DOI: 10.12924/johs2022.18020023 |Publication Date: 13 September 2022

Patterns of Similarities and Differences in Post-Conflict Community-Oriented Policing—A Matter of Trust

Kari Margrethe Osland 1, * and Maria Gilen Røysamb 1
1 Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo, Norway
* Corresponding author

An analysis of Community-Oriented Policing (COP) in 12 post-conflict cases suggests that while the concept of COP holds promise of representing a more sustainable approach to conventional post-conflict police reform, among our cases, there are limited examples of successful COP. Rather, our cases reveal that COP is often perceived as much as a surveillance tool to legitimise harsh policing tactics, as promoting human security or serious reforms. The more robust finding, unsurprisningly, is that the levels of trust between the police and communities, and thus the viability of COP, is closely linked to whether the police act more as a service or a force. While the principles of COP are connected to a police service, in the ideal-typical sense, the post-conflict cases we have analysed are closer to the ideal-typical police force. A number of challenges and what seem to make COP more viable across cases are identified, which should be taken into account when COP is implemented in societies where a police force is the predominiant way of policing.


Keywords: Community-oriented policing; comparative analysis; human security; post-conflict; trust; power


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