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Community Policing: Restoring Justice?

Martin, Margaret E
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Social Policy Times. 3(2). Research Center on Societal and Social Policy. Downloaded 2 March 2004.

Community policing, the new term for problem-solving, accountable to community policing, now the dominant paradigm of policing in the United States is rapidly becoming a preferred policy of policing internationally. This policing approach has been employed in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, India, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Malawi, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, South Africa, Trinidad, Zambia, and more. (excerpt)

Multiple policing practices which are essentially anti-bureaucratic, decentralized, responsive to the public, attentive to crime prevention and problem-solving have become known as “community policing.” The theory and method followed early disparate practices. Although many suggest that this approach is essentially a return to earlier forms of policing, some argue that this represents a heightened stage of the modern evolution of policing. Nonetheless, begun in various jurisdictions in the United States and quickly embraced by the National Institute of Justice, this style of policing has rapidly replaced previous types of policing activity in the United States to the level that more than 85 percent of the US population is now served by some type of community policing force.

But important questions need to be asked. How will this new paradigm of policing survive export? How does community policing fit for the special challenges of policing divided societies? And importantly, is community policing congruent with or contradictory to principles of restorative justice?


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