This chapter discusses the initial contact between the police and the community. After a period on relief or perhaps in a specialist function, an officer is assigned to the community constable role. The officers regarded their first task as being to make contact with local people. Tactics associated with developing and maintaining good public contacts include a friendly and outgoing manner for the initial approach; use of humour to sidestep potentially ‘touchy’ situations; demonstration of active listening skills when interviewing citizens who report criminal activity; and the ability to vary the type of response in dealing with the public, depending on reactions.
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