BUILDING POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS
The relationship between the police to the community should be harmonious. The community relies upon the police department to protect and serve’’ and the police, in return, rely upon community support and cooperation in order to be effective. When communication and trust deteriorate, tensions build between the community and police and undermine their shared goal of safer communities. However, poor communication and lack of relationships between the police and communities served has widely and most frequently been perceived as the main architect to most of the problems between the both.
ENSURING COMMUNITY SAFETY AND SECURITY
One of the main priorities of any state government is to ensure the safety and security of the citizens and the people living within the country. In pursuance of this move, state governments have taken considerable measures to ensure that this goal is achieved. This does not only make them gain support and confidence from the citizenry but also help strengthen the perceived legitimacy of the particular government.
One of the most obvious moves towards achieving this goal is the establishing of security apparatus by an act of national assembly to provide security and also enforce low and order in the country. among these security apparatus are; police force, a national army, an immigration department, a prisons service, a fire and rescue service just to name a few, each of the these security formation contributes its quota in ensuring a safe secured environ for the citizenry.
In the Gambia crucial in the attainment of this national goal is the police that is constitutionally assigned the responsibility of enforcing law and order and maintaining internal security of the country. To accomplish this huge task, the police is involved in various duties from arresting, investing, public order management, patrolling VIP protection among others however, the police cannot do this in isolation. With other stakeholder and most importantly the public being one of the key stakeholder in ensuring safety and security as it play a vital role and also has most at stake. It is therefore prudent that the police force endeavor to start community safety and security programmes, this will aid in accomplishing its mandated task and also making the job easier for its members.
Community safety and security programmes (CSSP) provide a platform for the grassroots and resident to work in partnership with the police and other relevant agencies to tackle issue and problem affecting the local neighborhood. Such community concerns include crime, fire prevention road safety, youth delinquency between communities and security providers, inter-ethnic tensions and emergency preparedness. It is however, important to remember that people live integrated lives in which security concerns such as crime, violence, intimidation and disorder are often intimately linked to broader ‘human security’ issues related to people’s health, education and livelihoods.
Through this partnership, CSSP will serve to foster community cohesion and bonding and promote active citizenry among the Gambians. This will inspire the members of the public to take the safety and security of their communities in their own hands by either addressing problems at the community level or report concerns to the relevant agencies for timely response before situation worsen. A clear manifestation of such cohesion and community participation in the Gambia was in a case were a father reported his son to police for being in possession of a vehicle, knowing absolutely well that he couldn’t afford to buy such. This coincided with a report on a case of a missing vehicle, which the police were at the time investigating. Investigations later revealed that this man killed the driver to the vehicle, threw him inside an old well and made away with the vehicle. This and many other occasions in which members of the public took active in ensuring safety and security yielded good for the betterment of all.
To this extent, ‘’community’’ does not just refer to individual community members, but refers to all actors, groups and institutions within the specific geographic space. It therefore also includes civil society organizations, the police, other security formations and the local authorities. that are responsible for delivering different in that area.
According to the united nation development programmed [UNDP], community safety or community security [ CS] is a concept that seeks to operationalize human security, human development and state-building paradigms at the local level. The contemporary concept of community security, narrowly defined, includes both group security as in institutions like the police, the army, fire and rescue service etc. giving security to the public and personal security as in individual community member trying to take change of their own safety and security in their various communities. This approach focuses on ensuring that communities and this member are. ‘’Free from fear’’.
Like community safety and citizen security, it promotes a multi-stakeholder approach that is driven by an analysis of local needs. By emphasizing the ‘’community’’ aspect, the concept seeks to embrace both culture and contexts that are ‘’individual-oriented’’ and cultures and contexts that are ‘’group oriented’’, which applies in the Gambia and many African countries. Analyzing this and understanding the diverse nature of various communities helps identify what their needs concerns are thereby remedying them easily. No matter how hard the security formations work in trying to see it that this significant goal is achieved, it will not materialize if it is not complemented and appreciated by members of the public.
The customization of CS programs depends on the specific context, but a core characteristic of the approach is a bottom-up focus on security creation and stabilization. As an approach, CS is not dealing with security creation on a national level, for instance through top-down legislation or establishing security institutions at the government level. Instead it focuses on short- and long-term solutions to security problem in specific communities. The best and most appropriate approach to community security is about putting people in lead and helping them to improve their experience and awareness of safety and security. It is approach to programming and policy, but also a philosophy about what security is, who it is for and how it is delivered.
Security is the state of being free from fear, danger and harm of any kind. It is state of people living in peace and harmony. Security is for everybody, however, the needs and demands for security differ from community to community, situation to situation and individual to individual. In this article we tried to examine the ways in security can be delivered to member of the public allowing them take the leading mantle as main stakeholders. To this end the public is hereby urged to take not a passive but an active part in ensuring the safety and security of their communities. It is only the public that is everywhere at every time thereby being the only available tool in preventing or reducing the causes of insecurity like crime, public disorder, fire outbreaks, youth delinquency, unsafe act etc. which are also committed everywhere at every time.