Note on how to cite this journal:

Author, Date of the post, WMO Conflict Insight, Title of the post,  ISSN: 2628-6998, https://worldmediation.org/conflict-insight 

‘The aim of this paper is to present the Spanish police experience, regarding the implementation and deployment of alternative dispute resolution systems in citizenship and especially in the law enforcement agencies. One of the tools that have really worked is the implementation of Police Mediation as an alternative dispute resolution method. This results in the improvement of citizenship and in greater confidence in the police as well as in investments at a global level.

The situation described above is linked to the mediation culture. Mediation seeks for civic engagement, the promotion of equality and respect, a participatory democracy and citizen participation and engagement. This kind of mediation has been specially developed in certain neighborhoods in big Spanish cities, as well as in other smaller countries. Thus, a dispute resolution method needs to be supported. This method needs active civic participation and it claims that the community needs to deal with conflict management to manage the coexistence.

Our society is constantly changing. Believing that everything remains the same is criminally wrong. This can be clearly seen in the evolution of society. Being aware of their rights and freedoms, society not only demands the protection of their rights but also their development. But choosing the best law enforcement policy model in this changing society is a complex task due to some mistaken concepts from politics and even the police force. Understanding the law enforcement policy models above mentioned is very enriching for political speech. Furthermore, it not only improves its communication but also its plan and hence the citizen security and coexistence policies. A paradigm shift needs to be faced without fear as well as a true metamorphosis of the police structure and roles. A combined system of community policing principles is desirable. These principles strengthen the efficient work relationships between the law enforcement agencies and the community thanks to mutual collaboration and the problem-solving skills of the police. This law enforcement policy model aims to change the traditional police strategies into a more proactive version. In addition, it systematizes the complaints received by the residents’ thanks to an analytical process. The reason is that the police see these received complaints as a sign of an underlying conflict in the neighborhood. Therefore, supporting strategic intelligence and a police approach is crucial.

Law enforcement agencies, as well as other social actors, need to deal with many different problems and strict law enforcement or administrative regulations do not solve them in many cases. In fact, they even worsen the situation sometimes. Thus, building public democratic security policies and responsible social policy is essential. In this way, the citizenship will be the focus of these programs.

Therefore, law enforcement agencies need to be integrated into our society through other methods. When using different modus operandi, new proximity police models arise. They are based in the mediation and the police are the main actors in local polices in Spain and in the Valencian community specifically. The Valencian Community Local Police Coordination Act“ley de Coordinación de Policías Locales de la Comunidad Valenciana” highlights one of the police specific competencies by law—the police mediation. Thanks to this ability, they can manage different conflicts within the citizenship and in civil, commercial, criminal and school contexts, among others.

The Valencia Local Police Department has been constituted in the Ministry of Justice of Spain as a mediation Institution, whose aims include promoting mediation, facilitating access to it and its administration, including the appointment of mediators, and must guarantee transparency in this appointment. If their purposes also include arbitration, they shall take steps to ensure separation between the two activities.

Regarding to the police mediators officers, and their specific training, all of them have carried out a specialized training program and a rigorous selection, which we will see in detail later on and how new technologies in neuroscience are applied to select the best profiles (skills and abilities) to form part of the Police Mediation service.

The Valencia Local police Department is a reference in Spain in Europe and overseas countries in the use of the Police Mediation, the special police unit, was selected as the best police practice in Spain, is the first police unit specialized in alternative dispute resolution and restorative justice.

For facilitating the real implementation of the Police Mediation program as a community policing strategy, it is crucial to count on a Police Force with a solid background in trust-building and community policing in order to develop the Police Mediation program. In this sense, the Valencia Police Department is a pioneer Police Force working with citizens in conflict solving, through providing Police Mediation and with young people also peer mediation in schools and advice. As an example, it is an official mediation institution, so agreements signed by their police mediators have, one signed by the parties, the value of a judicial decision.

This new law grants a strategic role in the use of police mediation. In this way, the role of the police in the community is reinforced, where the approval of the agreements prevents the parties in conflict from having to file complaints or go to the courts of justice.

It should be highlighted, the excellent results obtained since the creation of the police mediation Unit in 2009 as part, to the European Project “Safeland” neighborhoods and safe schools in Europe, where the mediation agreement rate is 70% on average, the highest rate of agreements being precisely the last year 2019 with 72% of agreements between the parties involved in neighborhood conflicts.’

Please learn more about the specific training and research in the field of Neuroscience by joining our WMO ROUND TABLE. In the meanwhile, feel free to post your questions and thoughts below. We will get back to them accordingly during the conference call.

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9 Responses

  1. Interesting perspective! It would be great if we can get an idea on the neuroscience models/ criteria that are being used to select profiles and train the best suited for this role.
    Thank you, Antonio Berlanga!

    Does gender play a role in employing task force for mediation? Do certain schools or demographic prefer one gender over another?

  2. Dear Virginia, dear Antonio,

    thank you very much for these insights. To me, this is a very interesting topic, that needs to be highlighted in the widest sense. More often than not, I experience a totally different communication concept between police and citizens. Based on totalitarianism, the local police of my neighborhood often fails to interact in a relationship-building way, but still practices the intimidation of people (my biased perception). This often has escalating consequences, as potential victims feel misunderstood and dismissed.

