Principles | Belleville Police Service
Crime Prevention
Belleville Police Service
Partners With The Community

Emergency: [9-1-1]  Non Emergency: 613 966-0882  Hearing Impaired: 613 966-3788

THE TEN PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNITY POLICING

1. Community Policing is both a philosophy and an organizational strategy that allows the police and community residents to work closely together in new ways to solve the problems of crime, fear of crime, physical and social disorder, and neighbourhood decay. The philosophy rests on the belief that law-abiding people in the community deserve input into the police process, in exchange for their demand freeing both people to explore creative, new ways to address neighbourhood concerns beyond a narrow focus on individual crime incidents.

2. Community Policing's organizational strategy first demands that everyone in the department, including both civilian and sworn personnel, must investigate ways to translate the philosophy into practice. This demands making the subtle but sophisticated shift so that everyone in the department understands the need to focus on solving community problems in creative, new ways that can include challenging and enlisting people in the process of policing themselves, Community Policing also implies a shift within the department that grants greater autonomy to line officers, which implies enhanced respect for their judgement as police professionals.

3. To implement true Community Policing, police departments must also create and develop a new breed of line officer, the Community Policing Officer (CPO), who acts as the direct link between the police and people in the community. As the department's community outreach specialists, CPOs must be freed from the isolation of the patrol car and the demands of the police radio, so that they can maintain daily, direct, face to face contact with the people they serve in a clearly defined beat area.

4. The CPOs broad role demands continuous, sustained contact with the law-abiding people in the community, so that together they can explore creative new solutions to local concerns involving crime, fear of crime, disorder, and decay, with private citizens serving as unpaid volunteers. As full-fledged law enforcement officers, CPOs respond to calls for service and make arrests, but they also go beyond this narrow focus to develop and monitor broad-based, long-term initiatives that can involve community residents in efforts to improve the overall quality of life in the area over time. As the community's ombudsman, CPOs also link individuals and groups in the community to the public and private agencies that offer help.

5. Community Policing implies a new contract between the police and the citizens it serves, one that offers the hope of overcoming widespread apathy, at the same time it restrains any impulse to vigilantism. This new relationship, based on mutual trust, also suggests that the police serve as a catalyst, challenging people to accept their share of the responsibility for solving their own individual problems, as well as their share of the responsibility for the overall quality of life in the community. The shift to Community Policing also means a slower response time for non-emergency calls and that citizens themselves will be asked to handle more of their minor concerns, but in exchange this will free the department to work with people on developing long-term solutions for pressing community concerns.

6. Community Policing adds a vital proactive element to the traditional reactive role of the police, resulting in full-spectrum police service. As the only agency of social control open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the police must maintain the ability to respond to immediate crisis and crime incidents, but Community Policing broadens the police role so that they can make a greater impact on making changes today that hold the promise of making communities safer and more attractive places to live tomorrow.

7. Community Policing stresses exploring new ways to protect and enhance the lives of those who are most vulnerable -- juveniles, the elderly, minorities, the poor, the disabled, the homeless. It both assimilates and broadens the scope of previous outreach efforts, such as Crime Prevention and Police/Community Relations units, by involving the entire department in efforts to prevent and control crime in ways that encourage the police and law-abiding people to work together with mutual respect and accountability.

8. Community Policing promotes the judicious use of technology, but it also rests on the belief that nothing surpasses what dedicated human beings, talking and working together, can achieve. It invests in those who are on the front lines together on the street, relying on their combined judgment, wisdom, and expertise to fashion creative new approaches to contemporary community concerns.

9. Community Policing must be a fully integrated approach that involves everyone in the department, with the CPOs as specialists in bridging the gap between the police and the people they serve. The Community Policing approach plays a crucial role internally, within the police department, by providing information and assistance about the community and its problems, and by enlisting broad-based community support for the department's overall objectives.

10. Community Policing provides decentralized personalized police to the community. It recognizes that the police cannot impose order on the community from outside, but that people must be encouraged to think of the police as a resource they can use in helping to solve contemporary community concerns. It is not a tactic to be applied, then abandoned, but an entirely new way of thinking about the police role in society, a philosophy that also offers a coherent and cohesive organizational plan that police departments can modify to suit their specific needs.