Community Policing: Impact on the Law Enforcement Agencies


In the past, policing strategies were based on proximity, and the price of this has limited the size of the populace to which data could be sent. In particular, interaction with to a large number of citizens needed compromises in the degree of information richness. With the increasing span of interaction choices, the economics of information swap have changed, since the limits of cost-effectiveness for richness and reach have become unclear. With the increasing standardization of information and data sources, interaction costs are reducing for both wealth and reach, thus diluting the economics of the edge of institutions. The aim of the research paper is to analyze and evaluate the role and importance of knowledge-based and problem-oriented approaches in social security and community policing, as well as in the work of law enforcement agencies.

Discussion section

The increasing standardization of policing and law enforcement activities, and more specifically its use, is altering the quantity, quality and tools of information creation and distribution of information. This leads to new issues related to the theoretical understanding of policing, since information is at the nucleus of control within police institutions. Yet it also leads to inquiries and decision-making topics that enhance police success. With an increased number of police technologies accessible and the density within police institutions, their management becomes an more and more difficult. Police officers are faced with a number of everyday problems to be solved. Although the directional impact of new knowledge-based approach within law enforcement police institutions remains open for discussion, information processing activities of organizational members are changing, since access to new technologies is leading to a change in behavior. Given the uncertain influence of knowledge-based approach on core managerial activities, the relationship between knowledge-based approach and police institutions needs to be addressed, since the use of these technologies mediates and contributes to the changing character of police institutions. Advanced knowledge-based technology can commonly be characterized as a part of the general term ‘knowledge-based approach. It is based on the application of complicated information management (primarily telecommunication technology) to enable cooperative contribution in organizational activities. Objective features of media include the speed of information transmission, the number of synchronity, and so on (Alpert and Dunham, 1997).

Given the unique characteristics of knowledge-based policing, it is not surprising to note an increasing interest by management researchers and information systems specialists in the relationship between communication technology and police institutions. Although research on the topic has attracted a number of different academic disciplines, among them organizational theory, management science, computer science and sociology, few reliable generalizations can be made about the relationship between these technologies and police institutions. One of the reasons may lie in the variation of theoretical perspectives. Another may lie in the often confusing and unclear operationalization of knowledge-based policing. A third may result from an underestimation of the importance of the context of knowledge-based approach usage (Bayley, 1994).

Recently, suppositions are made that police institutions using new knowledge-based approaches will decentralize, will decrease the numbers of middle police officers, and so on. From this viewpoint, security and intelligence will have foreseeable effects on police institutions, since technical forces will direct internal relations. This viewpoint contends that IT is changing the nature of police institutions. The underlying principle is that the result of new knowledge-based technology performance can be predicted. Since generalizations of this environment have not been confirmed, police officers have proposed that contingencies involve the connection between security technology and police institutions. As a result, it has been accepted that variables interfere in the security technology service. While this path may have led to some new answers, the bulk of authors do not speculate objectively the uniqueness of the information breadth of knowledge-based policing, thereby failing to distinguish knowledge-based policing from general technological change (Charette, 1994).

Since knowledge-based policing is a tactical tool of one of the most basic tasks within police institutions, explicitly information processing, it has to be perceived as a unique technological approach for law enforcement and police institutions. This individuality implies that knowledge-based policing not only has an influence on police institutions, but changes all police activities. The developing viewpoint posits that the application and consequences of security technology are a result of multifaceted social connections between the institutional structure and the actions of citizens. Because of the dynamics of police environment, the regularly transforming needs of citizens and the adapting police context, neither the intentions of police officers nor the technological setting within the police can fully predict the effect of knowledge-based policing employment within police institutions. The interaction of time, objectives, given institutional frameworks, police preferences and choice processes are the vital issues of the developing topics. These studies suggest that technology does not determine the trajectory of organizational change, but that the implementation of the technology leads to rules for its use, which in turn influence rules of new work practices that become legitimized by a new organizational policy. Essentially, the dynamic relationship between knowledge-based policing and law enforcement police institutions is shown. More recently, the emergent perspective has received growing support, because the impact perspective of knowledge-based policing has produced contradictory empirical findings (Delattre, 2002). Opposing forces suggested by theories on organizational politics, police culture, law enforcement theory and organizational training support these contradicting findings, suggesting that the link between security technology and police institutions is inherently more complex than was previously assumed by the impact perspective. Knowledge-based policing are, strictly, neither micro nor macro in character. Since knowledge-based policing is a phenomenon that operates at multiple levels, a mixed-level analysis (Dempsey and Forst, 2004).

