Community with the assistance of supporting agencies that will

Community Safety Hydra assessment

 

    

    
    

 

 

Introduction

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On the 23rd of November 2017 me and my group were
tasked with undertaking the HYDRA exercise as part of our Community Safety
module. The Hydra exercise consisted of a number scenarios within a local
college that had to be dealt with by me and the members of my group, we
discussed as a group the approaches we should take based on the information
provided by the college. This report will be a follow up where I can reflect on
what worked well for me in the exercise and what I can improve on if needed and
explain how Problem Oriented Policing(POP) can be beneficial with tackling
these issues.

The problem-solving approach and SARA

During the hydra exercise we were faced with many scenarios
which required a constructive and effective problem-solving approach to develop
a strategy that will resolve the issue we were facing. Historically the police have
focused merely on the structure of the force and reactive policing, whereas it
is now transitioning into tackling the issues head on before these incidents
appear. The purpose of implementing a problem-solving approach to an issue is
so that as police officers every action that we carry out will be beneficial
towards solving the problem at hand. Problem solving policing will be carried
out with the assistance of supporting agencies that will have the role of
identifying and analyzing crime statistics and patterns which will be
subsequently assessed so that an appropriate response can be met. POP according
to the official college of policing website (2017, Online) states that “Herman
Goldstein developed POP as a critique of contemporary styles of policing.
Goldstein argued traditional policing was to focus on process rather than
outcome; that evidence showed routine patrols had little impact on crime and
disorder and failed to produce satisfaction amongst the public”. It’s because
of reactions from the public and experts like this that a new approach is now
being implemented which consists of several key elements that popcenter.org (2017,Online)
such as “The police must pro-actively try to solve problems rather than just
react to the harmful consequences of problems” Key elements of the process such
as this will be beneficial to future crime prevention techniques and an overall
decrease in crime if done correctly.

For the POP process to be carried out efficiently several
other methods have been implemented, one of these methods is the SARA model (Eck
and Spelman,1987) which was developed to break down the issues faced during the
problem-solving approach. The purpose and goal of the SARA model is briefly
described by rockridgencpc.com as being “To stimulate thinking about
creative problem-solving, not to limit you to a standardized process that is
appropriate for every problem”. SARA is broken down into four stages, Scanning,
Analysis, Response and Assessment (http://www.popcenter.org/about/?p=sara,
no date) Scanning involves the early review of patterns in recurring crimes,
certain crimes will then be prioritized such as community safety issues that
will then be selected for the next step of Analysis. Analysis involves
identifying the underlying causes behind these patterns such as the data that’s
related to the crimes. One of the methods that can be utilized is the Problem
Analysis Triangle(PAT) which is useful as it can help us identify the different
partners within a crime and then help resolve the issue through co-operation
such as identifying how offenders and their victims come together in places.
PAT must be utilized efficiently as it will help us complete significant stages
of SARA such as the scanning and analysis stage of SARA. The Response stage
within the SARA model is the most crucial as we can then address the causes of
the problem that have been mentioned within the Analysis stage, this stage may
involve creating an adequate response plan to tackle the patterns identified. This
would then be followed by the assessment that will determine whether the plan
was implemented successfully and if there are any strategies that could be
implemented thereafter to ensure POP will be carried out effectively in other
situations.

 

Demonstration of how problem solving can be used to identify, prioritize
and address community issues.

Me and 4 others took part in a task within the Hydra
simulation where we had the opportunity to apply our understanding of POP/SARA
in real life situations. We became a team of Police Community Support Officers
that were faced with several scenarios to see how we dealt with them. Before we
decided to confront the issues and rationalize decisions we implemented CHEERS,
this analysis of the issue includes whether the problem is a real issue that
needs to be tackled(http://www.popcenter.org/learning/60steps/index.cfm?stepNum=14,2018):

·        
Community-Members
of the public must experience harmful events

·        
Harmful-
Harm must be inflicted such as loss of property, injury or death

·        
Expectation-
Members of the public expect the police to address the causes

·        
Events-
Describe the event that makes up the problem

·        
Recurring-
The events must recur

·        
Similarity-
Recurring events must have something in common.

