INternational Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences

Vol 4 Issue 1 jAN- JUNE 2009


Copyright © 2009 International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences (IJCJS) – Official Journal of the South Asian Society of Criminology and Victimology (SASCV) ISSN: 0973-5089 January – June Vol. 4 (1): 79–82

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This license does not permit commercial exploitation or the creation of derivative works without specific permission.

 

Book Review of Community policing and Peace keeping

 

Kingsley U. Ejiogu [1]

Texas Southern University, USA

 

I. D. Onwudiwe[2]

Texas Southern University, USA

 

Peter Grabosky (eds.), Community Policing and Peacekeeping, 2009, 373, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis: Boca Raton, Florida. ISBN: 978-1-4200-9973-7

 

The compendium “community policing and peacekeeping” is a continuation of the conversation on the fledgling interests and role of community policing in the “Advances in Police Theory and Practice” Series of the CRC press. The first major accomplishment of Peter Grabosky, an eminent scholar and Professor in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies of the Australian National University as the editor of this present work, is the assemblage of a cross-section of Western oriented authorities in criminal justice scholarship and practice, with Asian addition of Lee King Wa and Lena Y. Zhong, from Hong Kong. Therefore, it may not be out of place to begin by positing this book more correctly as dominated by  “Western perspective,” if only to make a contrast from another compendium in the same series by Dominique Wisler and Ihekwoaba Onwudiwe, which gave a broader geographic viewpoint. Few scholars are usually able to deliver on a wide diversity of relational issues, as background and geographic locations may be significant, where informal entities in the nature of human communes are called in. This book addresses a variety of contemporary topics in the community policing literature, including “peace keeping,” which is sure to rouse some definitional interests.

 Grabosky begins by distinguishing variants of policing in the third paragraph of the very first page. He manages to indict official processes for certain disillusionments (undertones of which clearly appears to be his own very personal opinion) with the unrealized security preferences of certain groups, such as gender, race, and class in the society about half a century ago. He however develops a counter theme subsequently which suggests the role of public mistrust in poor police community relations and that sectional interests may not always be consistent with the general goal of law enforcement. Well, this is chapter one, which serves mainly to introduce the various contributors and their topics, effectively dividing the book into two sections; community policing and peacekeeping (see contributor list pg .xv). We must underscore early in our review that Grabosky’s deep insight into community policing becomes more apparent subsequently in chapter 3 especially in relation to his thorough analysis of “democratic policing,” which basically describes public participation and actionable input in policing. He examines the basic paradox and challenges of policing in democratic cultures, and concludes by rejecting any claim to formal unity in policing styles.  In chapter 2, Innes and his associates’ metaphorical presentation “seeing like children” relates theoretical concepts behind community policing to methodologies, impact assessment and implications of inherent process tensions. They also illustrate the aspect of intelligence-led policing as a necessary follow-up of CP in the UK, a concept which has received great support and review among scholars in the US after 9/11 (Carter and Carter 2009).

Chapters 4-7 highlight essential elements of accountability in community policing. David Thatcher’s observation of the growing complexities in the area of private public order maintenance is remarkable, as his narrative illustrations equally give cause for concern. In spite of the lapses of official policing, questions are rife as to the risk inherent in the privatization of their more public businesses; as CP progresses on diverse fronts. It is equally noteworthy in chapter 5 that the element of funding, accountability and responsibility for CP is questioned by Fleming and O’Reilly; suggesting the practice of CP in Australia is more of “rhetoric than reality.” This view contrasts with Casey and Pike’s documented wholesome progress of CP formations in Australia’s Victoria province in a different volume of this book series (see Wisler and Onwudiwe, 2009, pgs. 189-214), suggesting that Victoria may have been a unique exception.  Barlow and Barlow (2009) also provided us with a classic discussion and analysis of this theme when they asserted that even though languages and police styles may change in society, the primary function of policing remain the same.  In short, they posit that rhetoric is real in CP actions (p. 168).

      Further, in the chapter about “Police-Social Service Collaboration,” a point is made that the resistance of CP frontline officers and middle management in US (pg. 107) may relate more to organizational structure, culture, vision and communication. It is certainly not easy to distance a progressive issue like community policing from the general politics of the society itself as Peaslee aptly noted. It is remarkable, however, to observe how these diverse topics overlap each other as we learn from a case study describing related CP events in Victoria Australia (chapter 8) where Wood and Bradley reaffirmed the dynamism of Victoria’s CP. A second study in San Francisco U.S.A. (chapter 9) is premised far away from the inner management challenges of CP. This describes Braga et al’s., research on gang violence that illustrated strategic police-community partnerships for gun violence prevention (see 134-135 and 138-139); thereby, setting the stage for the shadow politics of American brand firearm control. Examining such issues as gun control inevitably opens up the daunting political challenges ahead for police community partnerships. Scholarly work focused in this area appears to be wanting. Yet, there are others who argue differently (Willard Oliver 2004). Issues of alternative CP models illustrate the problematic history of community policing in South Africa. In articulating a CP agenda for a post-conflict state (pg162-164), Marks et al., stated the very obvious: “for us community policing should be centered on the creation of horizontal and vertical matrixes between the police and other groupings involved in governing security.” Agreeably, post apartheid South Africa ideally should hold a unique incongruity for police-community relations. Chapters 11 and 12 conclude section one with another none Western CP perspective. This time, CP from China is underscored with the dynamics of informal policing in China’s post communist economy. It is interesting to note that the ratio of police to the population is estimated at 1.38 to 1000 (pg. 170); an unimaginable arrangement for Western policing. Described are changes in CP that came with the quick succession of social changes experienced in China in recent years. Lee King Wa’s paper on the effect of CP on Chinese organized crime supports the general view from Western CP literature that trust capital is important for public perception of the police (see Hawdon, 2008).

