Community Policing and Problem Solving

Reactive policing is essentially police work which takes place after a crime has taken place: investigative work, building a case, targetting a suspect, arrest and eventually court. Pro-active policing focuses more strategically on preventative strategies which include a community focus. Yet, defining community-oriented policing may be perceived as more of a philosophy than an approach whereby the police engage more fully with and develop working relationships with the community.2 This overall statement is consisted of a common structure adopted by policing organisations globally which involves four key aspects: the philosophical, the strategic, the tactical and finally, the organisational.3 Each dimension triggers the next. For example, the philosophical provides the core mandate under which key strategies may be developed. Subsequently, a tactical approach is constructed around the key strategies which in turn impacts on the grass-roots, organizational approach to policing. This is best exemplified by the following:
Philosophical statement: Identifying the community as pivotal to identifying issues relating to crime gt. Strategic statement: Police focus on community perceptions of crime, safety and the role of police and community in adopting preventative measures gt. Tactical statement: Police establish working relationships within the community to better understand current and emerging issues relating to crime (problem-oriented policing) gt. Organisational statement: coordinating activities and sharing information through established networks to address crime-related issues at a community level, thereby broadening the scope of the role of police within the community.