Community policing has been identified as a valuable tool for countering violent extremism (CVE) as it offers opportunities for law enforcement officials to engage with communities and more deeply understand the various drivers that can lead to violence and extremism. To further explore the role of community policing in countering terrorism and violent extremism, a consultative dialogue was co-organized by CGCC, the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), and the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT), with generous support from the government of New Zealand. The workshop provided an opportunity for international experts, senior and mid-level officials from the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP), and representatives from the Malaysian government to exchange experiences and good practices in community policing, and contribute to the broadening debate about multidimensional approaches to preventing and mitigating the threat of terrorism and violent extremism. The workshop was part of a broader project on community policing and countering violent extremism, which included an earlier meeting in Bangkok in May 2013.
Speakers from Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada, and Belgium/EU presented case studies on community policing and countering violent extremism from their respective countries. Speaking about the Malaysian experience, a senior official from the RMP’s Special Task Force emphasized that community policing is an important instrument in the counterterrorism toolbox, playing a crucial role not only in identifying early signs of radicalization, but also in the deradicalization process. While Malaysia has a long history and tradition of community-oriented policing and a robust deradicalization program, officers were open to the prospect for further training and training opportunities focused on enhancing approaches to countering terrorism and violent extremism. Participants also agreed that strengthening regional and international cooperation through capacity-building initiatives and platforms to share experiences and good practices were vital to combating the contemporary terrorist threat and developing a deeper global knowledge base on lessons learned.