An evidence-based Tool to ensure continuity of Community Policing in Greater Manchester
Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and Neighbourhood Beat Officers (NBOs) often work within the same beat for several years.
During this time, they establish key connections with people and partner organisations within the neighbourhood and acquire unique knowledge of their beat area. They know the neighbourhood's people; its problems; its resources; and its dynamics — valuable information that cannot be found in official documents or databases.
The problem is, when a PCSO or NBO retires, is redeployed to another area or moves to another police role, this unique resource of local knowledge and relationships leaves with them. Research by GMP revealed that the movement of PCSOs and NBOs out of their beat area can be a source of frustration for local communities and GMP partner organisations alike. Furthermore, it can negatively impact citizens’ trust and perception of GMP. As a result, citizens feel let down, partners feel frustrated — and ultimately, the valuable work that PCSOs and NBOs do in their communities is jeopardised.
GMP has developed the Community Connect Tool — a new
handover protocol for use by its main neighbourhood policing
roles — PCSOs and NBOs.
GMP Community Connect facilitates
improved and more effective handover between officers by enabling the communication of key contacts, intelligence and strategic insights about a neighbourhood.
This may include
key relationships with community representatives and citizens, details of key community contacts and partner organisations, important community facilities and places, and details of local policing priorities.
Social Media Handover Notification
GMP Community Connect has been designed as a handover protocol for neighbourhood policing roles (PCSOs and NBOs).
PCSOs and NBOs were closely involved in prototype testing.
The Tool was also presented during meetings of the local policing branch at GMP and feedback gathered from senior officers and GMP staff.
Tool directions identified
Tool development & prototyping
Local implementation workshop
Using the research methods and tools developed by the CCI project, GMP undertook a structured process of requirements capture research involving:
Observational research: PCSO and NBO shifts; NBO and PCSO collaborative working; Superintendent; Police operations; Strategic initiatives against street begging; Community Hubs; Multi-agency meetings
Stakeholder mapping through meetings and visits to police and non-police stakeholders: meetings with GMP staff and senior officers; visits to non-police stakeholders in the communities while shadowing PCSOs and NBOs
Research interviews: Four interviews with Local Authority staff; focus group with members of ethnic minority community; interview with community religious leader; interview with community leader; interview with Chair of Independent Advisory Board
Requirements capture research was undertaken in three GMP policing districts. From the research findings, a number of key themes emerged. These formed the basis of a DesignLab, from which a concept direction was selected — supporting Neighbourhood Policing handover.
All Neighbourhood Policing Teams in GMP were contacted and the Tool components and explanation video disseminated via the homepage of the GMP intranet.
Tool demonstration was undertaken by three Community Policing officers that were leaving their neighbourhood beats. Contact was made with leaving officers, and follow-up interviews arranged after their use of the Tool. Three ‘leaving’ officers and one ‘newly appointed’ officer provided feedback on their use of the Community Connect Tool.
Tool implementation activities during the CCI project
Tool implementation activities planned for the future
Higgins, A. (2018). The future of neighbourhood policing. London, UK: The Police Foundation.
Longstaff, A., Willer, J., Chapman, J., Czarnomski, S., & Graham, J. (2015). Neighbourhood policing: Past, present and future. The Police Foundation, 25-31.
Myhill, A. (2006). Community engagement in policing: Lessons from literature. London, UK: Home Office.
Policymakers should recognise the importance of sustained collaborative working. Community relationships are a strategic asset to security.
Methods for mapping stakeholders, supporting collaborative problem-solving, and maintaining effective partnerships longer term should be adopted.
To reduce the negative impact of police officer and staff turnover, and support relationship continuity in Community Policing, police forces should:
- (i) have in place formal handover protocols for frontline Community Policing officers and senior managers;
- (ii) formally allocate time for carrying out staff handover;
- and (iii) work towards raising the status of Community Policing roles.
Dr Roberta Signori
Chief Superintendent Paul Savill
Chief Superintendent Umer Khan