An Evaluation of Community Oriented Policing (COP) Mechanism: Partnership and Problem Solving. Case Study: Bandar Baru Sri Pinang, Pulau Pinang. Part 1: Literature Review & Methodology

Mohammad Mujaheed Hassan, Aldrin Abdullah,
Article Date Published : 2 April 2018 | Page No.: 4558-4564 | Google Scholar


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The community-oriented policing concept is essence of collaboration between the police force sand the community residents that identifies and solves problems. With the police is no longer the sole guardians of law and order, community and police become actives allies in the effort to enhance the safety and the quality of the neighborhood. Basically, community policing is not a program or a series of programs. It is a philosophy, a belief that by working together the police and the community can accomplish what neither can accomplish alone. It is involves a rethinking of the role of the police and a restructuring of the police force. However, according to Friedmann (1992), the major weakness of earlier community oriented policing programs is that the police agencies did not allow or support community involvement in various crime prevention efforts. The community seems like to imply a group of people with a common history and understandings and sense of themselves as “us” and outsider as “them”. The paper therefore offers an examination of the partnership component between police and community residents towards problem solving.


Crime affects all Malaysian irrespective of race religion, gender or income levels. In Malaysia, crime is recorded either as property or violent crimes. The former generally constitute 90% of the cases recorded. The public concern generated from such an event often demands more resources being directed towards crime prevention. In the case of Pulau Pinang, in between 1999-2000, it was found that 90% of the cases recorded were against properties while violent crimes only accounted for 10% ( Index Crime Statistics, 2001).

Crime does not only affect the individual but has also effect on the community and urban neighborhoods. Government and administration of the laws are trying to control this phenomenon. Most of their efforts have focused in combating it through suppressive or police force related methods. However, this in itself may not be effective. According to the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP), the ratio of police to population in Malaysia is three officers to 1, 000 citizens (3:1000 which equivalent to 1:334) on December 2009. On 2011, based on REFSA finding, the policeman we had in 2010 is equivalent to one officer to 270 citizens (1:270) which is very near to 1:250 benchmark set by the International Police Organization (INTERPOL), and better than our neighbors Thailand (1:321) and Singapore (1:396). However, despite this, our serious crime rate is generally higher than in those countries. We outstripped in murder cases only by Thailand, and we have more reported rape incidents than Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. This clearly shows that the police cannot address today’s crime problems alone. They cannot seriously hope to single-handedly contain the burgeoning crime, drugs, and gangs problems that now beset our society

and drain our federal, state and local resources.

Therefore, in the mid years of 2007s, throughout Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) five years strategic plan (2007-2011) government has introduced community oriented policing into Malaysia policing strategies. The concept has been endorsed into three phases. The first phase only involves Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Pulau Pinang, and Johor Police Contingent. The second phase involve every police contingent in states levels in Malaysia and followed by the third phases which is involve every police contingent in every regional in every state in Malaysia.


There are various terms used more or less synonymously with community policing: police-community relations, the back-to-the–community movement, problem-oriented policing, community-based policing, and community-based crime prevention, citizen’s coproduction of community safety, team policing, neighborhood policing, neighborhood watch, community wellness and crime control policing. According to Das ( 1986), many of these terms connote cooperatives or symbiotic relationship between law enforcement and the community.

Community policing were defined as collaborative efforts between the police and community that identifies problems of crime and disorder and involves the community in the search of solutions ( McCharty, 2004) and a philosophy of full-service, personalized policing where the same officer patrols and works in the area on a permanent basis from a decentralized place, working in a proactive partnership with citizens to identifies and solve problems ( Allender, 2004). According to Kelling ( 1988), “whether one calls community policing a philosophy, strategy, a model or a paradigm, it is a complex set of ideas that simply cannot be put into a simple one sentence definition.” Although no one has been able to define community policing in a way that satisfies everyone, most will agree that it includes two vital components which is a problem solving approach to crime and disorder and partnership involving both police and community in solving the problems.

