HISTORY OF THE COMMUNITY POLICING UNIT
The Community Policing Unit of the Ghana Police Service was established in June 2002 with the setting up of the administration section and the Bicycle Patrol Unit. This came as a result of the realisation that there is the need for the police to collaborate with members of the communities, stake holders, Chiefs and opinion leaders in dealing withy crime.
In this vein, the unit started with the bicycle patrols which was made possible, when the International Criminal Investigation Training Assistance Programme (ICITAP) under the United States Department of Justice in conjunction with International Police Mountain Bikes Association helped the Ghana Police Service in training twenty  personnel for police bicycle patrols.
Today, the Bicycle Patrol Unit covers areas such as Osu, Labone, East Cantonment and Nima; after a pilot program in Labone proved successful.
The unit currently has 28 personnel made up of 3 Senior Police Officers, 2 Chief Inspectors and 23 other ranks.
STRUCTURE OF COMMUNITY POLICING
Community Policing is an emerging concept in policing which seeks to bridge the communication and interaction gap between police institutions and the communities that they serve. It aims at encouraging the establishment of a close relation with civil societies in order to give the police an opportunity to understand and appreciate the security needs and concerns of the various societies in which they operate. This method of policing leads to a situation where the police can work in partnership with local people to identify potential problems and take proactive steps in responding to them.
PRINCIPLES AND APPLICATIONS
As community policing is a partnership between the officer and the citizen, commitment must be exhibited by both sides. Officers must show that they are committed to improving life in their communities by assisting the citizens and listening to them. Officers must also be able to solve problems brought up by the community effectively and efficiently. Likewise the community must be committed to helping officers identify and solve those problems. Citizens input incorporate a firm commitment to the value and necessity of policies and priorities.
Closely related to commitment is trust. New relationships are formed based on trust and respect between citizens and officers. With community policing, officers and the community can build supportive relationships. When trust has been instilled, the community will be more willing to assist officers keep the community safe.
c. Recognition of special needs
Community policing recognises that there are citizens, such as the youth and the elderly, whose needs may be different from each others. Many police stations have already implemented programmes or collaborated with others to provide programmes designed to prevent youth crime and encourage safety (e.g. traffic safety lectures for elementary school children, recreational activities, sporting events, and poster contents, etc).
d. Interest in community
Officers will obtain citizen support and co-operation when they display interest in input from citizens. Working with citizen groups on community based projects and with residents to enhance neighbourhood safety will ensure this. It is important that officers stay close to the community in order to forge links with local communities and reduce problems of crime and nuisance.
Community policing assist in developing and implementing new approaches to crime prevention based on local needs. As community policing sets out to meet local needs, it must be flexible for the problems of today and the problems of the future.
f. Moving from a reactive to a pro-active approach to policing.
Reactive Policing is about waiting for a crime to occur before responding.
Pro-Active Policing is about taking positive steps prior to the occurrence of crime to prevent it from occurring. Community Policing emphasises prevention, based on the common sense idea that although citizens appreciate and value rapid response and apprehension of wrongdoers (reactive), they would always prefer that their victimisation be prevented in the first place. The cornerstone for crime prevention is active citizens’ support and participation in programs.