COMMUNITY-ORIENTED POLICING AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
A myriad of creative approaches in the criminal justice systems of the world have been established over the last two decades in an attempt to lessen or curb the domestic violence incidences in us and across the world. Different law urgencies have now put in place policies that authorize arrest for domestic violence. Such domestic handling options as evidence-based prosecution, no-drop policies and special advocates allocated domestic violence cases have also been adopted by prosecutors. Moreover, in the extension of the community policing initiative the law enforcement outfits have also established partnership with communities in a bid to fight the crisis. According to (Feltes 2000) community-oriented policing has resulted into a reduction of up to 30% of domestic violence case in some states of America. In fact, (Kasturirangan 2008) forecasts that if sufficiently implemented, community oriented policing will result in a 70% reduction in the current incidences of domestic violence in the USA alone. But how intimate is the solving of domestic violence and community-oriented policing? How does the community-oriented policing work within the complexities involved in domestic violence? Can anything be improved for the betterment of the process? This paper seeks to explore these questions. The author of this paper believes that if well managed community-oriented policing can blend within the dynamics of domestic violence and create lasting solutions among families.
It is no doubt that the concept of community oriented policing has been on a continuum of evolution. Since its initiation, several legal and social changes have occurred within the society to improve the experience of community- oriented policing. The following section explores the evolution.
According to (Lumb and Wang 2006) community-oriented policing (COP) is made up of certain core components that make it possible to use as a problem solving tool. Below are the major components of community-oriented policing:
Firstly, COP must be strategic-oriented. According to (Matud 2007) strategic oriented policing entails the adoption of preventive and proactive methods of problem and crime elimination. Matud (2007) particularly notes that something is strategic when it has a profound impact on the whole firm; impacts on any of the strategic factors (human resource, performance, financial, corporate culture etc); creates a competitive advantage; futuristic and impacts change management. In the context of COP, this will thus be achieved through the establishment of a stronger relationship and partnership with the communities. As Matud (2007) notes, increased number of police officers in the communities may increase police-community conflicts and thus inadvisable. Strategically, thus the relationship between the few officers and the community can be enhanced, the community members encouraged to report crimes and problems and thus collective prevent crimes and societal problems.
Neighborhood-oriented policing (NOP) is another core component of the COP. (Reisig 2010) defines NOP as an interactive policing process involving the police officers securing certain beat jurisdictions and the citizens either residing or working in the beat jurisdictions collaborating to establish problem and concern identification means. This is then followed by a mutual assessment of viable solutions through the provision of resources available both from the community and the police departments in addressing the problems established. In his study of COP, Reisig (2007) identified four main components of NOP namely: contact; communication; trust; and information exchange. He believes that for the success of NOP the officer must come into contact with the community, communicate to them the intentions of the police department. This communication results in the development of trust which eventually increases information exchange. In essence, NOP also involve police driven community trainings and education including drug awareness, DWI awareness, neighborhood watch, school programs and community meetings.
Coined by Golstein (1979), POP is “a model that required the police to be proactive in identifying underlying problems that could be targeted to alleviate crime at its roots.” Golstein (1979) noted that apart from dealing with crime, police had other societal problems to solve such as physical and social disorders. In this regard, they had to extend their mandate from the traditional enforcement of criminal law to the consideration of civil statutes. This way problem would be addressed before crime or disorders lead into disaster. This POP approach was later expounded by Eck and Spelman (1987) in their SARA model- an acrony model for Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assesment. SARA model, which have since then become very popular in practice, illustrated the steps that should be followed in POP.
For COP to be successful, the police officers must be able to build a strong relationship with the citizens. According to Sidebottom and Tilley (2011), the building of trust must involve good communication. They further note that the communication should always be done in contact with the citizens in a manner that ensures that the information that citizens exchange is not only acted upon but also not used against the source. Moreover, they argue that the organization of education and training events such as school programs, drug awareness and such increases contact among the police and the citizens and thus trust. In his view increased positive contact results in increased trust and thus helpful information exchange.
