TNO, May 2017
To facilitate the successful implementation and exploitation of the solution developed by INSPEC2T, the project proposes a maturity model for IT‐enabled community policing (CP). The maturity model is intended as a multi‐faceted tool. Its uses can range from planning to monitoring of Community Policing goals, be they at a strategic or operational level or of a technical, organizational, or a legal nature. Central to the maturity model is that it should reflect the philosophy of CP “built on the belief that people deserve and have a right ‘to have a say’ in policing in exchange for their participation and support”.1 As such, the maturity model fulfils two main functions.
- Firstly, it helps assess the degree of sophistication (or maturity) of specific IT‐enabled CP systems. It does so by considering many dimensions, including socio-cultural; legal and ethical; technological and organizational. In other words, it assesses if the organization has the necessary vision, financing, staffing, specialist knowledge, technical assistance, communication means, legal support, social awareness, community network and support, etc. considered necessary for good IT‐enabled community policing.
- Secondly, the model offers LEAs the possibility of measuring their goals for the future against already achieved maturity levels of IT‐enabled community policing. This “reality check” can help them reformulate goals, make changes in the allocation of resources if and where needed, monitor developments and the need for strategic changes over time, etc.
The INSPEC2T maturity model defines five progressive levels (or stages) for IT‐enabled CP (see figure below), ranging from a first, prospective stage to a more sophisticated transactional/networked stage. Each level, except the initial one, is incremental in nature, in that it incorporates and builds on the achievements of the previous one.
Figure 1. Proposed maturity stages for IT‐enabled community policing. Based on UN EGDI.
The methodology is accompanied by a series of recommendations regarding its use. These were formulated so as to reflect the user‐centric and user‐driven aim of community policing, the fundamentally dynamic character of this new type of policing; and to contribute to the remaining tasks of the project, most notably the baseline assessment estimating the maturity level of test case settings and that will help further refine the maturity model. The recommendations stress, among other issues, that the maturity model should be considered as a means to help the police monitor and fulfil its public tasks. The maturity model is explicitly neither intended, nor suitable for comparing and ranking adopters according to the level reached. Furthermore, the different maturity phases should not be seen as a necessary or mandatory progression for communities choosing to adopt this type of policing. Only the specific circumstances and requirements of each community dictate the maturity stage best suited for that community. Another recommendation underscores the long‐term commitment required, in term of resources (human and financial) both on the part of the police and the communities they serve, before any significant change and results can be expected. Additionally, the success of the adoption of IT‐enabled systems for the CP in the 21st century is likely to depend significantly on the degree to which they are incorporated in traditional policing practices and organizational structures rather than exist in isolation. That, however, should not mean an increase in the workload of LEAs.
The INSPEC2T maturity model methodology briefly described above, together with the use recommendations and several assumptions regarding IT-enabled community policing, are currently being tested at the pilot sites of the project. In a future blog entry, we shall update you on the results of the test.
1 Ken Peak, K & Glensor R. W. (2011), Community Policing and Problem Solving: Strategies and Practices, Pearson