Welcome to the ICT4COP e-handbook on Community Oriented Policing!

Community Oriented Policing (COP) is promoted globally as part of broader justice sector reforms and state building efforts. International organizations have adopted COP as part of their peace-building operations around the world. COP is, however, a highly ambiguous term – it is understood and practiced differently both between and within countries. The various stakeholders of COP, including the police, governments, donors, NGOs, and communities all have different ideas of what its goal should be; you can read more about the origin of the COP concept here.

In order to promote a unified understanding of COP, the United Nations Police (UNPOL) has developed a handbook and a set of guidelines on COP. You may read more about the UN approach to COP here and here.

UNPOL defines COP as:

“A strategy for encouraging the public to act as partners with the police in preventing and managing crime as well as other aspects of security and order based on the needs of the community.”

This ICT4COP e-handbook recognizes and builds upon the UN approach on COP. Based on interdisciplinary, qualitative field-based research and practical experience from 11 post-conflict areas across the globe, it aims to stimulate critical reflection and debate about potential opportunities, risks and dilemmas of internationally assisted COP approaches and practices. As such, the material presented seeks to add to the understanding of the complexities involved when implementing COP.

Through a combination of texts and digital storytelling, the e-handbook points to examples of promising practices and, in some cases, specific recommendations. Yet, we stress that efforts to reform the police sector stand little chance of succeeding if not based on an in-depth context sensitive understanding of the broader local security context, including the often-differentiated needs and priorities of various actors at local level.

It is our hope that you find the ICT4COP e-handbook useful!