Within this context, the goal of this book is to approach knowledge-based policing from different levels of analysis. From an individual perspective, knowledge criteria in choosing various knowledge-based policing media are discussed. From an organizational perspective, the relationship between knowledge-based policing and structural characteristics of police institutions is studied. From a process perspective, the knowledge-based policing to organizational learning is investigated. The importance of the mission associated with police interaction and new technology is another significant criterion in media choice. Vital tasks are more likely to direct to a response with new technology that have a real-time, synchronous reaction. For instance, e-mail is a pattern of a medium that qualifies when a critical reply is required. Current studies identify that, for vital tasks, police officers are eager to trade-off media, since it is more significant to complete the duty than to acknowledge the need for communal attendance. Originating from the communal data processing viewpoint and introduced into the knowledge-based choice question, the premise proposes that communal relationships influence alleged media uniqueness, perceived message task requirements, attitudes towards interaction, and knowledge use (ibid.). Basically, the authors propose the approach when knowledge-based technology and its requirements vary, and comparable patterns of communication attitudes and use will develop within police departments and different patterns across social groups. From this viewpoint, communal effects on attitudes and performance give details for internalized, coordinated activities within police groups and patterns of interaction and technology use (Doerner and Dautzker, 1999).

While the degree of ambiguity of the task and the degree of communal attendance of the technology are significant requirements, recipient availability has recently been added as another determinant not to be underestimated. Recipient availability has been translated into the duty closing rational of technology choice. Since police workers are highly motivated to complete a communication sequence and move on to new work, completing the transmission of information to the recipient is viewed as an important decision criteria for media choice. If the task closure model is applied to the ranking of media, then electronic mail, for example, should receive a high rating on its ability to complete a task, while face-to-face meetings receive a lower rating. Based on the rating of communication media on their ability to close a task rapidly, knowledge workers can assess both the urgency of finishing a task and decide on the appropriate medium in a given situation. The ability to control the communication act by closing the task enables a communicator to minimize job interruptions, thereby reducing the fragmentation of work. This may also lead to less stress and frustration on the part of knowledge workers. Since the ability to bring a task to closure is not merely a sufficient, but also a basic need of a message sender in an urgent situation, knowledge workers need to consider the time dimension of the task at hand. In situations where the message is less urgent, media richness is likely to be an equally important determinant of media choice. Thus knowledge workers have to be able to consider simultaneously both ambiguity and the urgency of finishing a task (Dosi et al, 2009).

For law enforcement agencies, knowledge-based policing can diminish both choice information costs and organization costs. Intelligence decreases choice information costs by improving the velocity, and potentially the value of information-processing. Intelligence can, also decrease law enforcement operations by improving monitoring and bonding activities. To decrease police costs, an institution requires an suitable inducement system, so that police officers use their decision-making authority in the interests of the firm. In general, security technology works as monitoring control system for police actions. Decentralization requires data and expertise to solve problems at the level of the organizational unit making decisions. Improved expertise and access to knowledge through security technology can facilitate this autonomy. Security technology can specifically lower the costs of context-independent knowledge transmission, promoting the allocation of decision rights to those individuals who have access to specific knowledge. Intelligence can raise belief by making distant decision-makers more effectual, by helping to check, and by socializing distant decision-makers. This will allow middle decision-makers to rely on local decision-makers in both their completion and decision-making activities. In addition, police members are likely to be more motivated if they have a superior amount of self-sufficiency in decision-making. Amplified inspiration can thus be seen as an outcome of delegation (Dosi et al, 2009).

