What works in policing to reduce crime

A brief overview of the most effective ways the police can fight crime, based on the best research evidence at the time of publishing (October 2012).

​​The evidence in th​​is overview was gathered and quality-assured by leading international experts in the field of criminology, and addresses the following questions:

The key information on each page is presented in a few succinct lines, based on robust research which you can explore by downloadi​ng supplementary documents.

The specific focus is on the police contribution to crime reduction - not on what might cause crime to rise or fall more generally, or broader long-term approaches such as cross-agency intervention with families at risk, or the wider criminal justice system.

It is important to emphasise how this material should be used. There is reasonably strong evidence identifying which general policing strategies are likely to be effective. However, there is currently more limited evidence on which specific tactics are likely to be successful in dealing with a particular problem in a particular situation.

The Online resources page contains links to a range of relevant tools, databases and presentations.

This section was developed with the assistance of an academic advisory group chaired by Emeritus Professor Sir Anthony Bottoms, and by initial scoping submissions provided by an external academic reference panel. Information about these is set out on the Advisory group and reference panel page.

This overview was previously published on the website of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.


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