Editorial: Community policing

YESTERDAY (April 21), the British Council represented by country director Nicholas Thomas signed a partnership with Security Reform Initiative (SRI) with its convenor Kathline Anne S. Tolosa for The Golden Thread Community Policing Project.

As defined in the handout distributed during the activity at the Crown Regency Hotel in Davao City attended by representatives from different communities in six provinces in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (Armm), "Community policing is a method of policing based on the joined effort of the citizen and the police who work together towards alleviating neighborhood problems."

The concept of community policing is explicitly stated in the draft Bangsamoro Baisc Law (BBL). Specfically under Article X1 on Public Order and Safety, Section 11, which states: "Community Police. - The Bangsamoro Police shall adopt community policing as an essential mechanism in maintaining peace and order."

There is no other description on what that is. Just that community policing will be adopted.

What form will it take?

That will depend on the community that will be regularly consulted by SRI as the implementing arm of the project, which at this stage involves creating awareness about the concept, holding consultations with the communities, preparing a toolkit on community policing based n the consultations, and getting the communities work as one in policing their communities.

The concept gathers from how communities once resolved conflicts and meted out punishments for erring community members, but is now to be done within the concept of having the police organization as law enforcers.

Bottomline is a desire to make the community feel they are part of ensuring peace and order in their communities based on their felt needs and desires as they cooperate with peacekeeping forces in calling out and suggesting what else have to be done.

Will it work? Definitely, if people are made aware of how before everything became as complicated as the present world, communities always took care of their people. Within it is the Hawaiian concept of Ohana, the family that works together for the benefit of all as Stitch's most remembered quote in the cartoon movie Lilo and Stich, "Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten." Within it is the concept of the village in the African adage, "It takes a village to raise a child." And many more proverbs and quotes that underline the important role of the community in people's well-being.

Whether or not BBL is passed, community policing is one concept that can benefit communities even outside what is being claimed as the Bangsamoro.

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