Policing & Community Safety

A capable police service operating to professional standards is vital to build public trust. It builds their trust in the criminal justice system and in the State’s commitment to protecting citizens’ rights and property.

Citizens interact with the police more than any other state security institution. The performance of the police has an immediate impact on citizens’ day-to-day safety, but is also perceived as a key indicator of a state’s commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting the rights of all its citizens. Police are often the entry point into the wider criminal justice system, such that their accessibility and integrity influences a citizen’s willingness to turn to state rather than non-state actors for resolving disputes.

Moreover, that same integrity and accessibility affects how willing communities are to share the local information and support that is vital to preventing and investigating crime effectively. Community safety depends upon communities and police working in partnerships based on trust and dialogue.

In developing countries, police forces and the ministries overseeing them often struggle with under-resourcing, institutional inefficiency, and weak service delivery capacity.
This may be compounded by a culture of impunity, and a lack of respect for human rights and professional standards. Police performance may be undermined by politicisation that prioritises protection of state or group interests ahead of citizens. International support to improving police performance must therefore strengthen police reputation, public legitimacy and ability to cooperate with community safety groups as much as technical skills and capabilities.

In response to these challenges, Adam Smith International offers expertise in:

  • Strengthening community policing: facilitating dialogue, building partnerships, information sharing, joint problem solving, crime prevention planning.
  • Building investigations capacity: investigative procedures, evidential standards, forensics, case management, coordination with prosecutors.
  • Improving strategic management: policy formulation by police and ministries, decision-making mechanisms, analytical support, performance monitoring and reporting.
  • Delivery of training: needs assessments, strategy development, course design and delivery, impact evaluation, training instructors, human rights awareness.
  • Improving finance and administration: annual budgeting, expenditure accounting, personnel registration, manpower planning.
  • Strengthening oversight and accountability: internal discipline, professional standards, parliamentary and ministerial oversight, public complaints mechanisms.