Research on Volunteer Policing Spans the Globe

Research on Volunteer Policing Spans the Globe

Wolf (third from right) in Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong district (Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force)

UCF criminal justice researcher Ross Wolf’s interest in volunteer and tourism-oriented policing recently took him half way around the world.

Earlier this month, Wolf traveled to Hong Kong and Singapore to conduct research on volunteer policing and share his knowledge of volunteer law enforcement in the United States.

In Hong Kong, he met with members of the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force — a part-time force that supplements the uniformed foot patrol of the Hong Kong Police. He also toured areas they patrol, such as the Lan Kwai Fong district. “The district is a tourist and nightlife area,” Wolf noted. “I learned how the two policing groups work together to handle large crowds.”

In Singapore, Wolf learned that every male at age 18 must serve two years in the military, police or “civil defence” (fire department) as part of “National Service,” and that the city-state has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

He worked with members of the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Volunteer Special Constabulary. “The latter supplements all aspects of Singapore policing, including criminal investigations, traffic policing, road patrol and neighborhood policing,” Wolf said. “They also serve in the Singapore Police Coast Guard, which is one of the largest branches of the Singapore Police Force.”

Wolf also met with private security leaders from Resort World, an entertainment area that is home to Universal Studios Singapore. He learned about the leaders’ relationship with local police and police volunteers and about tourism-oriented policing.

Most Americans are familiar with volunteer firefighters, but few know about volunteer police officers, said Wolf, an associate professor of criminal justice and associate dean for academic affairs and technology for the College of Health and Public Affairs.

Many American jurisdictions use reserve and auxiliary police to perform police duties, most often as volunteers, he explained. 

UCF students have been a beneficiary of Wolf’s partnerships with international volunteer policing programs. In 2011, members of the Singapore Volunteer Special Constabulary visited Orlando and UCF to learn about U.S. volunteer policing and speak with criminal justice students about their own activities. And UCF students have studied volunteer policing in England during two study abroad programs sponsored by Wolf.