A Look at the Different Approaches in Community Policing in the United States and Great Britain

Last Updated: 15 Mar 2023
Pages: 3 Views: 98

Community policing is a value system of allocating various police officers to particular neighborhoods so that they can become familiar with the locals. The primary goal here is to work cooperatively with the community to prevent crime (Casady, 2006). It is intended as a proactive measure to ensure public safety through deterring crime and problem-solving techniques. Therefore, the police officers are permanently decentralized to specific locations for their duty. In the USA, Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) was established in 1994 with the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

However, this practice originally credited to the London Metro Police Department which was used to assigning officers to ‘beats’ since the 1830s (Ahlin and Gibbs, 2012). It is thus an old practice, which has gained popularity and in different places due to revolutionary police reforms. This paper thus seeks to address the differences in approaches of community policing in the USA and in Britain and measures that each region can adopted to better enhance security.

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In Britain, community policing is enhanced through numerous recruits to facilitate wider coverage of the community. A larger workforce also enables quicker response and back-up in the event of a huge crime. This implementation has been facilitated by government funding to increase the commitment of the police service to beefing up security. Decent allowances are accorded to the police officers who risk their lives for the sake of community well-being. Britain also specializes in police training to facilitate easy recognition and tracking of criminal activity as well as appropriate socializing with community to get feedback and build trust with the locals (Ahlin and Gibbs, 2012).

The British community policing system operates in form of teams of two or three police officers patrolling a geographic radius depending on the population size. These teams are often supervised and given instructions for e.g. arresting stubborn criminals. Britain brags of these efforts in police service as crime has reduced today by 58% since 2004. However, this can also be credited to economic considerations (Casady, 2006).

In the USA, community policing is largely effective through the emphasis of quality of practice. This entails proper arrest and prosecution of offenders without favor or corruption. This has largely enabled the community to build confidence in the police service. Timely intervention has also been a focus of community policing in America (Bertus, 1996). However, the USA can borrow tactics from Britain to improve their COPS system whereby, the focus is on sustainability of safety. This is done by officers going beyond their proactive duty and focusing on teaching the locals, mainly kids and the youth good behavior (Cordner, 2010). By reinforcing positive skills of ethics and living, the community becomes much safer. The police embrace this additional role as part of their duty.

Nonetheless, it is prudent to note that social expectations and customs influence community policing. A society that demands more transparency and accountability from the police service, earns greater security as compared to a society where corruption is rampant and the community does not have trust in the police. Culture also shapes community policing across international boundaries since different cultures have different values and norms that define morality, reinforcement of good ethics and appropriate punishment (Watson et al, 1998). However, the goal should be to minimize crime and enhance community safety.

Strategic research in areas of improvement in the COPS system and proper decision making as well as management of the police teams can help build safer communities for years to come.


  1. Ahlin, E. and Gibbs, J. (2012). The Chicken or the Egg. Police Practice and Research. Web. Retrieved 17Ih July, 2015.
  2. Bertus, F. (1996). The Use and Effectiveness of Community Policing in a Democracy.
  3. Washington, D.C: Prod National Institute of Justice.
  4. Casady, T. (2006). Community Based Policing. Lincoln: Interline.
  5. Cordner, G. W. (2010). Community Policing Elements and Effects. In R. G. Dunham, & G. P.
  6. Alpert, Critical Issues in Policing (pp. 432-449). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press Inc. Watson, Elizabeth. M, Alfred. R. S. and Stuart. M. D. (1998). Strategies for Community
    Policing. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall Inc.

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A Look at the Different Approaches in Community Policing in the United States and Great Britain. (2023, Mar 15). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-look-at-the-different-approaches-in-community-policing-in-the-united-states-and-great-britain/

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