Community Policing in Europe
an overview of practices in six leading countries


Community Policing in Europe
An overview of practices, approaches and innovations in six leading countries

Italy - France - Germany - Switzerland - Great Britain - Sweden

Our good friend Dr. Arthur Jones and his partner Dr. Robin Wiseman are frequent contributors to the LACP website (see also "The Think Tank"). Together they have conducted an extensive 12 nation comparative study of the benefits of Community Policing, including over 20 police departments in the United States.
email to:

(Please see Dr. Jones / Dr. Wiseman Curriculum Vitae.)

We asked them
if they'd help us present a view of what Community Policing looks and feels like elsewhere.

This article on Italy is the first in a series of six reports describing how community policing is practiced in Europe. Others will follow promptly.


Community Policing in Europe has progressed dramatically during the past five years. The applied philosophy has become more widespread geographically, and the number of innovative, specialized Community Policing projects has increased significantly.

Policing and crime prevention practices vary somewhat from country to country in Europe as a function of culture, language, political and governmental structure, and policing history and heritage. Despite those obvious differences, however, a number of similarities or commonalities emerge, as national and regional police forces increasingly exchange studies and experience with one another in the quest for better public safety. These are a few of them:

Interagency cooperation, for example with social workers, psychiatric clinicians, mediators, and crime prevention experts, often features more prominently in European Community Policing than is usually the case in the U.S.
European police labor unions are frequently the most enthusiastic and innovative leaders and advocates of Community Policing
The present trend is toward more standardization of programs and procedures nationwide in most European countries
Community Policing enjoys the vocal support of political parties both left and right of center
European Community Policing tends generally to document or evaluate its effectiveness more thoroughly and uniformly than is the case in the U.S. as a whole
Europeans frequently enact detailed regional and national legislation as the basis of Community Policing, as opposed to the general American usage of executive-branch action or separate police department policy decisions
More than their U.S. counterparts, European police departments have found it necessary to reduce or counteract the traditional aloofness and anonymity of police officers as a paramilitary force
European Union countries have taken the leadership in mobilizing Community Policing resources in an integrated, international war on terrorism

The following summaries are intended only as convenient highlights to introduce readers to the Community Policing environment and current best practices in six selected European countries. Lengthier and more technical studies on each country are available from the authors.

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--- Arthur A. Jones and Robin Wiseman are international human rights lawyers with legal educations in the United States and Europe. They are consultants and authors on international policing, social policy and human rights.

For additional information or a complete list of references, contact:

Dr. Arthur Jones