Archief Kennisparels

[305] 7 december 2021: Problem-oriented policing in England and Wales: Barriers and facilitators

Inleiding en context

Ik wens jullie allemaal een fijne dinsdag 7 december 2021 toe. En om in de stemming te komen een ´golden oldie´: Beter worden ze niet meer gemaakt. Maar nu van de muziek naar de praktisch toegepaste wetenschap. Dit keer een ´kennisparel´ over de implementatie en het in de praktijk brengen van de politiestrategie van ´probleem georiënteerd politieoptreden / problem oriented policing´ (POP). Inmiddels is op basis van vele studies duidelijk dat dit een bovengemiddelde effectieve politiestrategie is. Het betreft een concept waarin de verschillende stappen worden beschreven, die gevolgd moeten worden bij een probleemgerichte werkwijze.

Dit model wordt ook wel SARA genoemd, een acroniem voor Scanning Analysis Response Assessment. De eerste stap, Scanning, staat voor het ontdekken van de belangrijkste chronische veiligheidsproblemen. De volgende stap, Analysis, staat voor een verdiepende analyse van achtergronden en oorzaken van het specifieke probleem. De derde stap, Response, geeft de uitvoering van een afgestemde combinatie van preventieve, strafrechtelijke en bestuurlijke maatregelen door samenwerkende partners weer. De laatste stap, Assessment, houdt een effectmeting in, waarbij wordt nagegaan of de uitgevoerde maatregelen effect hebben gehad. Indien dit niet het geval blijkt, dan is het de bedoeling dat de hele cyclus opnieuw wordt doorlopen net zolang totdat het veiligheidsprobleem is opgelost.

In Nederland wordt POP probleemgerichte politiezorg genoemd. Omdat probleemgerichte politiezorg een methode betreft voor het analyseren en oplossen van criminaliteitsproblemen, kan deze in principe goed worden toegepast in combinatie met andere overkoepelende politiestrategieën zoals de gebied gebonden politiezorg. In bijgesloten ´kennisparel´ worden suggesties gedaan om de probleemgerichte politiezorg op een effectieve manier te implementeren en in de politiepraktijk van alle dag blijvend en langdurig uit te voeren. En dat blijkt nogal eens problematisch te zijn in die grillige politiepraktijk.


Bullock, Karen, Aiden Sidebottom, Rachel Armitage, Matthew P.J. Ashby, Caitlin Clemmow , Stuart Kirby, Gloria Laycock & Nick Tilley (December 2021). Problem-oriented policing in England and Wales: Barriers and facilitators. Policing and Society, An International Journal of Research and Policy, 1 December, pp. 1-17.


Evidence shows that the application of problem-oriented policing can be effective in reducing a wide range of crime and public safety issues, but that the approach is challenging to implement and sustain. This article examines police perceptions and experiences regarding organisational barriers to and facilitators of the implementation and delivery of problem-oriented policing. Drawing on surveys of (n = 4141) and interviews with (n = 86) police personnel from 19 police forces in England and Wales, we identify five key barriers and facilitators to problem-oriented policing: leadership and governance, capacity, organisational structures and infrastructure, partnership working and organisational culture. These factors provide important indicators for what police organisations need to do, or need to avoid, if they are to successfully embed and deliver problem-oriented policing. The article generates critical information about the processes that drive change in police organisations and offers recommendations for police managers who may wish to implement or develop problem-oriented policing. The paper also proposes a research agenda aimed at addressing evidence gaps in our understanding of the implementation and sustenance of problem-oriented policing.

