Global progressive policing

Delivering Frontline Impact: Training and What works in Problem-Oriented Policing

Problem solving

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Problem solving is a systematic process for preventing persistent problems. As a concept it was Herman Goldstein who, in the late 1970s, proposed a plan for improving policing that called on the police to focus less on their response to individual incidents and more on their ability to resolve persistent problems that affect the community. Goldstein called the approach ‘problem-oriented policing’ (POP). In many areas of the world it is often referred to simply as ‘problem solving’.

Problem solving is not standard policing. Nor is it a manual for solving problems. Problem solving is a method. It involves the analysis of data to identify and understand repeat sources of demand and then to work in a people-centric way on the response and solutions. It is about working creatively and often collaboratively with others  -including partner agencies and the community – to devise tailored responses to local problems. And it carries a commitment to put prevention first, minimising the need for arrest and enforcement (though recognising these are effective and important tools when used appropriately and wisely) in favour of alternative, effective and sustainable solutions.

Problem-solving can be applied to an incredibly wide range of issues. From burglary to robbery, from homicide to anti-social behaviour, to criminal groups and gangs, and to safeguarding the vulnerable. Extensive evidence finds problem solving to be highly effective at tackling the wide range of crime and public safety issues that police and other agencies need to deal with.

In the third video, Professor Spencer Chainey from the Jill Dando Institute at University College London talks about what effective problem solving involves and his experiences from working with police and public safety agencies across the world in adopting and applying POP.

Drawing on examples of problem-solving and working with police agencies in the UK and internationally, Dr Chainey provides a range of useful information and insights into the training opportunities available – both online and in-person – to enable those with a keen interest in learning to know more about the real-world application of problem-solving.

Further information is available online:

Effective Implementation of problem-oriented policing – UK College of Policing

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