Security issues such as time and space items have hindered the condition of decisional independence to police units, since these issues meant that data was often sent upwards and then communicated creatively between two police officers before being sent downwards again. The progress of security technology, distinctively GSS, has enabled straight contact between police officers, thus allowing solutions to be accepted at a lower hierarchical level. In addition, changes in telecommunication (Simon, 2007), dispersal of PCs across the police institutions, and changes in end-user processor literacy permit decentralization, since lower-level knowledge employees have access to data and have acquired the skills to get information when needed. The low telecommunication financial burden and new telecommunication expertise are providing dependable and cost-efficient links for problem-solving at lower department levels. The rising application of videoconferencing is an example of this approach. Admission to and literacy in the use of PCs allows police officers to assure exact needs in end-user problems, thus rising their productivity and independence in decision-making. Centralization is appropriate when communication is costly and centraldecision-makers are able to digest vast amounts of information. Informational economies of scale support the centralized ownership of assets. Information can be collected centrally, processed, and redistributed to various units throughout the organization. Centralization is also appropriate in situations of indispensable co-ordination between the activities of subunits (Philip, 2007).

The storage space of modern PCs allows maintaining crime databases, avoiding repetition of effort at several departments within the police. Large databases, which give regular connections centrally are well designed for more centralization within police institutions – for instance, DNA databases, or crime levels statistics. Internal networks between police agencies allow police officers to manage equipped activities centrally by being able to path important indicators of personal sites from a central board. This is particularly important for police officers, who can use knowledge-based policing to make easy performance over a large number of community members and check a unit’s presentation (Reiner, 2000).

Knowledge-based policing can be used to obtain data from outside the department to align decisions with the overall strategy of the company. The hazard of allocating assessment rights at top administration level only is the problems of information excess. This may require that the decision-making progression is decentralized. The degree to which security technology can reduce interaction costs, thus making knowledge less exact, is one issue determining the allotment of decision rights. The capability of security technology to alleviate the trouble of handling the increased flow of data and balance individual decision is another issue. If knowledge-based policing has the ability to restore psychological efforts and thus boost the information-processing competence of people, it truly has an impact on police institutions. Data is, though, not the limited reserve in police institutions; it is the processing competence of people that is scarce. So, data has to reach your destination at a level within the police department where it can be processed at the lowest cost to the police department. In order to decide the directional power of a meticulous knowledge-based policing on police decision-making, it is essential to look at associated cost-reduction approaches. Police institutions can employ new knowledge-based policing to allow the cost-reduction effect to work in the direction of either centralization or decentralization (Sklansky, 2006). For example, the implementation of a knowledge-based network may allow police officers to exercise greater monitoring over a large number of citizens and thus reduce agency costs, yet it also allows lower-level police officers to gain access to more information, thereby lowering decision information costs. This means that the costs for both centralization and decentralization have decreased. Rather than viewing knowledge-based approach as a principle for the distribution of decision-making power, it has also been accepted that police institutions form the knowledge-based path to conform to their desires. It can be sees as the direction of both centralization and decentralization. From this perspective, it is not the technological imperative, but the organizational imperative, which drives the outcome of the use of knowledge-based policing. Rather than viewing organizational decision-making as an outcome of the employment of knowledge-based approach, it has been suggested that knowledge-based approach facilitates organizational design by providing police officers with choices. For example, if decentralization is the desirable outcome, then knowledge-based policing is the tool by which police officers may bring about the outcome (Swanson et al, 2000). This decision-making action suggests that police officers are in control of police institutions and can form them to their needs, yet police officers often do not have this power, since they lack the power or resources to push for either more centralization or more decentralization. There are a number of organizational circumstances, such as accessibility of PCs and know-how, communal and official structures, and the public opinion, which influence the decision-making authority in such a way that the outcome of managerial action may not work in the desired direction. The dynamics of the organizational environment may facilitate or impede action (Walker et al, 2002).

The information-processing dimension which that represents the horizontal perspective is the flow of information to support decision-making. The flow of information within a law enforcement organization has typically been analyzed in dichotomous terms such as downward versus upward, or routine versus innovative, yet the most enduring dichotomy has been informal versus formal (Newell et al, 2009). Although these terms may represent the style or the origin of information exchange, ‘formality’ has usually been used to refer to the type of interaction experience. With the introduction and adoption of new knowledge-based policing, the distinction into formal versus informal, based on the channel, has become blurred, since many types of information exchange have become both more informal and more documentable (Laudon and Laudon, 2005). The notion of formality that people experience can be seen in terms of (i) directionality of information exchange; (ii) involvement in the exchange (number of communication linkages); and (iii) degree of control over the situation (participation in decision-making). Directionality refers to the organizational area the communication situation entails; involvement pertains to the number of communication linkages; and control makes reference to the degree to which communicators can exert influence on others in a given decision-making situation. Together these three factors determine the formality of information exchange within police institutions. Police institutions vary in their degree of formalizing communication. Although informal, horizontal communication flow has always existed within police institutions, researchers and police officers have started more recently to emphasize their importance. With the emergence of new knowledge-based policing methods, more deliberate attention has been paid to lateral communication within police institutions; and specifically to the role of knowledge-based policing in supporting lateral and diagonal ties within police institutions (Kutnjak and Ivkovic, 2003).

