The theme for Police Week 2015 is ‘Bridging Today’s Gap through Stronger Police and Public Interaction”. From all indications a gap does exis but it must first be understood that both the police and the public have their roles to play in society. The police have to be responsible for the maintenance of law and order, the protection of life and property, the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders and the preservation of the peace.
The public, on the other hand, have to be law-abiding citizens and cooperate with the police in helping to solve the various problems of crime in society. However, in the execution of the duties of the police in trying to maintain law and order and protect the good citizens, conflicts do arise and these tend to create a gap between the police and the public. It is incumbent, therefore, to find ways and means to narrow the gap through stronger police and public interaction. One of the ways chosen was to get feedback by some members of the police as well as members of the public.
Feedback from the Police:
There is need to bridge that gap through stronger and more positive interaction, and the public and the police should work together for the good of the society.
Additionally, management should ensure that the police carry out their duties in a more efficient and professional manner.
Officers should also be highly motivated and rewarded for their good work.
Although there are some law-abiding citizens, others have little respect for the police and want to break the law and do as they please. However, forms of abuse and police brutality should be reported to the Police Complaints Commission. Overall more resources should be provided to help the police in the execution of their duties.
Feedback from the Public:
There is need to bridge that gap today more than ever through stronger police and public interaction and to build that cordial relationship between both parties. There seems to be a lack of trust and confidence in the police, fearing that information given may be leaked, and some reports given to the police are not taken seriously.
The police should be move tactful, friendly and less aggressive in their method of approach.
Good police officers should be commended while corrupt ones should be expelled.
Special training should be given to the police when dealing with mental patients. Some are too quick to pull the trigger.
Suggestions to Bridge that Gap:
1) Divine intervention is necessary in finding a solution.
2) Community policing, which is based on a positive working relationship with the public, is the way to go. It can also bring about a change in values on how people behave.
3) Educate the public as well as the police in interpersonal human relations. This can be done through social media, schools and town hall meetings.
4) Use sports and other social activities to strengthen the relations between the two parties.
5) Use music through the Police Band to entertain the public in various communities. The use of drama and poetry can be very effective.
6) The church and other institutions can also help.
In closing I hope that the views expressed above will help the police as well as the public to bridge that gap through greater and more positive interaction by both parties.
Claudius Williams SRP 48 enlisted in the RSLPF in September of 1978. He served as secretary of special reserve for a number of years and has written several articles for Police Week.