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'Stop running response officers into the ground' research shows

LSE study also shows that double crewing leads to 44 per cent increase in detection rates.

'Stop running response officers into the ground' research shows

Date - 11th October 2022
By - Gary Mason
18 Comments 18 Comments}

Double crewing increases detection rates by 44 per cent, charges summonses and cautions go up by 82 per cent and serious officer injury rates almost drop to zero, research focused on West Midlands Police has shown.

“The results are quite startling,” Professor Tom Kirchmaier, Director of the Policing and Crime Research Group at the London School of Economics told tonight’s Exceptional Policing conference in London.

He said the cost benefit analysis of double crewing showed that for every £1 forces spend they get £2.75 in return.

“Having two officers in the car pays for itself,” he added. The research also showed that pairing a more junior officer with an experienced officer worked best and male/female officers were also the best combinations.

But the way response officers are used and their effectiveness was also highlighted in the research which showed that rushing from job to job was highly ineffective.

“Strop running your response officers into the ground,” said Prof Kirchmaier. “It doesn’t help the quality of the outcome. It helps nobody.”

Part of the LSE research has also focused on the impact of police response times on crime clearance rates.

That research is based on data from Greater Manchester Police from April 2008 to August 2014. It found that a 10% increase in response time leads to a 4.7% increase in the likelihood of clearing a crime. It increases the likelihood of an immediate arrest but also increases the likelihood of finding somebody who may know the suspect is and can identify them.

The study also found that having more response officers will pay for itself. “Politician keep cutting budgets,” said Prof Kirchmaier, “but it would be socially beneficial if we invest more because it will reduce future crimes significantly.”

The study also found that half of the response stations were in the wrong place sometimes for purely financial reasons. “The result is it just takes too long for officers to get from A to B,” he added.

If the response takes longer than 40 minutes officers might as well not turn up at all the research showed.

“If it takes too long to provide a response it doesn’t make sense to just run after each job,” he said. “We run our response teams into the ground and it would be more sensible if the control room operators take them away and hand over the incident to neighbourhood officers for example.

“We have to rethink how we organise response and we also have to get better at cutting our losses by saying ‘we did not make it let's hand this over to somebody else.’

The research also showed that forces need to move to a system where they were hunting “`in the right place at the right time” through dynamic tasking.

This requires ‘balanced policing’ where officers don’t end up just flooding the same areas night after night.

The GMP data showed comparing officer Airwave radio data to crime and incident data there were areas subject to significant under policing where officers spend almost no time.

“There are also areas which are substantially over-policed especially around the centre of the city,” said Prof Kirchmaier. He said that effort might be effective at surpresssing crimes in a particular area “but it comes at a cost.”

The LSE research has also looked at the effectiveness of call handlers and found that “if they get it wrong in the call centre it is almost impossible to recover later on by the response officers.”

It found there was an enormous variance in quality of call handlers and this could affect the outcome on crime clearance rates by as much as 30 per cent. 

if call handlers are able to see and  talk to each other during stressful incidents the performance can increase by as much as 15 per cent.

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Annoymous. - Tue, 18 October 2022

Lots of senior officers spend little time on response. I have witnessed them avoid postings as response Sergeants in busy nicks, why ? Because it’s one of the hardest jobs in most forces in the country.