Researching the Future: Policing Vision 2025

The Policing Vision 2025, developed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and National Crime Agency, sets out the future for policing over the next ten years.

But what are the research challenges and opportunities to help deliver this?

For a start, what does the vision say?

There are five priorities:

• Local policing

• Specialist capabilities

• Digital Policing

• Modern workforce

• Support function efficiency

In more detail

So, neighbourhood policing will continue but more opportunities will be sought to work with others at the local level. This could mean, for example, more joint working with social care and education workers in prevention in a joined-up way. The thinking is about prevention in an holistic way rather than silos – which can be both more effective and cost effective, by reducing further demand.

Specialist capability means things like major investigations and firearms. The intention here is to pool and share resource more to get more efficient.

An emphasis on digital policing will mean staff will get more training and equipment to work with digital crime, and the criminal justice processes will get more and more digital itself to speed communication up.

A modern workforce means that the staff profile will be reviewed to ensure the police are representative of their communities, and interestingly another priority is in making staff feel more empowered at work to do the right thing with less of a managerial blame culture.

Getting more efficient support functions follows the theme of the other areas, by looking to pool resource to improve efficiency and reduce costs. This may mean things like human resources and IT could be shared across forces or with other authorities, like the Fire and Rescue Service.

The Vision’s collective changes will help improve policing in a cost-effective way, ensuring professional policing through better use of technology and working with other agencies. All that change will be overseen by PCCs to ensure accountability to the public.

How can research help deliver the Vision?

Dr James Tangen, of De Montfort University, said “Cyber crime has become one of the most prominent areas of development in policing in the last twenty years. The work of the National Crime Agency, including specialist units such the CEOP Command and the National Cyber Crime Unit, speaks to the importance placed on this aspect of modern policing. New technologies can enable both new ways of committing old offences, such as skimming and phishing scams, and entirely new forms of crime, such as cyber terrorism. This idea is starting to be embedded in the public consciousness, thanks to coverage in news and popular media.”

“In its Vision 2025 statement, the National Police Chief’s Council has begun the necessary task of identifying how a broader range of criminal justice practitioners can utilize digital technologies to facilitate new ways of delivering justice. In order to develop this vision into a world leading digital justice system, academic research will be necessary to inform emerging practices in the police, such as critical incident and crime scene management, the gathering and processing of forensic evidence and the preparation of prosecution files. The adoption of digital technology will have significant implications for criminal justice partners. In the Crown Prosecution Service, work is already underway alongside several police services to develop the next phases of digital justice. Commercial partners are exploring the opportunities and challenges of bringing prisoner communication into the twenty-first century, supported by insights from academia.”

“Further opportunities to adopt practices from other sectors, such as digital mental health, may enable probation services to deliver robust community sentences that offer greater engagement and rehabilitative opportunities for offenders engaging in the arduous process of reform. The future is bright, but we will need digital criminologists to highlight emerging benefits and challenges of new technologies in the criminal justice system”.

Written Evidence to a Home Affairs Select Committee by the National Police Chiefs’ Council – Policing for the Future – documents a series of key insights, drawing on the 2025 Vision. You can access the six-page report here. NPCC Submission Policing For The Future 160217

Superintendent Dave Hill, EMPAC’s Director, said “EMPAC is working on a priority based research plan to deliver research to support regional forces in their threat, risk and harm priorities. This approach of mapping and aligning threat and risk priority to research resource is about delivering increased capacity and capability for professional policing.”

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