can serve as a key driver of violent extremism.
The community policing model allows for a reliable and mutual flow of information between the public and the police, as well as effective security partnerships with community leaders and local organizations. The Community Oriented Policing for CVE program seeks to affect sustainable organizational and behavioral change in partnering countries. This is achieved through strong partnerships with Police Academies (or analogous institutions) in countries of focus to develop revised curricula for police officers to ensure that a community policing ethos is promoted from the earliest stages of training.
By working within the police academy infrastructure, the COP for CVE program promotes a community policing ethos throughout the entirety of the policing institution. This cultural shift endeavors to raise awareness amongst officers on the benefits of a community-oriented approach. It is also important they realize the detrimental effect that unconscious bias or unintentionally harsh tactical responses may have in encouraging radicalization and recruitment to VE groups. The program promotes a set of additional knowledge and skills-based sessions, as well as andragogical good practice, to be embedded in the national policing curriculum. By engaging at the existing training level, it aims to foster a community orientation throughout the entirety of the policing service; starting at the initial training for new recruits, and reinforced through on-going training for in-service officers.
To promote an appreciation of the positive effect that a Community Oriented Policing Service can have on preventing and countering violent extremism
To encourage a community orientation throughout the entirety of the policing service, for it be recognized as an organizational approach
Work with police leadership, academy trainers, and those responsible for curriculum review and reform, to assess existing academy curriculum, draft and implement new (or augment existing) training modules and methodologies for new recruits and in-service officers
Train police academy trainers to deliver revised material in support of its adoption into the national curriculum, with commitment for ongoing review
Continued work with each of the countries of focus to further their adoption of a community-oriented policing ethos, through sustained engagement with their respective police academy training institutions.