Section 2 offers rigorous examination of community policing with respect to international peacekeeping assignments. A majority of peacekeeping police units in many developing nations are sent from Western democratic nations. The normal international peacekeeping practice of humanitarianism is faulted by Murney and McFarlane as they observe that inability to consider major socio-economic factors of associated crime and social disorder makes the efforts merely symbolic. They make the provocative suggestion that humanitarian aids in the same account merely rub the surface and solve nothing. While not admitting to symbolism, Greener in chapter 14 describes the role of the UN. Beyond peacekeeping, the process of social reengineering is given due prominence (pg.233). On the other hand, Greener imagines the sensitive issue of an expanded executive role for peace keepers in the future. And in chapter 15, a reflective tone is foreshadowed with a clinical analysis of peacekeeping by the Australian police. This tone follows through chapter 16 while the policing of business crime and police capacity development in Papua New Guinea are the topics of 17 and 18, respectively. From the preceding pages, communication was identified as significant for success in the peacekeeping effort. McLeod makes a very important point on page 317 when she discusses the challenges of adapting foreign police to local circumstances: “Ideally someone from the donor country with a solid understanding of the host country dynamics-such as an anthropologist or experienced development practitioner-can play an important role in negotiating cultural differences and advocating for consistent attention to local voices.” The role of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in the tiny multi-lingual nation of Papua New Guinea and to a lesser extent other Island nations like Timor–Leste are primarily the contention of this section of the book. Finally, drawing on experience and theoretical concepts from Cambodia, BroadHurst and Bouhours invalidate international aid as the sole factor for peacekeeping success by the AFP.

As with other books in the discipline, there are some areas where the collection would have benefited with some clarity. Firstly, we believe that a hegemonic order best applies to the description of so called AFP peacekeeping in the Pacific Island nations. On this count, the compendium maintains a resounding silence. This may probably be because papers in this volume concentrated mostly on Western CP ideas. Often, global institutions have been known to hide under popular concepts in order to advance State centric goals. Secondly, certain significant elements and concepts in this section may be difficult to align with the dual themes of the book. However, pluralistic discourse and interdisciplinary movements seem to be the future of today’s scholarship. This is of course better left for the readers to determine. The quality of the papers in this book is exceptional; with good bibliography and index pages for ease of reference. Sometimes, one is left with a wondering feeling that community policing in the West is too often parroted with too many abstractions. But this book quite frankly brings it down to earth. It is certainly a major critical addition to the CP literature, one that is expected to be uniquely topical in relation to searing questions on the increasingly indistinct line between peacekeeping and hegemony.  We highly recommend this text for scholars, researchers, practitioners in the field, and for professors to use in undergraduate and graduate courses.

 

References:

Barlow, D., & Barlow, M. (2009). Community Policing in the United States: Social Control through Image Management. In D. Wisler & I. D. Onwudiwe. (Eds.), Community Policing: International Patterns and Comparative Perspectives (pp. 167-188). CRC Press, Taylor and Francis: Boca Raton, Florida.             

Carter, D., & Carter, J. (2009). Intelligence-Led Policing: Conceptual and Functional Considerations for Public Policy.  Policy Review, 20, 310-325.

Casey, J., & Pike, D. (2009). Fit for Purpose: Working with the Community to Strengthen Policing in Victoria, Australia. In D. Wisler & I. D. Onwudiwe. (Eds.), Community Policing: International Patterns and Comparative Perspectives (pp. 189-214). CRC Press, Taylor and Francis: Boca Raton, Florida.   

Hawdon, J. (2008). Legitimacy, Trust, Social Capital, and Policing Styles: A Theoretical Statement. Police Quarterly, 11, 182-201.

Oliver, W. M. (2004). Community-Oriented Policing: A Systemic Approach to Policing. Third Edition. Alexandria, VA: Prentice Hall.

Wisler, D., & Onwudiwe, I. D. (Eds.), (2009). Community Policing: International Patterns and Comparative Perspectives. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis: Boca Raton, Florida.


[1] Doctoral Student, Department of Administration of Justice, School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University, Houston, TX, USA. Email: ucheejiogu2002@yahoo.ca

[2] Professor, Department of Administration of Justice, School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University, Houston, TX, USA. Email: onwudiweid@tsu.edu

INternational Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences

Vol 4 Issue 1 jAN- JUNE 2009

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