We are good at the Scanning and Analysis bits but not so good at the Response bit’. Using nudge psychology to encourage and develop crime reduction responses

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


The title is a direct quote from a conversation (about problem solving) that I had last year with a very good police officer. In this presentation I hope to do three things to explain why I think that the Response bit of SARA could do with a bit of a make-over. First, to introduce my take on using the ‘nudge’ approach to problem solving and reducing crime. Second, to suggest that a common, albeit unfortunate, outcome of the Evidence-Based Policing (EBP) approach is seen when the results of a study do not produce a statistically significant result then the common default conclusion is that the idea itself is erroneous. It ‘failed’, so leaving it likely to be resigned to the ‘what doesn’t work’ pile as a consequence. Third, I will question what the idea or ‘project failure’ is commonly taken to constitute and the likely negative knock-on effect that this can have on the future implementation of crime reduction and policing ideas. Several ‘nudge projects’ are presented including; messages on police cell walls, reducing thefts from insecure cars, and reducing burglary victimisation, to illustrate how setting the ‘success bar’ too high often sees promising crime reduction and policing ideas and projects prematurely abandoned. Or ‘premature evacuation’ as my friend Ken Pease calls it.

Jason Roach is Professor of Psychology and Policing and Director of the Applied Criminology and Policing Centre, at the University of Huddersfield. He is also Editor-in-Chief for the Police Journal. Jason has co-written three books with Professor Ken Pease, the last being ‘Self-Selection Policing’ in 2016 and has written over forty book chapters and research papers on a range of crime and policing topics including; child homicide, criminal investigation, the nudge approach to reducing crime, police and criminal decision making and cold case investigation.
Period10 Mar 2020
Event titleNational Problem Solving Conference 2020
Event typeConference
LocationBurton Upon Trent, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational