BG09B Building 9, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, London, NW4 4BT
Community engagement is regarded as a preventative and proactive strategy. It is based on the notion that crime prevention can be made possible through citizen empowerment, as they can address the problems that lead to crime.
In recent years community engagement has increasingly developed a high profile in policing and wider government policy, especially in a counterterrorism context. Counterterrorism strategies such as PREVENT, encourage such community-level engagements. However, in order for prevention to work, engagement needs to be delivered effectively.
One way of exploring this effectiveness is the citizen's willingness to report. By looking at the willingness to report a crime (to police or any other agency) we may be able to demonstrate a causal relationship between intervention through community engagement and reporting behaviour. While this is not directly linked to a measurement of prevention of radicalisation and extremism, it is central to developing an understanding of the use of community engagement in identifying individuals at risk: i.e. is it effective?
The argument presented here is that that community engagement induces a psychological state, which encourages and/or seeks motivation and commitment from the public. Additionally, public cooperation, too, is formed on the basis of psychological needs and reasoning. This indicates that addressing psychological needs is vital for both engagement and cooperation. Therefore, it is argued that for community engagement to be effective in inducing public support, the psychological needs for cooperation must be addressed in engagement.
Neda Nobari Nazari is a PhD researcher in policing of radicalisation and extremism in the UK and Denmark. She holds an MSc in Psychology and previously worked at the Home Office Analysis and Insight and the PRIME Project, which dealt with lone wolf terrorism.