Many of the benefits of community policing to combat terrorism will arise as a by-product when community policing is implemented in its own right, in keeping with the principles of democratic policing. These potential benefits include:

  • Anchoring policing into respect for human rights and the rule of law;
  • Improving public perceptions of, and interaction with, the police;
  • Improving communication with the public on counterterrorism;
  • Increasing public vigilance and resilience;
  • Enhancing police understanding of communities as a basis to better engage and co-operate with them;
  • Helping to identify and address community safety issues and grievances;
  • Facilitating timely identification and referral of critical situations; and
  • Improving relations between the police and individuals and groups that have been hard to reach or not yet engaged with.

The manner in and degree to which community policing could incidentally benefit countering terrorism depend on the level of trust and co-operation that already exists between the police and the public. Significant time and police effort may be required to (re-)build public confidence, explain the stakes in engaging with the police, and provide evidence of the tangible benefits of such engagement for the community. This is best achieved by engaging communities on broader security and safety issues that are of concern to them, not necessarily in relation to preventing terrorism.