In May – June 2014 The Asia Foundation and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) undertook a case study of bicycle patrolling as part of wider community policing in Sri Lanka under the ‘Securing Communities’ project at ODI. The full case study was not able to be published publically, so this document presents selected findings of the case study in order to begin to fill the gap in the literature on policing in Sri Lanka.
The case study aimed to understand the role of bicycle patrolling within the broader context of community policing in Sri Lanka and to examine how it has developed, its objectives, effects and ongoing challenges. The findings include:
- Histories of colonialism and conflict, as well as
centralised institutional structures and social cleavages have shaped community
policing in Sri Lanka.
- While the key objectives of improving police–community
relations and reducing crime are shared by different actors, emphasis varies.
- Community policing and bicycle patrolling are increasing
trust at the local level, making people feel safer and enabling local
problem-solving. However, they are not yet transforming broader policing
- The effectiveness of community policing is limited by
challenges such as the isolation of community policing from wider policing
functions, under-trained recruits and linguistic difficulties.