The use of community-policing tools to prevent terrorism and counter VERLT should be carefully planned and prepared, so as not to undermine the very principles of community policing and the public trust and support it seeks to generate. In particular, the police need to:

  • Embed international human rights standards at all levels and increase police accountability for their actions against terrorism in order to increase transparency and avoid human rights violations such as discriminatory profiling;
  • Anticipate and mitigate the risks involved in applying a community-policing approach;
  • Ensure that there is a clear distinction between counterterrorism operations and community police work and also ensure that there is effective co-ordination between these operations;
  • Clarify policies and standard operating procedures for the involvement of community police officers in efforts to prevent terrorism and counter VERLT, including information-sharing, recording and reporting protocols;
  • Provide adequate training for community police officers on their expected roles in preventing terrorism and countering VERLT;
  • Develop regular, proactive and two-way communication with the public on the threat of terrorism – neither exaggerating nor minimizing it – and the roles of the police and the public in countering terrorism;
  • Be prepared for timely and appropriate communication with the public and the media in the event of a specific counterterrorism activity or a terrorist incident;
  • Clarify the parameters of, and provide guidance for, regular, transparent, inclusive and reciprocal police engagement with communities and specific groups;
  • Tailor their communication and engagement activities on the basis of an accurate understanding of the specificities of different communities and groups, including internal dynamics, concerns with regard to terrorism and counterterrorism, and attitudes vis-à-vis the police; and
  • Evaluate the impact of community-policing efforts to prevent terrorism and counter VERLT, while maintaining a medium – to long-term commitment and resources.