Community policing to help combat migrant fear

Community policing can help bridge the mistrust and fear among and towards newly-arrived migrants and local communities. This was one of the observations from the latest summary report of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on migration-related fundamental rights concerns in selected EU Member States which assesses how the police work with local communities including migrants and asylum seekers.

Access the policing focus section and the June monthly data collection highlights.

The Agency’s latest summary focused on areas where there is available data and high numbers of asylum seekers. Some of the main findings include:

  1. Fear of becoming a victim of crime is a common concern among local communities, including existing migrant populations, as well as asylum seekers or refugees.
  2. Building trust between the police and local communities is vital in trying to resolve and prevent conflicts that arise within different communities. However, this requires adequate resources and competences within local police services, as many asylum seekers are unlikely to report being victims of hate crime or exploitation by traffickers and criminals.
  3. The police in some of the areas covered have dedicated more resources to dealing with hate crime against migrants and some have established specialised units.
  4. Most areas have crime prevention activities at reception facilities or asylum centres such as police patrols and visits to build trust as well as surveillance measures. There are also radicalisation prevention efforts ranging from police liaison to security training on how to handle radicalisation situations.
  5. Community policing-related training has also been taking place, boosting awareness of the needs of migrants and how to avoid discriminatory profiling. Measures include recruiting staff with different migrant backgrounds. Such measures may not necessarily relate to the arrival of migrants but are part of wider efforts to have more inclusive policing.
  6. Although local authorities, communities and civil society are involved in community policing processes, migrant communities are rarely consulted. In some instances there were consultations with citizen and community organisations on the arrival and/or reception of asylum seekers during which the police were involved.
  7. Newly-arrived migrants are only sometimes provided policing-relevant content on, for example, how national policing and judicial systems work as well as the services the police offer.

The European Commission asked the Agency to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States particularly affected by large migration movements. The reports cover 14 Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

FRA has published overviews since September 2015.