Relationships between the population and institutions, including the police and the legal system, have a direct impact on the quality of life in a city and therefore on real or perceived security. In particular, good relationships between the population and the police are a key factor for the former to feel safe and the latter to work efficiently and calmly. This is crucial because the police, whether national or local, are key actors in the ‘chain of security’, from crime prevention to sanction. In this context, local and regional authorities, which are the guarantors of security in their territory, can act as intermediaries and facilitators between institutions and citizens.
Each European country has their own police doctrine. Similarly, the quality of police-population relations varies greatly, not only between countries but also between cities, depending on social contexts and on the events in which the police are involved. However, Efus members all agree that the police should be close to citizens and follow a doctrine based on proximity in terms of method and of the quality of the service provided to the population.
Efus has been working on policing and justice ever since it was founded. It notably expressed its position in a March 2016 resolution of its executive committee as well as in the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis (2012). It stresses the need to base policing strategies on principles of co-production and community policing and to organise policing through ‘a bottom-up partnership-based approach’. Efus also calls for institutions to be organised and to function in such a way that citizens’ everyday problems are considered as much a priority as emergencies and serious crime. Lastly, it recalls the ‘fundamental’ importance of evaluation: ‘Developing quantitative and qualitative tools to monitor the evolution of police-population relations in order to measure the effects of existing projects remains a priority’.
Police forces in Europe and urban safety (Efus 1996)
Discover the actions implemented in communities across Europe through our summary documents, which present the key elements of each of these initiatives, including their context, objectives, activities, budget, evaluation. All of our practice and summary sheets can be found on Efus Network.