Institutionalising community policing in Timor-Leste


By Todd Wassel

The Asia Foundation partnered with the Overseas Development Institute to contribute to a global study called Securing Communities on the different models of community policing around the world. Based on the Foundation’s long running community police program in Timor-Leste, this case study examines the key features of community police development and practice in Timor-Leste from 1999 to the present. The focus of the study is on the diversity of objectives, approaches and methods of community policing, the ‘messy politics’ of its development, and what this means for those who aim to support this policing model. Key findings from the study include:

  1. Community policing in Timor-Leste has developed from a combination of donor advocacy, existing customary practices and support within the Polícia Nacionál de Timor-Leste (PNTL).
  2. The development of community policing has been a long-term evolution that has only recently taken formal shape in the country.
  3. Community policing has been influenced by colonial experiences of policing, personalized politics, strong donor presence and widespread reliance on customary dispute resolution.
  4. While community policing has only recently been formalized, early results indicate some improvement in police service delivery and community perceptions of police.
Posted March 31, 2014
Related locations: Timor-Leste
Related programs: Conflict and Fragile Conditions, Strengthen Governance