The connection between domestic violence and COP is not new. Early literature although few noted that domestic violence could be solved through COP. Reisig (2011) noted that domestic violence can result into murder which is criminal and therefore if addressed through the POP component of COP it can be averted. However, posited that mediation other than arrests could be used in COP efforts to curb domestic violence although he accepted that this could trivialize the vice and introduce new complications. Nevertheless, COP through NOP and intimate community partnership could easen access to domestic violence incidences at early stages and address them before they turn dangerous through mediation, counseling and other negotiation methods. B. What is domestic violence? 1. Minnesota Domestic Violence Experiment (MDVE)? The organization conducted a study regarding the police responses in cases of partner violence. The response of the police officers differed wherein one set separated the partners, one attempted to mediate the contending parties and the last response was to make mandatory arrest (McClennen 2010). Through this experiment, the offenders and the victims were monitored and were continually interviewed until six months after the incident. Through this way, the police organization was able to follow up whether their responses for the incidents were effective or not.
Due to restrictions under the law, police response in cases of domestic violence was only to check and report regarding the incidents. They were not allowed to make an arrest and not to intervene within the family matter. This caused inefficiency on part of the officers to avoid future violence.
After MDVE, different states started to amend their laws regarding arrests of violent partners. Changes in their approach were made wherein large percentage of police organizations use arrest as a form of stopping the offenders. Other states also changed their approaches and made sure that once there are reports, they will implement mandatory arrests.
According to Ellis et al (2014), there was a decrease in reports of assaults in states where mandatory arrests are applicable. However, there was increase in cases of homicides between intimate partners as some try not to report the incidence of violent as they do not want their partners to be arrested.
Community oriented police work can help in mitigating the number of domestic violence as the police can respond with the said incidents swiftly through this approach. Approaches such as NOP can help in improvement of reports of the cases so as to immediately mediate the conflicting parties. A proactive approach can help abused partners to instantly contact the officers once violence occurs. Working closely with the community is the best way to diminish problems within it. 1. Community/police relationships and domestic violence? a. Community coalitions; social programs and interested groups. Community coalitions such as women organizations can help in mitigating violence wherein reports can be easily made and that said incidents can be tackled within the said groups. Partnering with other anti-violence organization can help in avoiding offenses that usually occurs at home. Social programs can be used as a mode of educating the people of the community on how important that they need to be aware of the violence and what may be its effect in the future. b. Community responses to domestic violence; community support networks. Spakowski and Milwerts (2006) posited that a powerful community support network serves as the external condition for effective intervention of men’s domestic violence against women. The network can be used as a release for the battered partners and serve as their support if ever the problem will still occur. The support network must be organized by the community itself as the beneficial outcome will be for them in the end. c. Response partnerships; police and community leaders. The community leaders must be an instrument towards assuring that the police will be active in mitigating the problem and be alert whenever a violence report is being reported. Through a series of competent communication strategy, the police officers will be able to respond quickly and can even save the victim from future danger. The partnership between the police and community leaders is inevitable if one wants to assure that there is protection and safety within the community. A viable means of communication can be set up to help the members of police force to swiftly provide their response. This may cost the community in some way, but the benefits can be seen in the end if such system will be implemented. II. Conclusion Community-oriented policing is definitely a good approach towards lessening the cases of domestic violence. Though the issues may be personal for some families, the intervention of police authority is needed especially if it will be threatening for the victims and also to some other members of the family. Building ties with the community is assuring that the said community will be protected from future harm. Acquiring a systematic approach towards the said policing may help in more competent police organizations which may be used as a model for other states. References: Ellis, D., Stuckless, N. & Smith, C. (2014), Marital Separation and Lethal Domestic Violence, Routledge:UK. Feltes, T. (2002). Community-oriented Policing In Germany: Training And Education. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 25(1), 48-59. Kasturirangan, A. (2008). Empowerment And Programs Designed To Address Domestic Violence. Violence Against Women, 14(12), 1465-1475. Lumb, D. R., & Wang, D. Y. (2006). The Theories and Practice of Community Problem-Oriented Policing: a Case Study. The Police Journal, 79(2), 177-193. Matud, M. (2007). Dating Violence And Domestic Violence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 40(4), 295-297. McClenne, J. (2010), Social Work and Family Violence: Theories, Assessment, and Intervention. Springer Publishing Company:NY. Reisig, M. (2010). Community and ProblemOriented Policing. Crime and Justice, 39(1), 1-53. Sidebottom, A., & Tilley, N. (2011). Improving problem-oriented policing: The need for a new model?. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 13(2), 79-101. Spakowski, N. & Milwertz,, C. (2006), Women and Gender in Chinese Studies, LIT Verlag.
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