However, these relations prove to be conflictual in certain European countries or cities, even though the image of the police as an institution is relatively good in most countries. It is crucial to ensure that these relations are good because the police are a key stakeholder in the crime prevention chain, as recalled by Efus members in the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis (2012).
Because cities play a central role in local life, they can participate in bringing the police and citizens closer by acting as intermediaries. Thus, with the support of the European Commission, Efus led between 2013 and 2015 the European IMPPULSE (IMproving Police-Population Understanding for Local SEcurity) project which brought together eight cities.
Taking into account the organisational, cultural and doctrinal characteristics of each national police force, these cities from various European countries worked together to identify the factors of estrangement between police and the population, but above all to define how local authorities can contribute to reinforcing or, in certain cases, restoring this relation.
Based on the recommendations contained in Security, Democracy and Cities: The Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint Denis, the project aimed to:
- Stimulate, promote and develop good practices bringing the police and the population together;
- Operate and evaluate these good practices within the project’s cities;
- Accumulate and then disseminate the results at the European level.
In the scope of this project, cities across Europe have developed pilot projects and collectively defined a series of principles and recommendations to improve interactions between the police and citizens.
The pilot projects developed by the partners are based on the observation that the relation between the police and the population is often compromised by causes such as the citizens’ lack of knowledge or comprehension about the role and competences of the police; the lack of specific training for police officers; the difficulties met by the police when having to tackle minor offences, and the fact that citizens and the police rarely have the opportunity to meet and discuss. In light of this, the partners chose to set up concrete actions capable of delivering short-term results.
Principles and recommendations
The cities that took part in the IMPPULSE project drew attention to certain fundamental principles governing the relations that the police have with citizens and proposed a series of recommendations that can benefit all cities concerned with this issue.
The publication Police-Population Relations: Challenges, Local Practices and Recommendations (bilingual French/English edition) is based on the experience of partner cities in the project and the point of view of experts, it presents the major challenges regarding the role of cities in improving police-population relations. This publication also describes the pilot projects carried out in the partner cities with an aim to improving this relation in the short and medium term.
Finally, this book includes indications allowing any European city or region to evaluate projects of this type as well as a series of recommendations for establishing or strengthening relations of trust between police and the population.
- First coordination meeting: 3 and 4 June 2014 Paris
- Working group on local studies: 22 and 23 October 2014 Milan
- Working group on local studies: 1 and 2 April 2015 Lisbon
- Final Conference: 16-17 November 2015 Brussels
The European Forum for Urban Security (coordinator), Milan (Italy), Aubervilliers (France), Toulouse (France), Lisbon (Portugal), Nantes (France), Amiens (France), Barcelona (Spain), The Brussels Police Zone (Belgium) and ASBL BRAVVO of the city of Brussels (Belgium) (associated partner).
Carla Napolano (email@example.com)