A realistic look at Latin American community policing programmes
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Since the 1990s, every proclamation for police reform in Latin America leads to the launching of a community policing programme designed to improve policecommunity relations. Each of these programmes has a different name and format; some have lasted a long time, while others have been ephemeral. Community police as a proposal, strategy or philosophy for police activities is without a doubt quite popular. At various moments, police forces that are otherwise divergent in nature have all launched programmes to improve their community relations. Those agencies include The Guatemalan National Civil Police, the Panamanian National Police, the Nicaraguan Police, preventative police in various Mexican Municipalities, the Carabineros in Chile, various Argentine provincial police, the Colombian National Police, the Dominican Republic National Police, the Police of Buenos Aires Province, among many others. The fact that both politicians and police leadership constantly invoke the need to improve relations between police and the communities they serve is undoubtedly a positive step. There is recognition that the police owe something to citizens and that they should consider public demands and expectations. But beyond these aspects, we have to ask if the various practices carried out under the auspices of community policing express a similar understanding of the community policing model, the likelihood that this model might become established within the region and the necessary institutional adaptations to make that feasible.
ISSN: 1043-9463 print