Community Policing and Intelligence Gathering, Essay Example
Law enforcement was earlier concerned about preventing theft, burglary and robbery and solving any crimes. Law enforcement earlier used to prevent and solve crimes that had an immediate effect on the quality of life of people or something that creates any visible impact on life of the local community. But terrorist threats have changed this and law enforcement to now require some more important actions and involves certain aspects that were not before. Terrorist threats can occur anywhere at any time and there is no way to determine the occurrence or impact of such an act. But organization of law enforcement has no other means but to adapt to those policing strategies that are in existence to ensure the security of people in the homeland.
Law enforcement agencies through their efficient methods were able to address the occurrence of crimes and were thus able to reduce the fear of such acts from the mind of people. They were able to ensure secure life to people and their property. One of the methods that they have adopted for this is to establish partnership with various private and public sector resources and communities. They have also applied tactics and problem solving strategies. Along with that culture and organization of the agency have also changed a lot. This paper tries to find out the role that police can play in tackling terrorism and to establish intelligence led policing plan capable enough to tackle the situation.
September 9/11 have changed all perspectives of law enforcement. With that incident every law enforcing agency came to understand that terrorism has grown as the biggest threat to law enforcement. Unlike other issues of robbery or theft terrorism is very difficult to tackle and prevent. Thus it is also clear that police can play a major role in preventing terrorism. This is because unlike other crimes done by a person or small group of people, terrorism is much more organized and planned activity. Any bombing or issue created by a terrorist act is the result of long term planning and is also having a clear mission behind it. Police are more close to the community than any other law enforcing agency and hence police can play a very active role in preventing terrorism. Police can learn about terrorist activities and investigate any threat caused to local communities by terrorists. It is also the duty of police to ensure that they provide protection to any vulnerable targets within their jurisdiction.
With usual current system adopted by police it won’t be possible to investigate terrorist acts. For this they need to improve present system and also need to accommodate greater adjustments to protect vulnerable targets. Police for preventing any terrorist acts will have to increase their expertise in security matters and crime prevention. One method that they can adopt for this is of community partnership in a different manner. They will have to develop partnership with private and public agencies in a wider arena and also establish close relationship with various businesses and community as a whole.
The attacks of 9/11 have made it clear that national security agencies cannot work alone and with such a strategy they won’t be able to prevent any future terrorist attacks. For preventing any future incidence it has become important that national security agencies work in partnership with local police and other agencies, both private and public. This is because local police and other agencies are working in more close relationship with common people and society and hence it will be easy for them to tackle any planning that takes place for a terrorist attack. They will able to identify any terrorists operating or living in a community and will also be able to coordinate a first response on the occurrence of any terrorist attacks. The role of local police in preventing terrorism is identified as something similar to preventing any other crimes (Kelling & Bratton, 2006). According to them counter terrorism is to be involved in everyday activities of law enforcing departments and must be included as an important point in their daily meetings.
In order to prevent terrorism it is necessary that the role that can be played by police officers is fed into their brains as part of their daily activity. Though terrorism is not a daily event and is rarer than an occurrence of murder, it is for the police officers ensure the safety of the local community. It will be police officers who will be held responsible for any such occurrence and thus it is better that method to resist the terrorist act is involved in their daily acts. But it is also true that police officers will have to develop new expertise and skills to perform this function.
Dealing with terrorism
As said earlier, terrorism is not like any other crime and people involved in this activity mostly lead a normal life in the eyes of others. Their plans and preparations are always covered and it is not easy for the police to identify terrorists and arrest them. Police in regular situation are also not able to prevent crimes easily and with their best effort it is only able to avoid or reduce only a small portion of crimes. There is no idea as to how this proportion can be increased even under regular situation. It is also a known fact that with the increasing number of offender’s police arrest and jail, new offenders emerge at almost the same speed. This is one reason that makes identifying and arresting terrorists become very difficult.
Terrorists are performing crimes on the basis of their beliefs and it is not possible to restrict others from performing similar acts by the fear or risk of punishment or death (Enders W., The Political Economy of Terrorism, 2006). It is not an easy act to identify or catch terrorist for they are more careful in their activities than other criminals. It is very usual for terrorists to operate from overseas and thus it is very difficult to catch them even if their identity is known. There are several countries that are sympathetic to the cause of action of terrorists and these countries played as safe land for them to plan and operate (Enders W., Is Transnational Terrorism Becoming More Threatening?, 2000). One example was the search conducted by various agencies for Osama bin Laden who was planning various terrorist activities from his safe hideout.
Terrorist are also different from other prisoners for they cannot be tried for their crime in open court. Increased concerns of security make them very difficult to be kept as a prisoner and in many cases captivity of a terrorist result in other disasters demanding release of prisoners. This is because those people who support such terrorist activity feel that any public disaster caused will be justified by them as for forcing their release. Terrorists are usually from hostile population and killing any one of them will make the situation even harder to control. Those terrorists who are killed are considered as martyrs and will be used as symbols to impress youngsters that are recruited to terrorism. None of these means that terrorists need not be hunted or punished. This was said to explain the need of incorporation of terrorism prevention in the daily activities of a police force. What can be done is to have an intelligence led policing practices that will be helpful in preventing terrorism.
Intelligence led policing
Intelligence led policing was the concept of Kent Constabulary, and this method was developed to prevent increased burglary during a time when budget of police was cut. It is based on this model that National Intelligence is working and United Kingdom’s 43 police forces are working in this method enabling new standards of data collection and processing. In the United States this method is practiced for collecting discrete data on terrorism which will make sense only when such data is combined (Peterson, 2005).
