An examination of the impact of the influential agency and structure issues within the Police Service on the use of powers and resources by community problem solving policing practitioners

Research Institution / Organisation

De Montfort University

In Collaboration With

Leicestershire Constabulary

Principal Researcher

Christopher Alcott

Level of Research


Project Start Date

January 2014

Research Context

​This research project attempts to examine what influences the relationship between policy and practice within the police service and how exactly policy is interpreted, adapted and operationalised by practitioners when delivering service. Specific interest will be paid to exploring the issues which affect the application of policy, procedure and practice set by the police organisation`s executive when used by policing practitioners in the delivery of community engagement and problem solving.
The researcher intends to explore the motivations, constructions and experiences of policing practitioners at the service delivery end of the police organisation.  This specifically links to the application by practitioners of problem-orientated policing and the effective use of evidence-based policing in dealing with identified community issues. Specifically of interest is an understanding of the agency and structure dynamic at work on practitioners, along with an understanding of the influences affecting the translation and operationalisation of policy and process into the service delivered to the community.   
The Police Service is currently charged with looking to reduce resources across the service, including, and possibly especially those resources involved in delivering service to the community.   This understanding may provide the opportunity to provide a better service to the community.

Research Methodology

​This project will be approached from a critical realist perspective in an effort to identify the generative mechanisms which may dictate and influence the way police staff behave within the context of community problem solving in the way that they do.   The researcher will be specifically seeking the verbal accounts of individual policing practitioners and small teams of practitioners (through semi-structured interviews and focus groups respectively) working in this field in order to access their constructions, views and experiences of what is actually taking place in reality.  Permission has been obtained from Leicestershire Police to conduct semi-structured interviews and focus groups with their staff.  It is not envisaged that there will be any requirement for any specialised facilities inside or outside the University. This project has obtained full ethical approval from De Montfort University and arrangements are in hand to approach participants to take the project in to the next phase.

Interim reports and publications

​A progress report will be compiled once an initial number of participant interviews has been completed.  This will be provided to the Leicestershire Police as an early indicator of the findings.

Date due for completion

August 2020
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