Table 1. Barriers and facilitators of problem-solving.
Senior leaders articulate the agreed-upon vision for problem-solving and invite challenge.Senior police leaders and partners are unaware of, unclear about, and/or fail to buy into the problem-solving strategy.
Senior leaders understand problem-solving and act as mentors to those doing problem-solving, including front line staff, openly enquiring about and congratulating staff on specific problem-solving initiatives.Senior leaders do not understand problem-solving. New policing fashions and innovations are allowed to displace problem-solving.
Senior leaders fully engage with the public and partner agencies in the interests of resolving identified problems, applying leverage to encourage partner involvement where necessary.Leaders show no interest in engaging with or challenging the public or partners. Partner relations exist but only at a superficial level.
Staff are supported when problem-solving, even when sound projects do not produce the sought-after outcomes. Creativity is fostered.Staff are not empowered and need constantly to refer interventions to supervisors for approval. Staff fears about not being supported should the intervention fail, deter them from adopting more creative solutions.
Corporate literature, such as organisational strategies, plans, and policies explain problem-solving in simple terms and highlight its importance to day-to-day business.There is no mention of problem-solving in corporate strategies or plans.
Baselines are established of the extent and quality of problem-solving in practice. Good problem-solving is celebrated. Standard ways of working being passed off as problem-solving are called out and challenged.There are no checks on whether planned and promised activities match what happens in an operational situation. Much is done in the name of problem-solving that bears little resemblance to problem-solving as originally conceived.
Developing staff to understand problem-oriented policing
Good quality and engaging training is provided for all police staff (and relevant partners). Generic training is buttressed by bespoke training for specialist areas of police business. Refreshers and masterclasses are delivered by senior leaders and outside experts.Training on problem-solving is limited, disconnected from the force vision, and makes no reference to wider skills and career development. Training focusses only on the delivery of knowledge and there is no acknowledgment of the skills/ challenges associated with implementing problem-solving. Those who deliver training are inexperienced, uninspiring and uncommitted.
Staff receive training in problem-solving and provisions are put in place for them to apply what they have learnt in their daily activities.Staff receive training but then are returned to roles where there is no scope for or expectation of doing problem-solving.
A network of problem-solving champions is created. These champions are tasked with and expected to promote problem-solving and coach those doing it, engaging with their counterparts in other forces and attending problem-solving related events.There are no problem-solving champions. Those experimenting with the approach are unsure who to turn to for support and guidance.
External researchers and practitioners regularly visit to report on problem-solving relevant developments and experiences. Critical comments are welcomed. Strategic relationships with universities are established. Processes and protocols are in place both to discuss promising avenues for research but also to share data.Engagement with external researchers and practitioners in the interests of improving problem-solving is minimal and actively discouraged. Critique is automatically challenged. Defensiveness prevails. Academics are viewed with scepticism and deemed to be of little value to police improvement.
Regular award ceremonies are held to invite staff to present and listen to other problem-solving practitioners. Problem-solving successes are recognised and celebrated.There are no formal mechanisms to recognise and reward good problem-solving. Problem-solving that is happening is largely hidden from view.
In promotion interviews applicants are asked for evidence of their involvement in problem-solving initiatives to show their understanding of and commitment to the approach.Whilst problem-solving may be mentioned, an audit of awards and promotions shows no change in practice in relation to rewarding problem-solving initiatives. It is not mentioned in any promotion processes
Infrastructure for problem-oriented policing
Demand for policing services are understood. Existing data infrastructure is assessed in terms of its contribution, realised or potential, to problem-solving.Little is done to determine if current data infrastructure can and does play in role in advancing problem-solving.
Senior officers conduct regular performance reviews which are underpinned by in-depth analysis and challenge using the SARA process on a regular basis. Action plans are revisited at the following performance review to establish if the approach was implemented and whether it had the desired impact.No systematic process for performance review is followed, and a poor level of information is available. Performance reviews focus on short-term problems and generate short-term activity (e.g. high visibility patrols).
Systems are in place to store, track and make accessible problem-solving initiatives. Systems also provide information around repeat victims, offenders and locations. These are routinely passed to staff members who have responsibility for the location or theme and managers prioritise those which require action.Limited and inadequate resources are in place to support problem-solving. Problems are identified subjectively by staff and more challenging problems are ignored. Systems designed to facilitate problem-solving are difficult to engage with. Problem solvers are provided little guidance on where relevant information can be located. Analysis and assessment are left to frontline officers to do in


Naar mijn mening niet alleen ´food for thought´ voor de politie, maar ook voor beleidsmakers en andere veiligheidspartners in Nederland. Juist met het oog op de voorgestane nieuwe revival van de wijkaanpak in Nederland om criminaliteit en ondermijning verder terug te dringen. Voor beleid, praktijk en wetenschap: lessen uit de toegepaste (politie)wetenschap om kennis van te nemen. Bovenstaande tabel biedt naar mijn mening een prima systematisch overzicht wat er allemaal bij komt kijken om deze politiestrategie duurzaam in de praktijk uit te voeren. Concluderend, het scheppen van de voorwaarden die het leveren van probleemgericht politiewerk – en gerelateerde hervormingsbewegingen – ondersteunen samen met het aanpakken van dergelijke kennislacunes in de onderzoeksliteratuur zal tijd en aanhoudende inspanning vergen. Maar het is gezien de effectiviteit van de probleemgerichte politiezorg zeker de moeite waard hier in te investeren. Op deze manier zal het mogelijk blijken om Nederland (nog) veiliger te maken.

Tot zover maar weer, blijf gezond, optimistisch en wees vooral aardig voor elkaar. Alleen zo gaan we echt solidair met elkaar om. Tot de volgende ´kennisparel´ die over een paar dagen in jullie mailbox valt.