Citizen participation in community safety: a comparative study of community policing in South Korea and the United Kingdom

2017-02-28T04:11:55Z (GMT) by Choi, Kwan
Changes in demand for public security together with additional pressures placed upon police have tested the powers and resources of traditional policing and have given rise to a search for new methods of policing, including the desire for citizens to take a more active role in law enforcement and crime prevention. This study presents a comparative analysis of citizen participation in community policing in South Korea and the United Kingdom. The present study is based on a structured questionnaire survey developed around key themes derived from the literature that seek to explain why individuals decide to participate in community policing. Data was collected from 400 participants across the two countries. Using SPSS, the data was coded and analysed using three statistical tests: Multiple Linear Regression (MLR) to assess the relationship between dependent and several independent variables; Chi-square tests were used to evaluate the relationship between the different kinds of dependent and independent variables; and Chi-Square tests for independence to ascertain whether or not a difference existed between two completely separate samples. The comparative analysis of community policing in South Korea and the United Kingdom provided a basis for evaluating the strengths of current theorising on this subject. The study revealed that participation in community policing was not a spur-of-the-moment emotional decision but was carefully thought about and planned before undertaking. The study revealed that the British participants were attracted to community policing by individual factors, that is factors that primarily benefitted them as individuals and only secondarily to prevent community crime. By contrast, for the South Korean cohort, participation in community policing was extension of their commitment to community. The research findings in effect highlighted two different models of community policing; one underpinned by commitment to community and desire to enhance crime prevention and community safety, and a second model underpinned by personal gain and where community policing is valued as a stepping-stone to formal policing. These two models emerge from the fact that community police work is a full-time paid job in the United Kingdom, whereas it is purely a voluntary activity in South Korea. The research findings make a significant contribution to ‘citizen participation in community policing’ by contributing to our understanding of why individuals choose to participate in these activities. The comparative study additionally helps to raise questions regarding current theorising regarding community policing and particularly when examined in a cross-cultural context.