We don’t buy crime: Developing and evaluating the impact of Smartwater technology and other interventions on public confidence in and satisfaction with British police forces

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Warwick

In Collaboration With

Centre for Operational Police Research; West Mercia Police; Warwickshire Police

Level of Research

Professional / Work-based

Project Start Date

September 2015

Research Context

​West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police have engaged the Centre for Operational Police Research (COPR) to undertake a large-scale collaborative research project that will

  1. help to develop novel interventions that use Smartwater technology, and
  2. measure the impact of those interventions on crime rates, and public confidence in and victim satisfaction with the force.

The study will evaluate if and how Smartwater interventions that includes the distribution of UV marking kits, the erection of warning signs and the display of warning stickers on properties leads to long-term changes that reduce crime and enhance public confidence in and victim satisfaction with the force.

Research Methodology

​For this study COPR have developed a number of questionnaire measures and will survey a large, representative sample from within the sites where Smartwater interventions are ongoing and a control site where there has been no intervention. Surveys will be available for completion on line and will also be circulated for return by free post.

To evaluate the immediate, medium and long term impact of the pilot interventions, samples will be surveyed at multiple intervals, namely, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months after the crucial interventions. COPR researchers will also conduct follow up qualitative interviews with focus groups consisting of members of the sample who agree to participate. To this end, we will be able to measure the impact of the interventions on public confidence and victim satisfaction by drawing on our own data as well as a large set of pre-pilot data that West Mercia and Warwickshire police already hold (including a previous victim satisfaction survey of 420 victims - representing 15% of victims). We will also have access to data on pre-pilot crime figures which will help us to establish how and if the interventions contribute to crime displacement rather than overall reduction within the wider policing district.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

September 2017
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