A force for good

Local public services are increasingly being called upon to reinvigorate their relationships with service users. In response to this growing demand, the RSA has been working with the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) in Peterborough to develop a new framework for the improvement of the UK’s police force.

The 10-week project involved consultants from a range of disciplines – service design, persuasive technology and organisational psychology – who carried out field-based research in three areas: qualitative productivity, public confidence and problem solving.

“The police service has already made great progress in strengthening neighbourhood policing,” said Jeremy Crump, director of strategy at the NPIA. “What we wanted to do with the RSA was to ask more searching questions about how neighbourhood teams can improve the service through changes in their interactions with the public.”

Although the project did not aim to yield finished solutions to complex issues, it did give rise to some innovative ideas, such as web-based feedback mechanisms to improve public engagement with the police force.

RSA design director Emily Campbell said: “The project showed that the police need to work harder at collaborating with other public service agencies, as well as with the local community. Citizens may be in the best position to support the police by providing intelligence, surveillance and social pressure for the prevention of crime in their area.”

The RSA/NPIA project culminated in a symposium held at the RSA on 14 December 2009. Download the symposium presentations.