Multicultural Policing and the Effect on Homeland Security
Homeland security is a national endeavour to ensure a secure motherland that is safe and vigilant against terrorism and other perils that might risk its peace and order. The policing sector is encountered by challenges due to the increasing multiculturalism. These challenges are mostly inclined towards the differing socioeconomic, religious, and contending national identities, evident in multicultural communities. According to Kubrin (2014), conflicts arise due to two common incidents that link policing with the minority group in a multicultural community. The minority groups may suffer from negligence by the police. On the other hand, they may suffer from aggressive police approach or both. This paper therefore explores the controversies that arise when policing is implemented in a multicultural community and how they affect the homeland security.
Beutel (2007) found that differing religious believes is the main cause of heightened insecurity in multicultural communities. Due to the diversity in religious beliefs, some groups or individuals disagree with the foreign influences. Such groups retaliate by resolving into violence; if they are too fearful to fight for what they believe in or to openly oppose what they perceive as wrong. Mataré (2011) argues that the observation of strict religious beliefs from a tender age and regular reading of religious verses causes a feeling of authority. This makes one to perceive those who do not practice the same religion as atheists and enemies for that matter. This results into extreme religious actions like bombing and other terror attacks, which could engage the police as they try to protect and restore homeland security.
According to Keeble (2005), the factors that have aggravated multicultural in communities are migration and urbanization. He further argues that there are four factors that have influenced multicultural conflicts. These include: migration, quest for power, insecurity, and limited resources. Most immigrants settle in the urban centers causing overcrowding, which eventually results into multicultural crashes. In the same line, they go through a series of transitions, which can sometimes build fear and uncertainties. As a result, they tend to seek refuge within ethnical based groups. This group identity when combined with limited resources, results into ethnical conflicts. Moreover, most minority groups find themselves in a unique economic position (Mataré, 2011). This could also be a trigger for hostility or drastic action that could threaten the homeland security. As a result, policing in a multicultural community is faced with unique problems, which create challenges that are rooted in a wider framework of political reactions to diversity. Nonetheless, the subject of policing is outstanding due to the nature of police work and the sort of engagement it involves.
As Brown (2007) found, the marginalized group associates the police with enforcement of unfair and biased policies. This opinion makes them to be estranged from the police. In addition, the aspect of language barrier and cultural differences may create tensions between the police and the minority groups. As a result, the minorities undermine the system of the police or fail to receive the services they need from the police. He emphasizes that this situation is common where the police and the marginalized groups have been involved in violence in the past creating high levels of tension and mutual mistrust between them. Such situations could result into undesirable actions that might interfere with the homeland security.
Similarly, cultural differences and ethno-national political opinions are evident in multicultural communities. Keeble (2005) noted that in such a community, there are diverse opinions on governance, law enforcement, justice, and customs. This diversity is a source of major challenges for the government bodies and especially for the police. For instance, when clashes involving the marginalized groups and state erupt, it is the police who have to deal directly with the rioters. In some cases, the intensification of violence could point out that the state and the police are ill prepared for the task. Similarly, sometimes the police become overaggressive towards the minority groups. This bias is perceived as prejudice, which aggregates the sour relationship between the police and marginalized. For instance, the beating of Rodney King, an African-American, by the Los-Angeles’ police became a sign of police cruelty against marginalized groups (Kubrin, 2014). Such incidents result into chaotic protests, which interfere with the homeland security.
Notably, the minority groups in multicultural communities face unequal treatment and discrimination from the majority group. As a result, they get fewer chances for employment and access to services. As a result, they lead a poor life in substandard housing and unfavorable social conditions. These in turn reinforce attitudes that confine the minority group to low skilled and perilous occupations. Most of them are forced to work in black labour market where they perform legitimate jobs though illegally. Others are compelled into criminal activities like prostitution or drug trafficking. As a result, the police pursue them because such criminal activities they engage in pose a threat to the homeland security (Mataré, 2011).
Conversely, the subject of policing has brought a lot of controversy in democratic countries with multicultural citizens. For instance, when conflicts between the state and the minorities arise, security concerns may be inclined towards the minorities. In such incidents, the police departments might create new provisions for dealing with multicultural policing (Keeble, 2005). One such example is the provision of “social sensitivity” training for the police. Such kind of training can create uncertainty for the officers as they try to make a distinction between justified and unjustified discrimination. The policy was aimed at training the police to be more sensitive to cultural diversity and to act accordingly when faced with a situation. Conversely, another sect of the provision advices the police to ignore cultural differences as a basis for restricted resolutions. Notably, such distinctions have proved to be inapplicable in real life. The situation therefore leaves the police in confusion making them to be impatient and persistent to stick with the status quo, a situation, which greatly affects the homeland security (Brown, 2007).
In conclusion, the current rates of immigration and urbanization have resulted in multicultural communities, especially in the urban areas. Multiculturalism has in turn contributed to diversity in religious, social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Consequently, there has been clustering along ethnical or religious lines creating a minority group that is prone to discrimination and lack of a sense of belonging. This group has resolved into criminal activities that threaten the homeland security of the nation. The indulgence of the police in the situation has aggravated the controversy of policing in a multicultural community. This paper therefore recommends that reconciliation actions be taken in order to increase the trust between the police and the minority groups.
Beutel, A. J. (2007). Radicalization and homegrown terrorism in western Muslim communities: Lessons learned for America. Minaret of Freedom Institute. Retrieved from http://www.minaret.org/MPAC%20Backgrounder.pdf.
Brown, B. (2007). Community policing in post‐September 11 America: A comment on the concept of community‐oriented counterterrorism. Police Practice and Research, 8(3), 239-251.
Keeble, E. (2005). Immigration, civil liberties, and national/homeland security. International Journal, 60(2), 359-372.
Kubrin, C. E. (2014). Secure or insecure communities? Criminology & Public Policy, 13(2), 323-338.
Mataré, H. F. (2011). The Islamic challenge: Religion and politics in Europe of the 21st century. The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, 36(2), 262.