In addition, according to Trojanawizc and Burqueruox ( 1990), Radelet and Carter ( 1994) and Seagtrave ( 1996), the partnership and problem solving component process is the main important variable that has been cited by many of the researchers. It is important to note that partnership and problem solving are the core component for implementing the successful programs in community policing. Engaging the community without problem solving provides no meaningful service to the public and problems solving without [partnership] risks overlooking the most pressing community concerns. Community policing relies on active community, recognizing that such involvement gives new dimension to crime control activities. While police continue to handle crime fighting and law enforcement responsibilities, the police and the community work together to modify conditions that can encourage criminal behavior. Therefore, it is important to optimizing positive contact between patrol officers and community.

It’s differs from earlier effort such as team policing, community relations, crime prevention programs or neighborhood watch programs. Community policing will require the mastery of new responsibilities and the adoption of a flexible style of management. Community policing emphasizes the value of the patrol function and the patrol officer as an individual. In additions, community policing involves a rethinking of role of the police and a restructuring of the police organization by understand the real concept and the main component in community policing-partnership and problem solving component.

The Two Core Component in Community Policing Concept

Most of the researcher agreed, that partnership and problem solving is a core component in implementing the successful community policing concept and efforts.

Partnership component

Law enforcement alone cannot implement and advance community policing. Law enforcement benefits when community partnerships are formed to implement community policing. Community partnership is crucial for police agencies serious about community policing. Community policing cannot succeeded without them.

Partnerships are often referred to as collaboration. Collaboration occurs when several agencies and individuals commit to work together and contribute resources to obtain a common goal. Partnerships are also made up of stakeholders, those people who have an interest in what happen in a particular situation. This might include school board members, business leaders, elected officials, neighborhood-watch/block clubs, community activists, the attorney general, trade organizations, social service organizations, federal law enforcement, the media, private foundation and others charitable organization.

Community policing relies on actives community involvement, recognizing that such involvement gives new dimension to crime control activities, while police continue to handle crime fighting and law enforcement responsibilities, the police and community work together to modify conditions that can encourage criminal behavior. Patrol officers are primary providers of police services and have the most extensive contact with community members. Effective community policing depends on optimizing positive contact between patrol officers and community members.

Regular community meetings and forums will afford police and community members an opportunity to air concerns and finds ways to address them. Once the stakeholders are listed in the partnerships, the focus becomes building trust among all collaborators. This trust will enable the police to gain greater access to valuable information from the community that could lead to the solution and prevention of crimes, will engender support for needed crime-control measures, and will provide an opportunity for officers to establish a working relationship with the community.

The entire police organization must be involved in enlisting the cooperation of community members in promoting safety and security. Building trust will not happen overnight; it will require ongoing effort. But trust must be achieved before police can assess the needs of the community and construct the close ties that will engender community support. In turn, as Figure 1.0 illustrates, this cooperative relationship will deepen the bonds of trust.

Figure 1The Partnership Component

Figure 1.Distribution in groups of patients by the stroke type.

To build this trust for an effective community partnership police must treat people with respect and sensitivity. The use of unnecessary force and arrogance, aloofness, or rudeness at any level of the agency will dampen the willingness of community members to ally themselves with the police. In addition, building bonds in some neighborhoods may involve supporting basic social institutions (e.g., families, churches, schools) that have been weakened by pervasive crime or disorder ( Moore, Tronjanowicz and Kelling, 1998). The creation of viable communities is necessary if lasting alliances that nurture cooperative efforts are to be sustained. Under community policing, the police become both catalysts and facilitators in the development of these communities.

Community policing expands police efforts to prevent and control crime. The community is no longer viewed by police as a passive presence or a source of limited information, but as a partner in this effort. Community concerns with crime and disorder thus become the target of efforts by the police and the community working in tandem. The close alliance forged with the community should not be limited to an isolated incident or series of incidents, nor confined to a specific time frame. The partnership between the police and the community must be enduring and balanced. It must break down the old concepts of professional versus civilian, expert versus novice, and authority figure versus subordinate. The police and the community must be collaborators in the quest to encourage and preserve peace and prosperity.

The more conspicuous police presence of the long-term patrol officer in itself may encourage community response. But it is not sufficient. The entire police organization must vigorously enlist the cooperation of community residents in pursuing the goals of deterring crime and preserving order. Police personnel on every level must join in building a broad rapport with community members. For the patrol officer, police and community partnership entails talking to local business owners to help identify their problems and concerns, visiting residents in their homes to offer advice on security, and helping to organize and support neighborhood watch groups and regular community meetings.

