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Despite broad and often varied underlying definitions, a common theme throughout community and neighbourhood policing strategies establishes the need to target improvements in the relationship and level of engagement between the police and the communities they serve. Community policing approaches have long underpinned a desire to move away from reactive policing models towards those which establish a more proactive philosophy, responsive to the wants and needs of the community. The near ubiquitous proliferation of smartphones and other ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) means they are often seen as a vector through which initiatives of all kinds can instil a culture of proactive engagement with their respective stakeholder communities. This paper builds upon existing research which suggests that technologies for crime prevention should be designed to support communications and problem-solving rather than used simply as a means to disseminate information, unpacking a number of the core concepts that are considered central to participation and effective engagement; social capital, public participation and social and digital inclusion. Moreover, examples of wider initiatives are comparatively discussed, not just those associated with community policing, which target the engagement of communities through the use of technology, and more specifically mobile applications, before reflecting on the empirical evidence and experiences gleaned through the EU H2020 funded ‘UNITY’ project, a project that sought to establish effective strategies for engagement between police and citizen communities.
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- Policing the Community Together: The Impact of Technology on Citizen Engagement
- Chapter 11