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Collaborative problem solving for community safety
Collaborative problem solving for community safety

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3.3 Empathy in policing

The quality of empathy is an essential skill in community policing, and like other skills it can be developed through practice and thinking about that practice.

Looking internationally, programs in various jurisdictions have considered the impact of empathy on police engagement with the public. A study funded by the US Department of Justice identified, for example, a capacity for empathy and compassion as a core competency of policing.

Where empathy-based programs have been specifically introduced in policing – such as Seattle Police Department’s LEED program (short for ‘Listening and Explaining with Equity and Dignity’) significantly positive outcomes were evident both for police officers and the communities they serve with fewer arrests and lower rates of use of force.