Community Policing is the process by which police and other community members' partner to improve community wellbeing, safety and security through joint problem identification, analysis, response and evaluation.
Community Policing refers to a continuum of police service in all communities all the time. It encompasses a wide range of tactics and strategies ? all of which are designed to help the community be and remain, well, safe and secure.
What front-line police officers do in Community Policing depends on the community situation in which they find themselves. The continuum of police service that's required by Community Policing can range from high impact police patrol, enforcement and intelligence gathering where there are serious and repetitive offenses and threats to peoples' safety and security; to relatively benign information-sharing, and inter-agency support for others' efforts to improve community well-being and prevent bad things from happening where there are no threats.
Sir Robert Peel's "...the police are the people and the people are the police....? simply reflects that police and all the community members they serve share equal responsibility for Community Policing. Particular roles and actions vary from one police service to another, depending on mandates, capabilities and resources. But the bottom-line is that ensuring everyone's safety, security and well-being is a big enough job in any community that it requires the combined efforts of everyone. That's Community Policing.
The Goals of Community Policing
The goals of Community Policing vary with the condition and situation of the neighbourhood in which it is being applied. For example, where there are very few threats to safety and security and citizens have lots of personal capacities (like time, energy, finances, skills and knowledge) to bring to community safety and security, then Community Policing can focus on issues like enrichment programs for adults and seniors, and other aspects of community wellness.
Ontario's Mobilization & Engagement Model of Community Policing
Ontario's new model of Community Policing makes a significant departure from its 1996 predecessor insofar as it lays out a number of tactical and operational considerations for the Belleville Police Service and their community partners. Further, it encourages them to select particular tactics based on a thorough analysis of the problems they are setting out to resolve, the particular goals of their Community Policing intervention, and the capacities of the neighbourhoods in which they are proposing to operate.
Select the the Community Policing Wheel LINK to review thr new model.
The model shows the tactical considerations in the margins outside the Community Policing wheel. Each is briefly defined and described in the paragraphs that follow.
- Crime Analysis: The use of statistics and other information about the nature and incidence of crime and anti-social events, from police and other data bases (e.g. social service providers, public utilities, schools, etc.), in order to discern patterns of social behaviour that help guide the police and community in determining priorities for corrective action (frequently known among police services as "intelligence-led policing?).
- Enforcement: Coordinated police response including directed patrol and intelligence gathering may be needed at any time, in any neighbourhood. But often it is an early consideration for Community Policing in those neighbourhoods that are experiencing high levels of crime or anti-social behaviour and repeat offenses.
- Monitoring Crime Reduction: Closely watching the incidence of calls-for-service, occurrences and victimization; then comparing those rates to previous periods in order to discern whether things are getting better or worse.
- Initiate Problem-solving: Police or any other community member can start the process of identifying which problems to resolve, pulling together the resources needed to resolve them, and taking actions that achieve the desired results.
- Mobilize Partners: A deliberate process of finding the individual and organizational assets in a community, that are needed to not only reduce the incidence of crime and anti-social behaviour, but also keep it from happening again.
- Problem-oriented Policing (POP): A strategy that involves identifying and analyzing specific crime and disorder problems, in order to develop effective responses. It places more emphasis on research and analysis as well as crime prevention and the engagement of public and private organizations in the reduction of community problems. Officers and their community partners are encouraged to discover the root causes of the problem and come up with ways of solving them. The goal is to find a cure for the ailment instead of merely treating the symptoms
- Monitoring Crime Prevention: One way of monitoring crime prevention is to observe whether trends in crime and anti-social behaviour are going up or down. Of course this requires baseline data to which current statistics can be compared. Where baseline data is not available, current rates of occurrences become baselines for future measures of trends in crime prevention. In these situations crime prevention can be monitored by noting the rate of application of situational crime prevention measures.
- Liaison: Set up some channel of reliable communication between key community members and select police officers so that if and when the community identifies any is-sue on which they'd like police inputs, they may reach out to police with some expectation that they will talk to someone whom they know and trust, and who knows their basic situation.
