Republic of the Philippines
Department of the Interior and Local Government
Philippine Public Safety College
NATIONAL POLICE COLLEGE
In Partial Fulfillment
Subject: MULTICULTURAL POLICING
Dr. Harry C. Lorenzo Jr.
RIZALITO G GAPAS
An Essay in Multicultural Policing
IMPROVING POLICING IN MULTI CULTURAL SETTING
By Rizalito G Gapas
Understanding Multicultural Policing
The Philippines in general, with the exemption of few indigenous communities, may well be considered a modern country, living in modern times and hospitable as its people are aptly renowned to be, they play host to people from various cultures. In other words, we have been living in a diverse or multicultural setting, it has always been our way of life to understand, accommodate, accept and coexist peacefully despite people’s culturally diversified prejudices in the community. The same is true with our policing which is naturally expected to reflect our way of life. Hence, no matter how we may call or describe our policing or base it from whatever model, our policing has always been multicultural. And so to be able to treat the question with justice, it is imperative to establish a clear understanding of the concepts involved in what we refer now as multicultural policing or enforcing laws in a multicultural setting.
Multicultural Policing basically means an approach to policing in which sensitivity to diversity of culture in a community is given utmost consideration in order to mitigate possible adverse effect when intricacies of diverse culture come clashing with each other or with existing laws. The concept of Multicultural Policing involves a great deal of understanding the diverse culture in a community in order to be able to adequately or appropriately approach, assist, communicate with the people and be adhered to without offending the cultural sensitivity of any group or groups of people. Multicultural policing emphasizes sensitivity to the culture of a community as a means to maintain the peace despite the diversity of the way of life, so to speak, in a community. Paramount to this kind of approach to policing is the awareness and acceptance of the diversity not only by the law enforcers but by all stakeholders in the community. This approach presupposes collaboration or partnership between the police and the community. But before a police-community partnership kind of a relationship is attained, a great deal of effort is required in dialogues, interactions and active involvement so as to achieve a deeper and functional understanding of the culture of the community.
Culture and Policing
Culture, simply put, is the way of life of a people or group of people. It comprises their common aspiration, customs, belief, arts, norms of conduct, including the ways of thinking. Most importantly, culture is explicitly expressed in the written laws of the land and it is in this aspect that culture and policing often come in conflict with each other.
Policing has two main facets: one is the maintenance of peace and public safety and the other is law enforcement. Maintenance of peace and public safety is that aspect of policing in which sensitivity and functional knowledge of the community’s culture plays a larger role. It is in this same aspect that police assumes the mediator role in order to patch up minor differences that do not necessarily amount to a crime; either it could be misunderstanding or petty misdemeanor. A strong and deeper community relation is necessitated to assume that role and there should not be any problem for any police officer to perform such task given his own built-in cultural mind set. What proves crucial is when the issue or infraction amounts to a crime and the police is mandated to enforce the law according to predetermined procedures.
It is when culture clashes with law...
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