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Counter-terrorism policing and culturally and linguistically diverse communities 2: a community policing framework

AICrime reduction matters no. 69

ISSN 1448-1383
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, June 2008

A Victorian study run over three years found that a community policing framework is essential to counter-terrorism policing (Pickering et al. 2007). This finding was based on consultations with both police and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, as CALD communities are often the focus of counter-terrorism strategies. The study found many challenges in engaging with CALD communities (AICrime reduction matters no. 68), and emphasised the need to build on existing practices and community networks. To implement successful strategies, the police and community need effective and open communication, and to trust each other (Pickering et al. 2007; Shah, Rhaman & Khashu 2007). To improve counter-terrorism prevention strategies in CALD communities, the researchers recommend four broad aims: improve the understanding and approach to community policing and counter-terrorism policing; further prioritise the building on resilient policing partnerships and dialogues; improve leadership, support and training; and enhance communication and integration of community policing and counter-terrorism policing. Recommendations include:

  • emphasise social cohesion and human rights
  • make community policing part of core business
  • reject racial profiling as a tool
  • expand the role and resourcing of multicultural liaison officers
  • ensure the focus of multicultural liaison officers is predominantly on mid to late teens
  • use feedback from CALD communities to monitor police approaches
  • incorporate CALD community input on how information is shared and used by police
  • ensure community engagement is built on sharing, trust and not solely intelligence gathering
  • encourage all police levels to be proactive in locally directed, centrally coordinated trust-building initiatives
  • establish and regularise district-level public safety meetings
  • provide more specific counter-terrorism training for police and specialist units
  • streamline state and federal counter-terrorism cooperation.

This approach is consistent with strategies suggested in the United States. Further suggestions include using demographic data and consulting with local community providers to determine what CALD communities exist in the area, and pooling language access resources with other government agencies (Shah, Rhaman & Khashu 2007).

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