For example, the patrol officer will canvass the neighborhood for information about a string of burglaries and then revisit those residents to inform them when the burglar is caught. The chief police executive will explain and discuss controversial police tactics so that community members understand the necessity of these tactics for public and officer safety. The department management will consult community members about gang suppression tactics, and every level of the department will actively solicit the concerns and suggestions of community groups, residents, leaders, and local government officials. In this police and community partnership, providing critical social services will be acknowledged as being inextricably linked to deterring crime and problem solving will become a cooperative effort.

Problem solving component process

The Community Oriented Policing Service (COPPS) ( 2002) officer stresses; “Engaging the community without problems solving provides no meaningful service to the public. Problems solving without partnership risks overlooking the most pressing community concerns. Problem solving is a broad term that implies more than simply the elimination and prevention of crimes. Problem solving is based on the assumption that “crime and disorder can be reduced in small geographic areas by carefully studying the characteristics of problems in the area, and then applying the appropriate resources...” and on the assumption that “Individuals make choices based on the opportunities presented by the immediate physical and social characteristics of an area. By manipulating these factors, people will be less inclined to act in an offensive manner.” ( Eck, John E. and William Spelman, 1983).

The theory behind problem-oriented policing is simple. Underlying conditions create problems. These conditions might include the characteristics of the people involved (offenders, potential victims, and others), the social setting in which these people interact, the physical environments, and the way the public deals with these conditions. A problem created by these conditions may generate one or more incidents. These incidents, while stemming from a common source, may appear to be different. For example, social and physical conditions in a deteriorated apartment complex may generate burglaries, acts of vandalism, intimidation of pedestrians by rowdy teenagers, and other incidents. These incidents, some of which come to police attention, are symptom of the problems. The incidents will continue so long as the problem that creates them persists. ( Eck, John E., and William Spelman, 1987).

As police recognize the effectiveness of the problem-solving approach, there is a growing awareness that community involvement is essential for its success. Determining the underlying causes of crime depends, to a great extent, on an in depth knowledge of community. Therefore, community participation in identifying and setting priorities will contribute to effective problem-solving efforts by the community and the police. Cooperative problem solving also reinforces trust, facilitates the exchange of information, and leads to the identification of other areas that could benefit from the mutual attention of the police and the community. Figure 2.0 illustrates, the problem-solving process, for this process to operate effectively the police need to devote attention to and recognize the validity of community concerns. Neighborhood groups and the police will not always agree on which specific problems deserve attention first.

Figure 2Problem Solving Process

Figure 1.Distribution in groups of patients by the stroke type.

Police may regard robberies as the biggest problem in a particular community, while residents may find derelicts that sleep in doorways, break bottles on sidewalks, and pick through garbage cans to be the number one problem. Under community policing, the problem with derelicts should also receive early attention from the police with the assistance of other government agencies and community members.

Therefore, in addition to the serious crime problems identified by police, community policing must also address the problems of significant concern to the community. Community policing in effect allows community members to bring problems of great concern to them to the attention of the police. Once informed of community concerns, the police must work with citizens to address them, while at the same time encouraging citizens to assist in solving the problems of concern to the police. The nature of community problems will vary widely and will often involve multiple incidents that are related by factors including geography, time, victim or perpetrator group, and environment. Problems can affect a small area of a community, an entire community, or many communities.

Community problems might include the following: 1) An unusually high number of burglaries in an apartment complex that are creating great anxiety and fear among residents; 2) Panhandling that creates fear in a business district; 3) Prostitutes in local parks or on heavily traveled streets; 4) Disorderly youth who regularly assemble in the parking lot of a convenience store; 5) An individual who persistently harasses and provokes community members. ( Goldstein, Herman, 1990). In community policing, the problem-solving process is dependent on input from both the police and the community. Problem solving can involve:-

  1. Eliminating the problem entirely-This type of solution is usually limited to disorder problems. Examples include eliminating traffic congestion by erecting traffic control signs, and destroying or rehabilitating abandoned buildings that can provide an atmosphere conducive to crime.

  2. Reducing the number of the occurrences of the problem-Drug-dealing and the accompanying problems of robbery and gang violence will be decreased if the police and community work together to set up drug counseling and rehabilitation centers. Longer range solutions might include intensifying drug education in schools, churches, and hospitals.

