What Is Community Policing?: Divergent Agendas, Practices, and Experiences of Transforming the Police in Kenya

T.G. Diphoorn, Naomi van Stapele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In line with global trends, community policing has been a vehicle for transforming the state police in Kenya. This article analyses various community policing efforts in Kenya and argues that many of these initiatives have largely failed to act as a vehicle for transformation due to three interconnected problems of diversity, representation, and ownership. The first problem—diversity—relates to the multiplicity of definitions, manifestations, and practices of community policing, which creates uncertainty and provides space for various actors to engage with it in conflicting ways. The second problem—representation—concerns the identification and creation of the ‘community’: this remains to occur in a state-driven manner and is also not a straightforward concept or organizational unit, especially in a highly multi-ethnic and classed setting as Kenya. The third is ownership: community policing is not experienced or exercised as a partnership, but as a state-centric framework that should remain under the direction and ownership of the state police. We make our claim by focusing on Likoni, Mombasa and drawing from further qualitative data conducted by both authors in Kenya.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-411
Number of pages13
JournalPolicing: A Journal of Policy and Practice
Volume15
Issue number1
Early online date2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

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