More than 20 countries participated in the project. Local community groups learned methods for data collection, analysis, and dissemination online to the public and decision makers through regional, national, and global reports. The organizations then worked to influence policy change based on their findings.

The impact of Police Station Visitors week on practice and policymaking was manifest: in countless cities around the world, the event and the preparations leading up to it were the starting point for a new or improved working relationship between civil society organizations and the police. A community organization’s leadership role in Police Station Visitors Week had the potential to raise the organization’s profile and credibility in the eyes of police commanders.

From 2009 to 2013, Vera:

  • Played the coordinating lead role among its Altus partners; 
  • Developed contracts with other Altus members and subcontractors to implement project activities on five continents including in West and East Africa, Latin America, and South Asia; 
  • Enlisted and engaged NGOs in North America and lent its support to the enlistment and engagement of NGOs in four other continents to serve as national or local producers of Police Station Visitors Week; 
  • Analyzed the data uploaded to a website by volunteers and mentors in more than 20 countries; 
  • Reported to the funder on annual progress of the project worldwide;
  • Developed a logical framework for the project, including indicators, baseline, and targets to facilitate annual review by the funder; 
  • Organized board meetings bringing together Altus member organizations serving as regional mentors; and
  • Produced an annual global report presenting the findings and implications for policy design in participating countries.
Why Is this Work Important?

In developing the assessment process and hosting a global, week-long event, Vera and its Altus partners facilitated an active role for ordinary citizens in overseeing and improving police services—an element of police oversight often promoted in theory but difficult to realize in practice. Moreover, for many of the visitors—especially those who are female, poor, or marginalized for other reasons—the experience provided their first real access to local law enforcement and a platform for expressing their views about whether the police are serving all members of the community.