- Public Education: These include a variety of methods for police to inform members of the public about ways they may make themselves safer and more secure. They can range from formal presentations on target hardening techniques (like double-bolt locks), to multi-day courses on situational crime prevention measures like CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design), to informative brochures about bicycle safety, or drug awareness, etc.
- Monitoring At-risk Groups: Every community, no matter how low the incidence of crime or anti-social behaviour contains groups or individuals who are at greater risk of offending or victimization than others. They could be senior citizens, or children or youth living in abusive family situations. The point is that lots of people in community ? not just police officers ? have the capacity to discern those who are at risk (teachers, pastors, neighbours, social service providers etc.). It is important for all of us to take positive actions that help these people avoid being hurt, or hurting others.
- Partnering on Early-intervention: It is important for us to support the efforts of others who are working to help prevent victimization or offending by those community members who are at particular risk because of circumstances in their life conditions. An example would be our school liaison officer participating in a meeting with a 12-year old, his/her social worker, the school vice principal and parents while they figure out how to get the child the help he or she needs to perform and behave more constructively. In many of these situations our officer's presence is simply a reminder to others that if early interventions in this child's life are not effective, then it is possible that future, more coercive interventions by police may become necessary.
- Engage Leaders: Police cannot provide initiative and leadership in resolving community problems everywhere. Where community resources are relatively plentiful, it is more important for us to find those community members who have the skills and the motivation to play a leadership role in community problem-solving. Then just support them in that role.
- Consultation: Ad hoc or periodic meetings with intentional groups on which we wish to rely for advice on community problem-solving priorities and strategies. An ex-ample would be youth advisory group that meets with our Community Resource Officers once a month.
- Monitoring Hazards: Even in the safest neighbourhoods (where there are the fewest criminal or anti-social occurrences or calls-for-service), there are hazards that can put community members at risk. Traffic in a school-zone is a good example. It is only judicious for us and our community partners to do a risk assessment and then monitor potential hazards at least until their potential for damage is mitigated by corrective measures.
What is Zone Policing?
The Belleville Police Service believes the Community Policing philosophy is an integral
part of modern policing. The Belleville Police Service has embraced this philosophy and incorporated the philosophy into Zone Policing. Uniform patrol officers are assigned to specific Zones on a regular basis.
Having officers routinely assigned to the same geographical area, or Zone allows them to build strong partnerships with the residents and the business owners of their area. In addition to their regular patrol duties officers respond to crime trends determined by their observations, through crime analysis and the request of residents. Team meetings are held so that all the officers assigned to the particular zone may share information, thereby, empowering them to be more effective in proactively reducing crime. Each zone has a Zone Supervisor identified who will oversee the team.
The concept behind zone policing is to make officers familiar with one particular area of Belleville and allow residents in those zones to see the same officers on a regular basis. The City of Belleville is divided into three separate policing zones to better enable officers to police their specific areas of responsibilities.
Familiarity will breed effectiveness for officers and citizens in the zones, striving for "Service Excellence?.
Which Zone do you live in?
The city is divided into 3 zones for police operations. The zones are identified as follows:
Zone 1 ? shall include area as defined: the northern most city of Belleville boundary, including the west and east boundary south to Highway 401, including both sides of Bell Boulevard as far west as Hannah court and east to North Front Street. All of North Front Street, Front Street, and Pinnacle Street with the south boundary of Dundas Street East.
Ø Two Sergeants and four officers per Platoon assigned.
Zone 2 ? shall include the area as defined: the west boundary of Wallbridge-Loyalist Road, south boundary is the Bay of Quinte, including East and West Zwick's; east boundary, starting from the south: is the Moira River, and the area west of North Front Street to Bell Boulevard, the north boundary is the area south of Bell Blvd, to Hannah Court, then south of Highway 401.
Ø One Sergeant and two officers per Platoon assigned.
Zone 3 ? shall include the area as defined; the west boundary is the area west of North Front Street continuing south to the area west of Pinnacle Street. The south boundary is the Bay of Quinte Shore, including Victoria Park. The west boundary is the western boundary for the City of Belleville. The north boundary is Highway 401.
Ø One Sergeant and two officers per Platoon assigned.