  3. Reducing the degree of injury per incident- For example, police can teach store clerks how to act during a robbery in order to avoid injury or death and can advise women in the community on ways to minimize the chances of being killed or seriously injured if attacked.

  4. Improving problem handling-Police should always make an effort to treat people humanely, (e.g., show sensitivity in dealing with rape victims and seek ways to ease their trauma, or increase effectiveness in handling runaway juveniles, drug addicts, drunk drivers, etc., by working with other agencies more closely).

  5. Manipulating environmental factors to discourage criminal behavior-This can include collaborative efforts to add better lighting, remove overgrown weeds and trim shrubbery, and seal off vacant apartment buildings.

There are as many solutions as there are problems. These solutions range from simple, inexpensive measures to complex, long-term answers that will require significant investment of staff and resources. Problem solving is limited only by the imagination, creativity, perseverance, and enthusiasm of those involved. Community policing allows solutions to be tailor-made to the specific concerns of each community. The best solutions are those that satisfy community members, improve safety, diminish anxiety, lead to increased order, strengthen the ties between the community and the police, and minimize coercive actions.

According to Dietz and Baker ( 1987), a patrol officer faced with chronic nighttime robberies of convenience stores discovered that a major contributing factor was that cash registers could not be seen from the street, either because of their location within the store or because of posters plastered on front windows. The officer did not identify the “root cause” or ultimate cause of crime, but instead identified an underlying condition that, once addressed, held promise of reducing the number of future convenience store robberies.

In addition, to identify this underlying problem, the patrol officer talked with and solicited suggestions from convenience store owners and employees, other members of the business community, and community residents. The officer’s identification of a contributing cause of the robberies is a high-leverage accomplishment in terms of its likely positive impact on the frequency of future robberies. Evidence of police concern and soliciting input from the community also reinforces cooperative tie.

Patrol officers serve as catalysts for joint police and community problem solving endeavors. They are involved with the community on a day-to-day basis, understand its unique physical and social characteristics, are aware of local problems, and when needed can help community members articulate their needs. Many problems within the community can be successfully handled by patrol officers or their immediate supervisors and members of the community-e.g., determining that better lighting would decrease the incidence of muggings at a local park.

All levels of the police organization should contribute to problem solving, depending on the scope and seriousness of the problem. For example, crafting a solution to widespread incidents of spousal assault taking place in several communities in an agency’s jurisdiction might involve multiple levels of police management.

In addition, patrol officers may have noticed a correlation between spousal assaults and excessive drinking by the perpetrators, especially at illegal after-hours clubs. The officers, their supervisors, and community members might explore ways to close down these clubs with the help of local zoning and city planning boards. Community policing puts new emphasis on tackling the underlying causes of crime by addressing problems at the grassroots level.


Scope of study

This study is conducted in Bandar Sri Pinang, Pulau Pinang. Bandar Sri Pinang was the first residential area in Northern region implementing community policing concept since July, 2008 on the first phases of five PDRM five years strategic plan (August 2007-2011). This study were focuses on two remains items which are to evaluate the partnership and investigate the community crime policing mechanism enforced by the police force and community residents.

Research and questionnaire design

Based on objectives, issues and literature review, the selective variable, dimension and sub-dimension have been identified to generate questionnaire survey forms for the research study. The partnership and problem solving component process were used as a main variable in the research study. In every variable, the researcher has developed a dimension as a key and guidelines for the research study which is:-

Dimension for Community Residents Survey

Dimension for Police Survey

In addition, the sub-dimension has been identified to specify the scope of evaluation. The sub-dimension in partnership component is trust, community contact and communication. Problems solving component sub-dimension is trust, information exchange, identify the problem and problems solving elements.