    Obviously, the Police Mediation Practitioners of Valencia have a strong impact on sustainable trust- and relationship-building with and within the community. To me, it is also a strong hint that people actually like to work conjointly on the solution of conflicts and that they are ready to be responsible for such issues. What is definitely a positive development. But what does the feedback of your colleagues look like? Would they say that the new communication and de-escalation concept finds the acceptance that you were looking for? And what are the challenges that the Police Mediators face in their daily practice? Which situations cause them stress and when do they refuse the use Mediation and switch to other concepts?

    Best regards, Daniel

  3. I would like to find out if this is a new concept or something already in practice. Is there an international collaboration to this concept.? For example, assuming someone is wanted on the Interpol list, is there some sort of room for mediation in the matter or will such a situation be strictly treated as a criminal offense that is not subject to mediation?

    This is an interesting topic which I would like to know more practical insights into it. Thank you for sharing and the opportunity to learn.

  4. Dear Antonio,
    Thank you for sharing this interesting topic. This topic can be elaborated more and developed in a practical model for police mediation.

    In a recent research, I have a questions that how can Police mediator can initiate the mediation when confronting the groups of protestors with different political and social positions with different social platforms, especially the group leaders are difficult to identify.

    Police need to enforce their duty and power against the mass protests. How can police initiate and mediate the different political parties and protestors? This may be a new challenge to the police mediator.

    I am pleased to have a chance to learn and share from this valuable and creative WMO platform

    Best regards,
    Fred

  5. This is a very interesting topics that can be elaborated more in a practical model for police mediation.
    I observed the recent research that how can Police mediator can initiate the mediation when confronting the groups of protestors with different political and social positions, especially the group leaders are difficult to identify.
    Police need to enforce their duty and power against the mass protests. How can police initiate and mediate the different political parties and protestors? This may be a new challenge to the police mediator.

    Thanks a lot for sharing and learning from this valuable WMO platform.

    Best regards,
    Freddii

  6. Dear Antonio,

    thank you for the article. Indeed, what a huge step forward from the concept of monopoly on violence to the mediation of conflicts by police officers. There are so many questions on the way how this approach is being implemented. Is there a certain predefined number of trained police officers who are called for in case the conflict can potentially be mediated? Or rather all the department staff are being trained in order to acquire yet another tool to deal with their daily duties? Does the process remain voluntary for the conflicting parties? Don’t you see any risks in preventing the parties in filing complaints or referring to courts after the agreement is approved by the police?
    The success rate is impressive. What would you see as the key success factor and the main challenges at this stage?
    Looking forward to meeting you online soon.

    Best regards,
    Marina Khamitsevich

  7. Dear Antonio,
    Thank you very much for the interesting dimension of mediation. In my view, the following aspects need further elaboration:
    1. How effective is police mediation in situations where there is limited institutional autonomy and no separation of powers?
    2. Can these neuroscience models be replicated in different geographical localities?
    3. Under volatile social, political, and economic environments, what can be done for police mediation to be effective?
    4. In the context of growing technological disruptions and asymmetric threats, what is the best way for this to be effective?

    Thank you again for the great contemporary insights.

    Respectfully,

    Washaya

  8. I think we should applaud the Valencia Local police Department for the implementation of Police Mediation. It is certainly not a common practice that I am aware of in North America. The Police departments here tend to use an external third party to mediate the issues. I guess it depends on what are the issues at hand, if the police officers themselves are not a party to the conflict, I can certainly see it being very effective. Otherwise, I believe there will neutrality issues. I am certainly curious to find what types of conflicts will involve police mediators and what criteria will trigger the involvement of the police mediator. I likened it to an acquaintance I knew back in Canada who was a trained hostage negotiator when he was in the army, where he was very effective because of his role as a peacekeeper in a war-torn country.
    In this case, for the police officers to go through specialized mediation training, develop policing strategies and working with youth, the efforts will certainly help to strengthen the relationship with the community. I still will be curious to know how the police officers participate in the police-led mediation program when dealing with conflicts that they are party to the conflicts, would they then seek external mediation support?

  9. The thoughts, questions, and ideas as comments to the article I have are:

    1. Need to deal with many different problems and strict law enforcement or administrative regulations do not solve them in many cases.
    Please describe some examples of this?
    2. The police mediation can manage different conflicts within the citizenship and in civil, commercial, criminal and school contexts, among others.
    Please give illustrations of this.
    3. Police Force working with citizens in conflict solving, through providing Police Mediation and with young people also peer mediation in schools and advice. This is very commendable. Some illustrations of crimes and how mediation can be adopted for remedy and/or sanctions.
    I am assuming that relevant terms of concluded agreements are then able to be transformed into Orders of Court.
    4. Please provide a breakdown of types of issues/matters the subject of these results.
    Ultimately the factual matrix will be of interest.
    I am eager to see the responses to the questions of my colleagues. They are certainly insightful.
    May I suggest that, while I may appreciate why email addresses are not published, the country, and perhaps city, of each be disclosed? I believe that may help in appreciating what are the practices there and perhaps influencing the remarks of my colleagues.

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