Community policing refers to a concept of policing where there is a shared responsibility and interdependence between the community and the police. This concept focuses on the establishment of an equal partnership between the public and the police. This approach towards policing takes into consideration the fact that policing should be geared towards the good of the public. The approach, therefore, involving the public in policing issues ensures that the services fit their security needs. However the rapid change in crime patterns must be followed by a restructuring of the community policing policies in order for these policies to keep up with the evolution of crime( Rufai, & Adigun, 2011). The negative perception of the police force also contributes to the preference of community policing as it keeps the public in touch with the issues unlike the traditional approach to policing.
The presence of a police virtual community which consists of an aggregate community of individuals who share mutual goals and interests is an achievement in the evolving community policing strategy. The community in such an instance receives support and keeps in touch with each other through the employment of technology. A virtual community in this regard may be dedicated to a goal or share a similar ideology. Communications in such a community is digital, and the community spread geographically and, therefore, does not follow the structure of the traditional community in terms of actual proximity. This approach is preferable as the police officers may lack the time for physical interactions with the public and even when they do the interaction is limited. Virtual communities, therefore, bridge the gap between public and police communications.
Rufai and Adigun (2011) provide that the evolving community policing strategies focus on the detection and deterrence of crime as these issues are conveyed to the consideration of the police in good time. Unlike the previous approaches to community policing, the virtual policing community is fast and accessible to the public. The approach increases the access by the public to information and law enforcement services. It increases transparency in the police force and creates a platform for dialogue between the police and the community. This method also enables accurate and timely information on crime and insecurity issues in the community. Reduction of information barriers is hugely a significant achievement by the virtual police community. With the presence of a virtual community sharing of information within the system and also across regions becomes remarkably straightforward and carried out with efficiency. Consequently the achievement of multijurisdictional coordination becomes available. Multi-disciplinary coordination also becomes available easily, and the sharing of information in order to deter and prevent crime becomes possible. Problem solving within the community becomes viable with the evolving system of community policing because the information received in respect to an issue is robust and assist in formulating policies aimed at the improvement of security within the community.
In order to formulate sound and actionable intelligence strategies, it becomes necessary to analyze data on an area or issue before arriving at these policies. Virtual policing communities provide the necessary data to facilitate this process and ultimately deter and prevents criminal activities. Organizational efficiencies also achievable through this system and enables timely responses to pertinent issues within the community. It also provides recruitment platform to ensure that the recruitment process is fair representative and transparent. A transparent police force is the key to security justice and forms the backbone of prevention and deterrence of crime.
Rufai, M.M. & Adigun, J O. (2011). Enhancing community policing using a virtual community model. International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security 9. 11 (Nov 2011): 119-124.