Police co-operation with ethnic, Muslim minority groups – a case study

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In the suburb of a large Danish provincial town, characterized as a socially deprived neighborhood, the police have been faced with major difficulties when addressing insecurity and crime in the area. Distrust in the police has been common among the residents, of whom the majority stems from non-western countries. The work methods of the police have not been perceived by the residents as legitimate, and few have been willing to cooperate in solving crime. In 2013, in order to change these dynamics, the police invited locally-based ethnic minority associations to co-produce safety and social cohesion in the area, an approach which can also be found in the early co-production literature stemming from Ostrom and her colleagues (Percy 1978).
Through an analytical lens drawing on Robert Putnam’s concepts of bonding and bridging social capital (2000) combined with the concept of linking social capital between civil society actors and governmental institutions (Szreter and Woolcock 2003), this paper will investigate the factors that strengthen and impede co-production between the police and CSOs in a socially deprived neighborhood.
The paper presents a qualitative in-depth case study of the co-production process which has been followed closely for two years. The empirical data consists of police documents, qualitative interviews with police staff and members of the CSOs and observations conducted at meetings and events involving the police and representatives of the CSOs. The analysis examines how the trust of the CSOs to co-produce has been established, whether/how trust in the police has been passed on to the wider community, and if/how the co-production has enhanced social cohesion in the area by connecting different and sometimes opposing ethnic minority groups.
The paper argues that for this type of co-production to succeed, a consistent effort within the police is needed, stretching from management to the local level, i.e. bridging social capital is not only necessary amongst the CSOs but also between the various police departments. To a large degree, the CSOs involved consist of resourceful citizens. Consequently, the paper points out that capacity building of the less resourceful CSOs to ensure their participation in and benefit from co-production i.e. for linking social capital to take place, a special attention and willingness to provide the resources necessary is required, as earlier pointed to by Jakobsen and Andersen (2013).
Original languageEnglish
Publication date26 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2018
EventDansk Sociologikongres 2018: Fællesskaber, social sammenhængskraft og eksklusion i mangfoldige samfund. - SDU, Esbjerg, Denmark
Duration: 25 Jan 201826 Jan 2018


ConferenceDansk Sociologikongres 2018
Internet address


  • social work and social conditions
  • management, organizational development and innovation

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