Halton Police Win International Award for Community Policing
Halton Regional Police are being recognized for their approach to community policing by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) at an annual conference in Philadelphia this week.
“In Halton we’ve adopted the concept of community safety and well-being and apply mobilization strategies across policing operations. This is a progression from traditional community policing models,” said Deputy Chief Nishan Duraiappah.
“Our focus is on reducing up-stream risk factors through multi-sector collaboration combined with the use of technology and analytics to reduce harm and victimization. The real work is done by the outstanding officers and civilians of the Halton police as well as our community partners who make it a reality.”
Since 1998, the IACP’s community policing award identifies and rewards best practices in community policing by recognizing services using cooperative partnerships to make local, national and global communities safer.
Halton is being recognized as a model for improved community policing through the application of collaborative risk-driven solutions to crime and social disorder. The award for community policing includes recognition of the exemplary use of technology to enhance community-police relations.
“Our effort to focus on community safety and well-being is driven by the support of our police services board, and the many community partners who keep Halton the safest and healthiest community in Canada,” said Police Chief Steve Tanner.
Photo courtesy of Halton Regional Police
Halton police implemented a regional community mobilization model designed to address community challenges through collaboration, prevention and proactive partnerships to mitigate risk in the community.
HRPS launched a centralized regional community mobilization bureau in January 2017, and says it remains at the forefront of community-based policing by continually seeking out opportunities for effective multi-sector collaboration.
Community safety and well-being strategies have been applied to all policing operations, the service says, and multi-sector collaborative initiatives conducted include: the situation table, mobile crisis rapid response team, community outreach and support team, crisis aftercare, regional diversity engagement, Project Lifesaver, elementary and high school officer programs, police ethnic and cultural education program, Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI), and global event/local response program.
“It was the robust and ongoing exchange of information with community partners that led to the development of these specialized initiatives and strategies,” reads a news release.
HRPS and Halton Region have prepared a community safety and well-being plan. It’s billed as a “leading-edge, innovative approach to greater collaborative partnerships across various sectors to improve community well-being.”
This approach is highlighted by the ‘situation table,’ where a group of key community partners meet and address situations of elevated risk cases. The goal is to determine an approach to address and mitigate risks to community safety. Members include, but are not limited to, health, social services, housing, diversity and faith-based partners.
Some of the work that the HRPS has championed includes a regional diversity engagement forum, which connects police with diverse regional partners and religious centres.
Through this particular partnership, HRPS designed #PREVENT, a local response plan to significant global events.
Police also work with faith-based community partners to offer emergency planning and catalogue floor plans for buildings where people assemble, enabling rapid and coordinated incident response through in-car computers.
Project Lifesaver Halton is another collaborative initiative that HRPS, Halton Region and a private sector organization launched in January 2017. Project Lifesaver Halton is a proactive life protection program for individuals living with cognitive disorders. The program combines radio technology with a coordinated police response to assist in locating wandering and disorientated loved ones.
This shift to a regional model enables the efforts of each of Halton’s four municipalities to be delivered in an integrated and consistent way and enhances the ability to serve the diverse needs of the community by developing programs in partnership with community partners, say police.
These partnerships amplify the focus on operational service delivery priorities: mental health and addictions, traffic safety, priority populations, and focus on crime.
“Responding to community needs is at the forefront of our community policing approach. Halton’s community safety and well-being plan will enable us to respond to issues as they emerge and before they take deeper root,” said Halton Regional Police Services Board chairman and Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.
The IACP conference attracts at least 15,000 attendees and represents police from more than 146 countries internationally.
The award, sponsored by Cisco Systems, is presented to a law enforcement agency that has demonstrated outstanding community policing initiatives globally.