Intelligence led policing became popular with the incident of 9/11 and this method was used as a method to join various activities related to terrorism leading to an attack (Gladwell, 2003). It is the New York Police Department that promotes this system as a method to combat the incidence of terrorism. New York Police Department in order to prevent and counter terrorism have trained more than 1000 officers and has also hired counter terrorism experts along with intelligence experts in this field. The department also has offices, who are fluent in various foreign languages. In its effort to counter terrorism and to prevent it they are monitoring daily events reported by news services, intelligence reports etc. and they are also having agents in countries which are considered as hot spots of terrorism (Finnegan, 2005).
But even after so much investment this is not a flawless system because it operates basically on assumption. In this system it is assumed that if the police finds some activity which they feel doubtful or as abnormal like purchasing hydrogen peroxide in too much amount they can track the source of such an activity and destroy the chances of occurrence of a terrorist activity. People are involved in this act by alerting them to inform any information or suspicious act they find at leading to terrorism. But then the problem is that ‘suspicious’ is a term that cannot be easily defined and an act that someone feels suspicious might not create any suspicion in another person’s mind.
Another problem is that this system is depending mostly on agencies and individuals for information sharing and this information is then related or linked to each other for producing any evidence or intelligence. But it cannot be relied on for time is of great importance in preventing terrorism acts and this factor cannot be controlled by this system. Most departments that the agency depends on do not have any intelligence capacity and technological advancement and this can create so many flaws in the system (GeneralAccountingOffice, 2003). Another issue is that on issues of bias, jealousy etc. that will hamper several functions. There is no method to restrict or control human nature which is likely to jeopardize any information or investigation (Brown & Clarke, 2004).
Any issue that arises in a local community is the responsibility of local police and hence they have a better presence in their area of jurisdiction. They are also likely to have better relationships with local business owners and residents (Loyka, Faggiani, & Karchmer, 2005). Local police officers will also be able to understand any kind of changes, even if minor, that take place in their respective community due to their close association. They will also know religious leaders of the areas and will be able to reach out to them and seek their help in getting any information (Kelling & Bratton, 2006). This is one of the many roles that community policing can play in preventing terrorism. Police officers can be assigned to beat to various sections of the community and this will help to have a clear knowledge of residents and other people in the area. Such officers as they are spending more time in the community will be able to establish friendly relation with various people of the community. But still, this method also has several issues like police officers used in community policing needs special training, equipment’s etc. for tracing possible terrorist attacks. A conceptual framework that can be used with community policing to track and prevent terrorist activities is provided here in accordance with intelligence led policing.
Most important aspects in tackling terrorism is the capability of police to understand potential threat and its nature. This is of great importance in the formulation of a plan that is capable of protecting the targets.
First thing is to have proper planning and direction and for this it is necessary that terrorism is treated like any other crime. It is very common to treat a crime and an act of terrorism as two different things and this itself creates some alien feeling among officials. Terrorism is also a crime which is better organised like many other well planned crimes with clear motivation like in many other crimes. All that is to be considered is that various crimes have various motives and all those aims to achieve some benefit. Thus it is necessary to create any hard and fast discrimination between an act of terrorism and crime (Clarke & Newman, 2006). Now it is also necessary to differentiate between various forms of terrorism very clearly. It is necessary for the police officers to have a clear picture of various forms of terrorism. This is because if the police officers are aware of various kinds of terrorism they will be able to uncover potential terrorist attacks with necessary precautions. They can take decision based on methods that terrorist is likely to adopt for attack. Next important thing is to analyse the target and its attractiveness for terrorists. Terrorists are attracted to certain targets and if police men are able to understand the attractiveness there is more opportunity for them to protect such targets from potential attacks (Clarke & Newman, 2006). This will help them to rule out those targets that usual people might feel as terrorist attractions. It is also necessary that protection is given to all targets or else least protected targets are likely to be attacked. In case of any security loophole found it is of most priority that such a loophole is closed, even if police is thinking of that place as an off target.
Now it is time to collect all possible information available. Information can be collected from intelligence agencies, news, local community and other police officers who are put on beat in community. With all such information it is necessary to draw a plan and this is to be done by divisional commanders. Along with this processing and exploitation acts are also to be performed. Divisional authority has to encompass two activities, both of them separate but related. They are identifying most vulnerable target from all possible targets and providing advice about security of these targets. Plan must be based on all available resources and must be done by an officer who is trained in security procedures and crime prevention. In the next stage of analysis and production central command need to review this plan and find whether there is any overlap or omission. Such a plan is to be for long term and must be one capable of working in close relation with private sector. This is the stage of dissemination and integration. Private sector is one of the major targets of terrorism and hence any plan for counter terrorism must be able to improve security of private sector. One of the most essential methods is to plan for securing infrastructure of particular jurisdiction. This process need to repeat and changes need to be made on the basis of available information, potential targets and possible attacks.
Terrorism has replaced all other crimes in terms of perceived threat that it causes to social order. Intelligence agencies and authorities will not be able to prevent terrorist acts without assistance from police and hence community policing can also play a crucial role in preventing terrorist acts. One of the factors behind this is that unlike other criminals terrorists are very difficult to identify and every attack creates new target to them. They find reason for every attack and any arrest or death related to it will again motivate them to plan new crime. Community policing if well planned and implemented can help to counter terrorism in a better way. They can help to prevent terrorist acts and protect the community. These practices if implemented will not only help to reduce possible attacks but also to help police officers become an integral part in fight against terrorism which is like any other crime but with major consequences.
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Peterson, M. (2005). Intelligence-Led Policing: The New Intelligence Architecture. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Justice.
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