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Proactive Policing: Standing on theShoulders of CommunityBased PolicingCurtis ClarkePublished online: 15 Aug 2006.
To cite this article: Curtis Clarke (2006) Proactive Policing: Standing on the Shoulders ofCommunityBased Policing, Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, 7:1, 3-17, DOI:10.1080/15614260600579508
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Police Practice and Research,Vol. 7, No. 1, March 2006, pp. 317
ISSN 15614263 print/ISSN 1477271X online 2006 Taylor & FrancisDOI: 10.1080/15614260600579508
Proactive Policing: Standing on the Shoulders of Community-Based PolicingCurtis Clarke
Taylor and Francis LtdGPPR_A_157933.sgm10.1080/15614260600579508Police Practice & Research1561-4263 (print)/1477-271X (online)Original Article2006Taylor & Francis71000000March 2006Dr CurtisClarkecurtisc@athabascau.ca
This paper examines how Edmonton Police Service has built on the foundation ofcommunity-based policing and problem solving in an effort to achieve greater levels ofefficiency and effectiveness. These proposed operational strategies are closely aligned withthe conceptual framework of proactive policing. Here, proactive policing, in its originalformulation, refers to the strategic deployment of resources in order to target criminallyactive individuals (Stockdale et al., 1999, p. 5). The paper also examines the implicationsproactive policing has for police management and how Edmonton has responded to anorganizational environment that requires management of demand.
Keywords: Proactive Policing; Community Policing; Crime Management; Intelligence-Led Policing
Recently, police policymakers and strategists have begun to build on the foundation ofcommunity-based policing and problem solving in an effort to achieve greater levels ofefficiency and effectiveness. These proposed operational strategies are closely alignedwith the conceptual framework of proactive policing. Here, proactive policing, in itsoriginal formulation, refers to the strategic deployment of resources in order to targetcriminally active individuals (Stockdale, Whitehead, & Gresham, 1999, p. 5). Interest-ingly, proactive policing has a number of implications for police management in that,it sets in place an environment that requires management of demand. These demandsare succinctly stated in the following passage:
Curtis Clarke is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program at Athabasca University(Alberta, Canada). He has carried out empirical studies on the implementation of community-based policing,police organizational/managerial change, intelligence-led policing, and the shifting boundaries between privateand public policing. Correspondence to: Dr Curtis Clarke, 10-26312 Twp. Rd., 514 Spruce Grove, Alberta, CanadaT7Y 1C8. Email: email@example.com
4 C. Clarke
Increased proactivity requires a change in management ethos, as well as placing moredemands on managers. Higher levels of proactivity assume that managers are able to elicitsupport from all levels in the service, despite cultural resistance; to deal with a range ofethical and civil liberties issues; and, in many cases, to take greater accountability forresource deployment and outcome. (Stockdale et al., 1999, p. 5)
Moreover, in this changing environment and adoption of proactive strategies, policemanagers must be prepared to stand away from traditional police philosophies andmethodologies; to believe that operations can and should be driven by intelligence; toact rather than to react (RCMP, 2002). From an operational perspective these initia-tives require a rapid adaptation from a service model which until relatively recently,still bore many of the structural characteristics of its organizational (and operational)origins in the nineteenth century (Savage & Charman, 1996, p. 39).
Defining Proactive Policing (Crime Management/Intelligence-Led Policing)
If there is indeed a trend toward the adoption of proactive policing the question of defi-nition becomes a critical point of clarification. As we can attest from previous paradigmshifts corresponding with community-based policing, clarity of definition is essentialto successful implementation. In the context of this paper and in light of previousoperational shifts in policing, the question to ask is whether or not a clear definition ofproactive policing exists. Certainly, a comprehensive definition is possible based onresearch regarding specific actions and goals associated with existing policing initia-tives and their implementation. Evaluations undertaken by numerous policingacademics and practitioners have resulted in a consensus of key elements and broadprinciples associated with Proactive and Intelligence-Led Policing. A synthesis of theseevaluations suggests the following typology of core components:
1. A strategic future-oriented and targeted approach to crime control.2. A focus upon the identification, analysis, and management of persisting and devel-
oping problems or risks.3. A strategy centred on the acquisition of intelligence in order to facilitate knowl-
edge-based decision making, allowing the targeting of resources and the disruptionof prolific criminals.
4. An enabling of variability and flexibility of operational initiatives.5. A requirement for management of demand, in order to increase the resources for
proactivity, as well as, the resources made available.6. A presupposition of a higher status afforded to the intelligence function.7. And use of feedback to adjust, expand, abandon, and maintain initiatives (Amey,
Hale, & Uglow, 1996; Barker-McCardle, 2001; Maguire, 2001; Read & Tilley, 2000;Stockdale et al., 1999).
Simply put, in practice proactive policing means
making use of data to establish the existence and extent of a problem, to analyse its natureand source, to plan intervention measures to reduce it, and to monitor and evaluate theeffectiveness of the selected responses. (Read & Tilley, 2000, p. 3)
Police Practice and Research: An International Journal 5
Previous evaluations of proactive policing have articulated clear criteria for success-ful implementation based upon a police services ability to achieve key crime manage-ment concepts (Amey et al., 1996; Read & Tilley, 2000; Stockdale et al., 1999; Tilley &Laycock, 2002). These concepts are outlined in Table 1.
While it is essential to define what is meant by Proactive or Intelligence-LedPolicing it is also important to evaluate both the effectiveness and the degree towhich these concepts are in fact operationalized. With this objective in mind theremainder of this paper analyses Edmonton Police Services (EPSs) efforts to imple-ment a model of proactive policing. The following sections offer first a brief over-view of the socio-political drivers guiding the EPSs operational shift towardproactive policing and secondly an examination of the current implementationprocess, best practices, and efforts EPS has undertaken to ensure proactive policingstrategies are effective.
The Socio-political Context: Responding to an Era of Fiscal Restraint
Edmontons evolution toward a model of proactive policing has been driven, in part,by a decade of Provincial and Municipal fiscal restraint. The trend of fiscal conserva-tism had begun with the 1993 election of Premier Ralph Kleins Conservative Party.Under the stewardship of the Klein government, policing, like other municipalservices, was swept into the vortex of b