In pursuit of next-era community safety and well-being
Police and social services must collaborate more closely to create safe and resilient communities
From public health to policing, it’s time to ditch the old handbook and look at the data—as well as to each other.
As individuals and as communities, we all want to feel free from harm and supported in facing our challenges to our well-being. In other words, a place where everyone feels safe, enjoys a sense of belonging, and has access to the services they require.
Police services are an essential part of community safety and well-being. For many, a growing number of calls for police services are related to mental health or substance use issues, and there’s growing pressure on the justice system to more appropriately respond to and support those who are impacted by it. Ideally, they’re addressing the issues that can contribute to these issues in partnership with the community organizations, social services, public health, and other agencies involved in addressing the roots causes of and reducing the vulnerability to criminality.
But police services and social services agencies are working in siloes with an outdated handbook. A clear, unified vision of a future model of social care, prevention, and intervention is needed.
To start imagining this next era, we need to be asking the core questions: How do police and justice capabilities need to evolve? What role do each play, and to what extent? What’s exerting pressure on them? What interventions should happen—how and with whom should they be undertaken to tackle the root causes and prevent them from occurring in the first place?
In pursuit of next-era community safety and well-being, the second article in our future of security and justice series, details our view on the future of the social safety net. Through several examples of projects in communities across the country, we see the common threads that point to a promising future. We found that successful community safety and well-being:
- Takes a systems-based approach to root causes
- Focuses on the “service” in police service
- Makes “being connected” the raison d’être
- Challenges traditional delivery models/ways of working
- Democratizes, shares, and uses data to drive better outcomes
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