In Morocco, as in many parts of the world, building and maintaining trust between community residents and the police who are charged with providing protection, can be a challenge. At stake is how safe and secure citizens feel in their own communities and their ability to communicate their needs to the police.
AMEX is currently implementing a Community-Oriented Policing Activity (COPA) in northern Morocco, as prime contractor under the USAID Rule of Law IQC. The three-year pilot project is designed to help communities and local police officials develop the capacity to work effectively and collaboratively in order to identify and address problems related to crime, safety, security and livability in targeted neighborhoods in Tangier and Tetouan. COPA works with civil society organizations, schools, at-risk youth, faith-based, youth, and private sector groups, in partnership with police and local government leaders, to solve problems of mutual concerns in their respective neighborhoods.
The concept of community-oriented policing brings the police and the citizens they serve closer together to identify and deal with issues that threaten the safety and security of their neighborhoods. Under this concept, the police do more than respond to emergency calls and criminal activities. They engage with local residents to better understand the causes of crime and citizen concerns so that they are able to offer more creative solutions to community problems. Community-oriented policing projects typically rely on developing networks of personal contacts and relationships within police departments and communities. Such contacts are often made through foot, bike or horse patrols – methods that get police officers out of their cars to begin building relationships with community residents. In all cases, community–oriented policing encourages citizen participation in a concerted effort to curb crime and maintain secure and safe neighborhoods.
Using a participatory stakeholder-driven approach, AMEX and its COPA implementing partner, Pro-Telligent/Tetra Tech employ a variety of strategies to identify and create opportunities for the communities and the police to engage and establish constructive and lasting relationships that help prevent crime, mitigate the need for violence, and promote safe and secure neighborhoods.
COPA provides technical assistance, training, capacity building, grants and other support designed to increase trust between citizens and the police and encourage the active participation of both groups in meeting communities’ safety and security needs. COPA activities include workshops, public forums, mentorships, study tours, and outreach campaigns.