INSPEC2T: combining smart policing and community policing for a more effective response to crime

ADITESS, March 2018

Smart Policing and Community Policing are called to provide solutions approaching crime from drastically different perspectives.

The former uses highly advanced technological means with drastic measures for the elimination of a criminal case, in minimal time, whilst the latter focuses on breaking down the barriers between the police and the citizens in an effort to build, in the long term, a culture of communication and transparency.

Regardless, both policing approaches have faced and still do face issues: smart policing has been characterised by low to moderate effects on targeted crime (revealing inadequate effectiveness of crime prevention and enforcement tactics to allow for a significant difference in crime measures), while various studies suggest that community and problem-oriented policing have had modest impacts on community crime with larger impacts being noticed on the quality of interaction between the police and the public (Greene, n.d.).

INSPEC2T combines the good qualities from both policing approaches, utilising advantages offered by both disciplines whilst trying to overcome their barriers.

INSPEC2T is heavily assisted by advanced technological tools capable of operating in real-time, achieving secured and targeted communication between involved stakeholders, whilst breaking down the barriers separating police from the public. Simultaneously, advances are also provided in aspects relevant to the development of coordinated service delivery with any number of public and private agencies that affect neighbourhood safety.

INSPEC2T also provides a seamless interface to legacy systems for information transmission to relevant agencies/organisations/ departments; assisting overcoming resistance from the subculture of the police, a subculture that is focused on danger, authority, and efficiency (Skolnick, 2011).

More often than not, the police are using traditional approaches to respond to problems identified in community settings. The research literature suggests that police officers’ conception of their roles and their attachment to police work are improving with the adoption of community and problem-oriented policing roles (Greene, n.d.).

Smart Policing emerged on the justice scene, formally and officially, in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). Ever since, Smart Policing Initiatives (SPIs) have fostered innovation in several areas; examples include

  • the identification of “micro-places”,
  • enhancements to crime analysis and intelligence analysis,
  • utilization of body-worn cameras and surveillance technology,
  • new approaches to offender-focused crime control strategies,

all incorporated as part of multifaceted strategies (Braga, Hureau, & Papachristos, 2011; Groff, Weisburd, & Yang, 2010).

Smart Policing represents an emerging paradigm that stresses crime reduction and promotes the improvement of the evidence base for policing. Smart Policing emphasizes effectively using data and analytics as well as improving analysis, performance measurement, and evaluation research; improving efficiency; and encouraging innovation (Coldren, Huntoon, & Medaris, 2013).

Contrary and still after several decades it was first introduced, community policing remains the most important innovation in policing today (Forman Jr, 2004). Called “the most significant era in police organisational change since the introduction of the telephone, automobile, and two-way radio” (Maguire & Wells, 2002).

Community policing has become a new orthodoxy for Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). Simultaneously ambitious and ambiguous, community policing promises to change radically the relationship between the police and the public, address underlying community problems, and improve the living conditions of neighbourhoods. One reason for its popularity is that community policing is a plastic concept, meaning different things to different people.