Sampling Size

There are six main apartment and condominium in Bandar Sri Pinang which is i) ; ii) ; iii) ; iv) ; v) ; and vi) with different numbers of housing units. Table 1.0 shows the details figure of Bandar Sri Pinang housing unit, Source: 2009 RID Group Companies

3 470

Cluster sampling method was used in the research study. So, in this case study, the number of housing units is considered as sample frame (population) as to determine the sampling size in Bandar Sri Pinang residential area. The formula to calculate the number of sampling is adopted from which is illustrated by scholar and researcher The formula illustrated by Yanamae, T. ( 1973) is:-

Formula, =
Where, =


Calculation process for Bandar Sri Pinang sampling size:-



The number of sampling size is now divided into six different housing areas according to the numbers of housing unit. The formula was used to calculate the sampling size for each housing area is:-

Formula, =
Where, = S

Example of calculation process for Desa Pinang:-

Therefore, . So,

210 6
900 25
556 16
968 27
440 12
396 11
3 470 97

The sampling size for each housing area in Bandar Sri Pinang residential area

The cluster sampling methods were used to distribute the questionnaire question form. The formulas were used to determine the respondent in every sample size in every housing area is:-

Formula, =

= 35

/Therefore, so,

Research approach

The study was conducted into three phases:-

First Phases: Preliminary Study

At this stage, preliminary research is initiated to determine the topics chosen based on resources and authentic and accurate information which is involves collating related literature review from books, theses, reports and the internet and developing a structured research framework to provide an overview of the research questions, issues and problems. This preliminary research is designed to produce a writing structure and guidelines of the overall study.

Second Phases: Data Collection

Data collection for this study involves both primary data and secondary data.

  1. Primary data is collected using several methods

In this study, there are two type of questionnaire survey method were used to collects the data and information from the selected respondent which is:-

Close-ended questionnaire survey

A close-ended questionnaire survey was used to collect the data and information from the Bandar Sri Pinang, Pulau Pinang community residents. The questionnaire was divided into four subsections according to questionnaire survey design which is Section A: Respondent Profile, Section B: Fear of Crime, Section C: Awareness and Involvement, Section D: Expectations.

A pilot survey test

A pilot survey test was conducted by randomly selects 10 of the Bandar Sri Pinang, Pulau Pinang community residents as a respondent. The main purpose of the pilot survey testing is to catch a potential problems, misunderstanding and error in the questionnaire forms.

In addition, the pilot survey testing was to provide information on how long data collection can be expected to take and a preview of how difficult items will be to complete. The questionnaire survey may need some modification and possibly even the way to collect the information.

Open-ended questionnaire survey

An open-ended questionnaire survey and the checklist were used as a guideline for the face-to-face interview with the police officer in charge of Bandar Sri Pinang Community Policing committee.

Observation Survey

The observation survey method will be apply as to observe the environment and the mechanism that had been used by the police officer and resident in Bandar Sri Pinang to reduce and preventing crime in their areas.

  1. Secondary data

  2. Major information gather to aid to this research is concerning community policing, neighborhood watch, crime prevention programs and quality of life. This information can be downloaded from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) library data base ( ).

  3. Journal mostly collected from Science Direct, USM students are license to download any source journal for this site, as courtesy from USM libraries. ( ).

  4. Others, thesis of from previous master student is available for reference at Resource Center, School of Housing, Building and Planning (HBP), USM.

  5. The researchers are also getting the information from Balai Polis Jalan Pattani, Ibu Pejabat Daerah, Daerah Timur Laut, Pulau Pinang Police Station such as a crime statistic index and related information.

  6. Some of an additional data and information was collected from Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan (JKKK), Bandar Sri Pinang, Pulau Pinang.

  7. Third Phases: Data Analysis and Recommendation

Data collected from the field will be checked and entered into the computer for analysis. Police and Public survey will be analyzed by using Statistical Packages for the Social Science software (SPSS).

In addition, the police interview data and information will be summarizing as a references to the study. Findings from the study would provide vital information for the development of safety features and equipment’s, enforcement and the perception of community regarding on community crime policing concept.

Lastly, the conclusion and recommendation presented based on the data collection and finding. Basically, the recommendation give are directed towards how to improve and contribute a success and appropriateness in practical use of Community Policing concept, methods and technique.


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Article Details

Issue: Vol 5 No 4 (2018)
Page No.: 4558-4564
Section: Articles

How to Cite

Hassan, M. M., & Abdullah, A. (2018). An Evaluation of Community Oriented Policing (COP) Mechanism: Partnership and Problem Solving. Case Study: Bandar Baru Sri Pinang, Pulau Pinang. Part 1: Literature Review & Methodology. The International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Invention, 5(4), 4558-4564.

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