Securing the State – Part III
Published on: 26/12/2018
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Communities the world over, despite their varying social, cultural, geographic and ethnic differences, have common and shared values in their need for safety, security and wellbeing. We live in an age of increasing technical connectivity but many citizens and their communities are disconnected from the police who serve to keep them safe. It is this disconnection which currently raises acute concerns for national security policy-makers and senior police professionals who, in the context of tackling terrorism and preventing violent extremism, believe it is a space which becomes exploited by terrorists who espouse their extremist rhetoric to encourage division, while serving to radicalise and recruit those vulnerable in society to their violent and extremist causes.
In recognising this challenge and identifying the need to bridge the gap between the public and the police to tackle terrorism, there has over recent years been a fresh focus upon the role of Community Policing (CP) in preventing violent extremism at the most local level. This approach has signalled a re-dedication to the founding principles of policing established in 1829 by Sir Robert Peel of the London Metropolitan Police Force. Sir Robert Peel declared the key to preventing crime was not only earning the support of the public, but that every community member must share the responsibility of preventing crime while maintaining at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that “the police are the public and that the public are the police”. Widely acknowledged as the “Father of Modern Policing”, the core ideas and principles created by Sir Robert Peel and his commissioners remain as crucial and urgent today as they were two centuries ago.
Police officers and homeland security policy-makers at all levels must now understand the full extent to which CP can contribute towards local, regional, national and international counter-terrorism efforts because the contemporary phase of counter-terrorism has evolved important new trends, alongside palpable moves towards expansion and localism in which the amplification of CP to tackle higher national security terrorist threats has been an unprecedented development. This final paper of the Securing the State series will therefore examine and explore new models of CP to prevent terrorism, highlighting ways in which a fresh approach to CP, with police officers and partner agencies who are both informed of the terrorist threats in their locality and who conduct their collaborative duties through the lens of counter-terrorism, can directly prevent terrorism and protect the communities they serve.