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Conference Proceeding

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This presentation presents initial results of an evaluation of citizen and officer perceptions of policing in Ghana. The Ghana Police Service (GPS) is attempting to transition from a para-militaristic philosophy to a more community-centered approach, developing a domestic violence unit in the past decade and, more recently, a community policing unit. Community policing philosophies, however, face unique challenges in Ghanaian society, such as a deep-rooted (and historically well-founded) mistrust of the police, and a culture with a well-established and trusted “traditional” system wherein matters are settled within communities and impacted by religion, spirituality, and mysticism. This project used official reported crime data from each police region to determine patterns and trends in crime reporting and amenability to community policing efforts (e.g., robbery). We also collected perception and experience data from randomly selected households, and from groups of officers representing recruits, officers, and administrators at the district, division, and upper-administrative levels. The purpose of this project was to determine potential barriers and facilitators toward the development and implementation of a community policing program in Ghana. With the aid of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and representatives from several local universities, we have completed the initial steps to begin developing community policing training for officers and for trainers in the GPS. We also hope that our efforts have increased the probability that citizens will report crimes to the police rather than settling criminal matters themselves.


Presented as part of a session called: Public Satisfaction With Policing. The presentation was delivered during the American Society of Criminology’s 59th Annual Meeting: In the Global and in the Local—Crime and Justice, which took place from November 14-17, 2007, in Atlanta, Georgia.