The Home Office evaluation of the impact of piloting and early national implementation of Neighbourhood policing shows results broadly consistent with the international evidence. Adoption overseas has generally resulted in reducing crime and improving public perceptions.
The pilot neighbourhood policing projects have had a significant positive impact on a wide range of outcome measures, including criminal victimisation, perceptions of anti-social behaviour, and public confidence in the police. Follow-up research found that the vast majority of these improvements were sustained in the longer-term. Importantly, three delivery mechanisms: foot patrol, community engagement, and problem-solving, were all found to be critical in improving the public’s confidence in the police.
When the pilots were scaled up to basic command unit level, the findings of the research were much less clear cut. A survey of residents showed no consistent pattern of change in their perceptions and experiences across the sites during the first 12 months of implementation. It is not possible, however, to reach the conclusion from this study that neighbourhood policing does not ‘work’. There was good evidence at the ward level that neighbourhood policing can deliver positive change. There was also evidence to suggest implementation in the basic command units was at an early stage and that it was probably too soon for neighbourhood policing to affect a change in outcomes.
Since the report was published, plans have been announced to give people a greater say and influence over how their streets are policed. By April 2008, every community in England and Wales will have a neighbourhood policing team of police officers and Police Community Support Officers in place. The teams are dedicated to working with their local communities, agreeing priorities for action and informing the public of their progress.
The report is availablefrom the Home Office. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/rdsolr0108.pdf