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Community and Problem-oriented Policing in the Context of Restorative Justice

Weitekamp, Elmar G. M
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In, Elmar Weitekamp and Hans-Jurgen Kerner, eds. Restorative Justice in Context: International Practice and Directions.Devon, UK and Portland Oregon: Willan Publishing. Pp. 304-325.

Problem-oriented policing and community policing both have the same philosophical roots and share some important characteristics. One of these characteristics is decentralization in order to encourage officer initiative and the effective use of local knowledge. Another is geographical rather than functionally defined subordinate units in order to develop local knowledge. And, finally, they share close interactions with local communities in order to facilitate responsiveness to, and cooperation with, the community. Problem-oriented policing tries to solve regional crime problems but the main focus is the solving of crimes and the underlying causes of crime through restructuring of the police force and changes in police organization. The main focus of community-oriented policing is the improvement of the relationship between the police and the citizens. A balanced and restorative police-community prevention program could address the shortcomings of existing problem- and community-oriented police concepts. The idea behind the balanced and restorative justice model was to develop a program for community supervision for juveniles. Restorative justice heavily emphasizes maximum involvement of the victim, the offender, and the community in the process of restoring peace. This model includes four key elements: accountability, community protection, competency development, and balance. But it is missing one major component: the police represented through their police officers. It is absolutely necessary to include the police in a model that is supposed to make a community safer, reduce fear of crime levels, create and implement successful prevention strategies, improve quality of life, and restore peace within the community.Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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