Community Policing

Community Policing usually refers of the practices to improving trust between police and the community. It aims to transforming the overall policing and law enforcement culture in the country towards context-specific assignments through problem-solving strategies and feedback loops. It typically involves capacity development activities, legal framework development, awareness raising and performance management processes reform. It aims to change practices from a police force to a police service and shift behaviour from law enforcement to community safety and protection. In many fragile and conflict affected settings, community policing has been used as a strategy to contribute to conflict prevention, social cohesion, rebuilding the social contract and state legitimacy, as well as encourage the community to step-up its civic engagement with the state as partners in the design and delivery of key public services, such as security and justice.

UN Photo/Martine Perret

What does Community Policing mean?

Whilst each context has its own approach to community policing, programmatic strategies usually are hinged on concepts related to accountability, empowerment, transparency, service delivery, gender, equality commitments and human rights provisions; all managed through an array of police-community partnerships and problem-solving structures.


Community policing is an approach to police reform that is less centralised, less hierarchical, less structured and more involved in the community’s needs and priorities.


Community policing reform is a long-term process, which often involves shifts in political decision making, management and accountability reforms, legal process updates, capacity development, monitoring and feedback loops, community engagement frameworks and credible and effective partnerships across the formal and informal systems.


Community police reform has almost always been applied at a decentralised level and then scaled up gradually to the national level, notwithstanding the necessity of national political ownership of this engagement at the outset.

Selected Resources