How should the police get a grip on performance?

A summary of the existing research evidence, with links to more detailed information - part of our overview of "What works in policing to reduce crime".

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In order to get to grips with longer-term problems and deliver sustained crime reduction, the performance focus should be on trends over time, repeat patterns, and how an area is doing compared to other similar areas. When there are short-term spikes in the crime figures, the police will need to analyse further to find out whether they face a new emerging trend which needs targeting or whether the change was temporary (for example, linked to unexpected hot weather) and therefore can no longer be affected by police action.

The analysis of crime hotspots or prolific offenders - to understand what's causing the problem and inform a concrete plan to tackle it - needs to be part of the performance management approach.

Read more in the "Measuring Performance" section of the National Policing Improvement Agency's 2010 guide Local policing and confidence.