Denmark - Book a Police Officer
In Denmark we are aiming at a high level of safety among the citizens, and a high level of trust in the police. For that reason, we are continuous being curious on new methods to engage with the citizens, for maintaining and improving these high levels of safety and trust.
In 2014 the Police district of “South Sealand and Lolland-Falster” started up a new service. The District wanted to involve the community in where to conduct traffic controls. In 2018 the district added a new topic to their service; ”Book a dialogue meeting”. Today the service is called “Book a police officer” where the main objective is involving the citizens; regarding traffic controls the citizens are invited to take an active role in identifying hotspots and thereby helping the police as well as the local community. The dialogue meetings are helping the police in identifying, for what reason the citizens are feeling unsafe. That gives the Police the opportunity to address the citizens with facts on crime, fear of crime and advice on crime prevention in the dialogue with local community.
In practice citizens can book a traffic control online. They provide the police with information on hotspots of e.g. speeding, and thereby where a traffic control might be effective. After the control has been conducted, the citizen who booked the control will receive a response on the police findings. The service has raised awareness and transparency on police work, and thereby a better understanding and accept of traffic controls in general. It has furthermore raised awareness on how citizens can play an active role in helping the police in identifying hotspots or unsafe areas in the traffic.
The dialogue meetings can be ordered by for example Associations, Youth Centers or community groups, where a police officer takes part in a meeting and is providing the participants with information on crime levels (which often tend to be lower than the citizens expected) and crime prevention in the local community.
The idea of giving the citizens a direct online opportunity to influence policework is quite innovative. By inviting citizens to interact with the police through online bookings, the Police District is being involved in a new way of sharing information, and hereby working closer with the surrounding community.
By creating an easy digital access to getting in touch with the Police, the Police are having the possibility to get a more varied understanding of the state of the community. This supports the Police in reacting and preventing crimes, preventing the fear of crime and a general feeling of insecurity in a local community.
The service of “Book a Police Officer” required the development of a website at the cost of approx. 14.000 Euros. Since traffic controls and dialogue meetings has been a part of the task of the Police District before the initiative, the resources spend on “Book a Police Officer” is not considered as an extra expense.
In the future the police District is considering adding more services, for instance the method of “Organized Safety Walks” in areas where the citizens are feeling unsafe, to pinpoint specific spots for better maintenance or renewal, or booking a Mobile Police Station in the form of a special designed minibus to attend large events or with the purpose of visiting local communities.
To find out more, contact Police district of South Sealand and Lolland-Falster, Deputy Police Inspector Allan Holm: ACL001@politi.dk