Problem-Oriented Policing in England and Wales 2019

Aiden Sidebottom, Karen Bullock, Rachel Armitage, Matt Ashby, Caitlin Clemmow , Stuart Kirby, Gloria Laycock , Nick Tilley

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


‘Problem-oriented policing’ (POP) is an approach for improving police effectiveness. In the United Kingdom (UK), it is also referred to as ‘problem-oriented partnerships’ or ‘problem solving policing’. Problem-solving policing calls for the police to focus not on individual incidents but on problems - defined as recurrent clusters of related incidents that affect the community. It advocates a structured process whereby the police (1) systematically identify persistent problems, (2) undertake in-depth analysis to determine the conditions giving rise to these problems, (3) devise and implement tailored responses and (4) work out if the chosen responses were effective. At its simplest, POP outlines a method for dealing with localised problems. In its most general sense, it outlines an approach for how the police operate.

Problem-solving has been widely adopted by police forces in the UK and internationally.Successive reviews, case studies and experiments have shown POP to be an effective way of reducing crime and disorder. Yet despite extensive evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of problem-solving, research also identifies recurrent challenges both in the implementation and practice of a problem-oriented approach. Consequently, POP has not become a persistent feature of policing in the UK.

In 2017, South Yorkshire Police received a £6.35 million grant from the Home Office Police Transformation Fund (PTF). The grant was to support the delivery of a three-year national project (2018-2020) intended to reduce demand on the police service by promoting,facilitating and advancing problem-solving among police and partner agencies in England and Wales. The project was named the Problem Solving and Demand Reduction Programme(hereafter referred to as the PSDRP). This report presents the findings of a mixed methods study undertaken in support of the PSDRP.

The purpose of the study was threefold:

To determine the extent, nature, patterns and quality of police problem-solving in Englandand Wales
To identify obstacles and enablers to the implementation, spread and practice ofproblem-solving
To elucidate the experiences and perspectives of those doing problem-solving.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherProblem Solving and Demand Reduction Programme
Commissioning bodyHome Office
Number of pages81
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


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