According to the findings, electronic knowledge-based policing leads to an increase in communication linkages, since knowledge workers are getting into contact with the same people more often, and establish contacts with new people. At the same time, police officers receive fewer calls (Newburn, 2003). This means that knowledge workers may have access to information from a larger pool of communication partners. The increase in electronic communication did not offset the decrease in face-to-face communication (“International Association of Chiefs of Police” 2002). As visual displays through new knowledge-based approach increase, groups replace face-to-face communication with new security technology to interrelate time and task activities so that the different knowledge workers’ perceptions of tasks and the activities they are likely to perform correspond. A risk in reducing face-to-face interaction lies in providing fewer opportunities for casual conversation, which allows individuals to assess a person’s communication trustworthiness in social settings. It is therefore, important to encourage knowledge workers to treat opportunities for casual contact as an important part of their work (Peak, 2003).

Although knowledge-based policing has been found to reduce both internal and external co-ordination costs, police institutions will generally favor external procurement over vertical integration. Knowledge-based policing can reduce the transaction risks associated with opportunistic behavior by improving monitoring facilities. Yet the benefits from knowledge-based policing, and more specifically information technology, are greater for external co-ordination rather than internal co-ordination costs. Knowledge-based policing may change the marginal costs of retrieving embodied information and thereby facilitate the exchange between two police institutions. When police institutions are interdependent they need to retrieve and transfer embodied information and control for opportunism (Galliers and Baets, 2007).

The ability to cross spatial and temporal barriers is the feature of new knowledge-based policing, which has enabled specifically the linkage between different police institutions. Firms can, for example, use knowledge-based policing to cooperate on research and development projects. When groups of experts are located in different geographical regions, they can pass on their findings of the day to the next group in a different location, enabling a 24-hour research and development team to operate (Gibbs and Wayt, 2009). Essentially, knowledge-based policing enables police institutions to be structured independent of geography, where people are grouped together within one unit for the purpose of supervision and co-ordination (Hahn, and Layne-Farrar, 2006). Knowledge-based policing links knowledge across spatial and temporal boundaries, and thereby redefines the traditional boundaries of police institutions. In sum, the increasing use of knowledge-based policing has been found to lead to a decrease in firm size, a decrease in vertical integration, an increase in diversification particularly in related diversification, and an increase in cooperative activities. This is especially visible in studies investigating the boundaries of the firm, which focus on knowledge-based approach penetration and its impact. With increasing knowledge-based policing penetration, the effect on police institutions is expected to grow. Since companies are currently in the process of employing more knowledge-based approach , the effects may still take time to materialize. In this age of knowledge-based policing, individuals who contribute value by acquiring, distributing and interpreting information are knowledge workers (Geller and Toch, 2002). They use knowledge-based policing, such as electronic mail, to acquire information from the outside, distribute information and interpret information that has been distributed through a wide range of communication technologies.


It was found that knowledge-based and problem-oriented approaches in social security and community policing greatly improves the efficiency of law enforcement agencies and their daily tasks. As knowledge workers become more accustomed to the use of knowledge-based approach, their demand for the use of it increases, and the tasks that are completed based on knowledge-based change. Since activities within law enforcement police institutions require co-ordination among a larger number of individuals, knowledge-based policing only has an impact on the entire organization if groups of individuals are affected by the technology. With knowledge-based policing, police officers can develop new approaches of crime control jointly with other organizational members and thereby tap into resources that are commonly not available in the entity that the individual is working within. Eliminating redundant processes and creating more effective mechanisms of integration through the use of teams has been found to be the next incremental step in the transformation of police institutions based on knowledge-based policing. Knowledge-based policing nterdependence by reducing the costs associated with co-ordination; in fact, it can be used to increase interdependence. Increased interdependence facilitated by knowledge-based policing leads to more information-sharing and problem-solving.

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