There are some inherent risks that the police should be aware of and try to minimize when applying community-policing approaches. These risks include:

  • Over-reliance on community policing;
  • Stigmatizing particular communities through selective engagement;
  • Securitizing their relationship with communities;
  • Using community policing to “spy” on communities;
  • Risks to individuals engaging with the police; and
  • Unintentionally giving the appearance that the police support particular individuals or groups, which could either undermine the legitimacy of those in a position to exercise a positive influence within the community or alienate other community members or communities.

The police should also take great care in establishing partnerships with individuals, groups or organizations when there is evidence that these individuals or groups are not unequivocally committed to non-violence and respect for universal human rights.

Intelligence-led policing and community policing are complementary but distinct approaches. Intelligence may emerge as a by-product of effective community policing, where the public has developed trust and confidence in the police. Community policing, however, is not, and should not be, about purposeful intelligence-gathering for counter terrorism.