During the week of 24 – 28 May 2010, Latvia hosted a ‘Community Policing’ course in Riga. Organised with the assistance from Ireland and Sweden, this event attracted 30 participants from 18 different Member States.
After an initial meet and greet, all of the participants were welcomed by the course’s eight trainers and by Gatis Svika, Head of the Cooperation and Development Bureau of the Latvian State Police.
During the opening speech, the Chief of State Police of the Republic of Latvia Valdis Voins said: “It is important for Latvian police to learn about the different experiences used worldwide and continue to improve their performance”.
During the course keynote speakers Nihad Bunar, Swedish National Police Academy, presented “Community Policing issues and perspectives”; Denis Beakey and Sheelagh Brady from the Irish National Community Policing Office, illustrated “Police/Community partnerships in Ireland” and “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design” respectively. Daily activities were concluded with all lecturers and Ilze Berzina-Rukere, Course Manager, guiding the participants through case studies and discussions related to how Community Policing is dealt with throughout EU Member States.
Two topics covered during the course were “Community Policing and the prevention of radicalisation” presented by Jean-Pierre Devos, Belgian Federal Police, and “Promotion of Crime Prevention through Community Policing in Talsu Police Department” explained by Ilze Berzina-Rukere, Latvian State Police. Both of these presentations reported about the progress that has been made in the past 12 months.
One of the biggest points of interest was the presentation given by Marko Forss, Helsinki Police Department, about Community Policing work on the Internet. For most of the Member States represented at the course, it was unusual to hear about different approaches in reaching target audiences and information gathering.
During one of the case studies, participants had the possibility to solve situations with real pictures taken in Talsi, Latvia and give advice to be used by local municipalities and police.
The final full day of the course had participants involved in “measurement systems and evaluation criteria of Community Policing and Crime Prevention work” led by Alan Porte, Scottish Police College, first via a presentation and subsequently in exercises.