Envisioning the Future: Police & Public Health

Happy to share a recent piece I wrote with colleagues for the Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being, a Canadian-based international journal founded on the principles of multi-sector collaboration.

The piece introduces our current project to document practical examples from jurisdictions across the world of alternative approaches to solving entrenched social challenges and problems without relying upon a punitive and enforcement-led policing model.

As noted in the piece, the combination of the 2020 uprisings in response to police violence and abuse in neighborhoods and cities in countries around the world and the prolonged novel coronavirus pandemic have demanded new approaches to solving long-standing and emergent problems and challenges and to meet community safety and health. From the article:

This is a historic moment: the opportunity to envisage a new way of achieving community safety and well-being for the whole community. The aim of this endeavour is therefore to respond to and meet this challenge in countries around the world and to take up the questions of the role of policing in democratic societies, of the best partnerships between police, public health, and government, and of how we can best meet community safety and health needs and respect the rights and dignity of all people, especially those most marginalized.

There is hunger for alternatives. Much resistance to struc-tural changes in policing stems from a lack of imagination, acknowledgement, or knowledge of alternatives. Rather than restate problems that have been detailed and named repeat-edly, this project focuses on solutions and paths forward. While not countless, examples around the world of alternative approaches to community safety and health needs do exist, and they remain little known or without sufficient profile. These range in the spectrum from cooperation between health and law enforcement to the foregrounding of actors other than law enforcement in response to community needs.

Read the full article here.

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