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The state owes a responsibility especially through its police agency to protect the rights of all individuals and citizens against terrorism and ensure that all individuals enjoy the right to life, freedom and physical integrity. Hence, they are required to make all the necessary measures to prevent terrorism and also protect human rights and rule of law. But in the world of digitalisation, many countries have moved their approach towards the prevention of terrorism through digital means. Hence, policing has also been advanced by advancement in terrorism activities. The responsibilities of the police have shifted towards counter-terrorism, protection of the public and digital policing.
Community policing is considered as the major complement in the traditional policing practices for the prevention of crime. The main aim behind this approach is the forming of a tie-up between the police department with the public, community members, government agencies and all departments of government in solving problems. But it has been analysed through various research that community police do not change the basic objective of democracy in policing, rather it provides a strategy for the achievement of these goals in an effective way. The major objectives served by the community policing approach are as follows:
Before discussing further, the role of community policing in the prevention of terrorism, it is important to understand the definition and meaning of community policing. This term can be defined as-
“A strategy or philosophy of the organisation which promotes healthy partnership and collaboration between the community and the police department in solving the issues of crime, issues of national security, issues of fear and also improving the quality of life of the citizens.”
It is already known that the terrorists have started using advanced technologies in spreading violence and fear among the public and establish a regime in the world of terrorism. This advancement has made the police departments shift their traditional approach towards the technological approach so that terrorist activities can be prevented and public protection can be ensured. In other words, there has been a shift from traditional policing to digital policing. Digital policing includes the use of technology in solving crimes but it is not confined to this strategy. Instead, it is wide in ambit and includes all the modern techniques which the police department could adopt in solving the crime. One such identified approach adopted by the department of police is the involvement of community members in solving crimes (Pepper and McGrath, 2020).Hence, community members can help in fight terrorist acts. But before that, it is important to understand how community members are affected by counterterrorism.
The primary responsibility of preventing crime and terrorist activity is that of the state and the state seeks support from the community, civil society, media and business community in its successful attempt to counter-terrorism. Hence, there are various methods and tactics used by the police department to improve securities of the state and which also involve community members. But these methods are either community targeted or community-oriented. For example, the police department increase patrols and does close monitoring by stop and search. From the perspective of community-oriented, these methods are decided after consulting with the community and discussing these methods with the public authorities and community members. But from the perspective of community targeted, these methods have nothing to do with community discussion (Dresser, 2019).
The state is the primary body responsible for the prevention of terrorist activities and this has been clearly reflected in the international obligations of the state and also its pollical commitments. For example, the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy provides for the definition of counterterrorism and includes the following:
The Resolution 1373 (2001) of the United Nations Security Council provides for a legal obligation on all the states to establish a national regulatory and legislative framework which shall ensure the following points:
Thus, it is clear that it is an international obligation of the states to prevent acts of terrorismand related crime and they are bound by the rules of international law in preventing terrorism. These rules depict the police responsibilities in the prevention of terrorism and take measures for the protection of the public.
Apart from the responsibility of prevention of terrorism, the police department is also having the responsibility of preventing the occurrence of crime at the domestic and national level and hence, for this the police department is relying on digital technology or in other words, digital policing.As per the experiences of the police department and its officers, it has been stated that four lenses demonstrate the scenario of digital policing. The police under this redefine contemporary policing and its reality as they apply digital technology in solving the crime that is applied in the private sector. The four lenses are as follows:
Under proactive policing, the police believe in arriving at the crime scene before the crime occurs so that it could prevent it. This is done through evidence-based intelligence and the police get information about the crime before it is committed. Under public engagement, the police department uses social media platform to identify the criminal quickly. Hence, public support makes the process faster and the identification easy. Further, optimisation of the workforce includes the taking best out of police officer's time and hence, this saves time of bookings for custody, etc. Lastly, the use of digital technology in solving the case includes the collection of evidence through digital means, recording statements through electronic means and getting suspect image through electronic means. It also includes the digital collaboration of the police departments with the court for further proceedings. Hence, this depicts that the use of digital technology has also proved helpful for the police department in fulfilling its responsibilities of crime-solving and protecting the public (Fielding, 2021).
Apart from international law, the states are also obliged under national laws to frame legal structure to prevent acts of terrorism. The state has to enact local domestic laws to prevent terrorist activities and all other activities associated with terrorists. Counterterrorism is also called anti-terrorism includes certain practices which prevent terrorism and also include the strategy of the government to prevent such acts. It also includes the use of national power to neutralize terrorist acts but for this effective implementation, such strategies and procedures must find a place in the local laws of the state. Thus, the state enacts local laws which shall be enforced by the judicial body for the prevention of terrorism and the state shall hold accountability in case it fails to exercise these measures.
Discussing the situation of some of the leading countries, it has been observed that the United Kingdom has anti-terrorism legislation enacted for thirty years. Some of the enacted legislation of the United Kingdom are:
The United States has also enacted legislation as a response to terrorism and some of the legislations are as follows:
Similarly, Australia has also enacted legislation for the prevention of terrorist activities and some of the Australian legislation are as follows:
Though the police and state departments are accountable for the terrorist acts and they take every possible measure to prevent these acts, yet there is a requirement of certain additional efforts and such activities shall also increase the accountability of police counter-terrorism actions.
Thus, to conclude, it can be stated that digital policing and the engagement of community members have changed the face of national and international threats. The involvement of community members has made the investigation of cases easy as with the help of the public the identification of criminals can be done. The state has a national as well as international obligation of preventing acts of terrorism. Under national laws, the states are obliged and bound by the enacted legislation whereas, under international laws, the states have to follow the treaties and conventions they have become signatories of (Cammaerts and Mansell, 2020).Under the rule of international laws, the state owes a duty of preventing the acts of terrorism and all other acts which may assist terrorism.It is the responsibility of the police department to protect the public and their rights and ensure that they live life with peace and dignity. Digitalisation in policing has emerged due to the advancement in wrongdoings and the use of technologies in the commitment of a crime. Thus, the police department has also shifted from traditional approaches to digital approaches which shall prove effective in avoiding crime and also investigating it in no time.
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