The predictive potential of Police Operating Models: How complex systems theory can support a data-driven simulation of police policy to improve efficiency

Research Institution / Organisation

The Open University

In Collaboration With

Greater Manchester Police

Principal Researcher

Superintendent Phil Davies

Level of Research


Project Start Date

April 2016

Research Context

​The Open University's Police Research Consortium has commissioned PhD research into understanding Greater Manchester Police's Target Operating Model (TOM) as a complex system, to allow the development of practical tools to inform future policy making. This endeavour has the sponsorship of the Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.

The initial phase of this project seeks to initiate an experiment in agent (PCSO) activity simulation to test the feasibility of an organisation-level simulator of the TOM at work.

Research Methodology

​The methodology for this research is still being developed and is actually part of the subject matter for the PhD as early indications are that it has not been undertaken before in this context. Complex Systems Theory has a number of established processes for mapping systems and their networks to allow the development of a simulated environment, utilised in disciplines such as weather prediction, crowd dynamics, and public policy. It is expected that GMP's existing operational data repository will provide a significant contribution to the simulation design.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

March 2022
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