Developing Community Policing for the Policing of Terrorism: Merging Western and Eastern Perspectives

Xue Fei Cao

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Throughout human civilisation, terrorism has caused enormous pain and destruction. The catastrophic terrorist attack in the USA on September 11, 2001 gave rise to renewed thinking about measures to address terrorism. Resources have been allocated to formulate countermeasures that include military action, political negotiation, and policing initiatives. The so-called war on terrorism might, at times, eliminate terrorists, but has also created a number of humanitarian problems. Negotiations with terrorists have sometimes been successful. However, often terrorists have committed attacks before any negotiation could commence.

Notwithstanding terrorist threats, members of the public continue to expect a secure community and a sense of safety, a normal life characterised by fair and impartial treatment and respect for human rights by police officers. Neither a war on terrorism nor negotiation with terrorists can satisfy those expectations. However, police can satisfy those expectations by implementing an appropriate policing model.

As demonstrated in this study, policing has evolved in terms of three major policing models since its foundation. However, there has never been a specific policing model for countering terrorism, and therefore there is a gap between the threat of terrorism and an appropriate policing model for policing terrorism. Given this, the aims of this study were to understand the threat of terrorism, to clarify the possible roles of police in counterterrorism, to identify the underlying principles of community policing, and to develop a form of community policing for the policing of terrorism. As one of the three major policing models, and the most recent, community policing has been popular for decades around the world because of its strengths. It makes sense that these strengths be built upon, rather than abandoned, to meet the challenge of policing terrorism in the contemporary world. The overall aim of this study, then, is to develop the current model of community policing into one more suited for the policing of terrorism.

In order to achieve this purpose, two models of community policing (the ‘Western’ or ‘top-down’ model and the ‘Chinese’ or ‘bottom-up’ model) were examined by comparing their underlying theories and representative policing strategies. Building on the strengths of these two models while addressing the weaknesses of each, a new form of community policing has been developed - Community policing for the policing of terrorism (CPPT). Based on a solid relationship between police and the public, this model calls for both the police and members of communities to work together to contribute to the welfare of communities and share the responsibility of terrorism prevention by means of their specific individual strengths in relation to counterterrorism. Once CPPT is implemented, formal and informal social control mechanisms can be put into action. Not only would terrorists have no room to hide in the community, but also community members would enjoy a sense of security in their daily lives. Therefore, CPPT represents an advance on the traditional models of community policing as well as being a new option for policing terrorism.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Corbo Crehan, Anna, Principal Supervisor
  • O'Brien, Nick, Co-Supervisor
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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