Why mediation? First and foremost, police mediation is an effective route toward complaint resolution, especially in less serious situations in which rapid, informal resolutions can be achieved.
By mediating, in both residential and business environments, police and community members can contain potentially volatile situations. Police dispute resolution can also prevent minor cases from entering the criminal justice system, helping keep the courts open to tackle more serious infractions. This route reduces stress and cost to the community, in terms of both public spending and reducing the psychological toll for individuals involved. Police mediation is a cost effective form of complaint resolution.
Most importantly, though, police mediation and police community outreach create a rapport built on mutual trust and communication. Evidence shows that officers who participate in police mediation feel more in control of situations, and community members are more involved in processes that directly affect them and their neighbours.
How it works
Building off preexisting police training, such as active listening and paraphrasing, police mediating programs train officers on how to effectively brainstorm solutions with parties on the scene and after the fact.
Police mediation and police community outreach also rely heavily on nonverbal communication to keep situations from escalating, offer tips on handling power imbalances and potential biases, and help officers become more invested in the community they police and more involved in the outcome.
Overall, this approach starts with the idea that law enforcement and the neighbourhoods they patrol are part of a larger community, together. Too often both sides view the other as an antagonist. Mediation breaks down that false divide from the start, growing community mediation from common ground, rather than across a wall.