 

The first task that we encountered was the problem itself
which was missing IT equipment from the college. The first stage our
problem-solving approach utilizes the Scanning stage of SARA as we had to delve
into the details of the alleged crime and ask crucial questions that would
allow us to comprehend the issue and if any patterns can be noticed in the
college. The key questions that we put forward included whether the head of the
college recognized any of the youths that attend the college as the
perpetrators and what steps had already been taken concerning the issue. These
questions were asked to get a broad idea of what the current situation is and
to see whether the college was already using problem-solving techniques such as
PCSO’s patrolling the college during the time frame the incidents are
occurring. The scanning process was crucial within this first task because it
allowed me and my team to gather the necessary information to allow us to
understand whether the incidents are similar in nature such as the suspects,
location of incident, behavior of the suspects and the timeframe the incidents
supposedly took place. We identified that most of the IT equipment was going
missing during after college hours, mainly during the night time, we concluded
that this was probably happening as a result of staff not being present and a
lack of security within the premises. To identify the location of criminal
activity we were given CCTV footage of the alleged perpetrators committing
other criminal activities such as Criminal Damage of college property. This
footage gave us an insight into the behavior of the suspects and allowed us to
create a geographical map of where the crimes where being committed, analysis
such as this aids us as PCSO’s because we can see if there is something in
those specific areas that make it vulnerable to crime and also highlights any geographical
patters so that target hardening can occur in these locations.

Once the analysis stage has been completed and we have a
grasp on the situation it was time to move on to the prioritization of the
issues and how we had to plan on resolving them. This is where the Response
stage of the SARA model is utilized, here the objective is to either totally
eliminate the problem, substantially reduce the problem or remove the problem
from police consideration(http://www.popcenter.org/library/reading/pdfs/reflectionsfull.pdf,2017).
The first response we had was to increase the security measures within the
college by introducing new CCTV cameras in locations that the youths
congregate, this method of target hardening is known as a situational response
that will be utilized with the assistance of the Problem Analysis Triangle as
the college will be working in partnership with the Police regarding the anti-social
behavior. PAT will also be utilized when the college begins to liaise with
Secure by Design which will increase security and deter the youth from Anti-Social
Behavior through environmental design changes such as adding speedbumps on the
“skateboarding ramp”. Whilst aggressive tactics such as environmental design
and target hardening can help us tackle the issues we face it is also crucial
that we look at more cost-effective strategies such as the coordination of a
neighborhood watch with Neville Johnson in the local area to reassure the local
community, it is crucial that the public is informed about police interventions
to be pro-active when raising public awareness. One of the many aspects that
must be considered within the POP approach is using inter-agency programs/
multi-agency programs that will increase the chances of a positive result. Goldstein
(2001) states that POP should place a priority on “new responses that are preventative
in nature, that are not dependent on the use of the criminal justice system and
that engage in other public agencies”. Because of this insight by Goldstein we
placed a high priority on working with all the agencies available in the local
area such as the youth club, community safety officer, local councilors and the
Neighborhood watch. Having these organizations at our disposal will not only
take some responsibility of the police which is crucial as they are not
equipped to deal with every problem, but it also means that we can reach out to
a large amount of people regarding the issues which in the long run will
prevent further harm which is why POP is there in the first place.

The final stage of SARA was to carry out an assessment of
our responses and to see whether they were effective and if not, why. Firstly,
we suggested that we ask the public and staff what they thought of the changes
that we made and if there have been any noticeable changes. To gain access to
such information we suggested that anonymous questionnaires could be
distributed to the public to gain honest and non-biased answers. This
information will then let us know if our responses were adequate for the
problems that we faced, we will also approach all the different leaders of the
community such as Williams Smart, Julia Evans and Jill Valentine to assess
whether they have played an effective role within the process. We decided that
it would be beneficial to us if the local agencies could provide us with the
necessary data such as attendance figures within the youth clubs and if the
renewed community participation was having a positive effect on anti-social
behavior in the area. Regarding the target hardening such as extra CCTV and
environmental design changes we decided that it would be beneficial to analyze
the colleges security logs to see if there has been a decrease/increase in
reported crimes within the college. Effective analysis and intelligence
gathering after the problem solving has been implemented is necessary, the
College of Policing: When does problem solving work best? States “If you don’t
assess properly, the chances are that you will not be operating problem solving
as effectively as you should be”.

 

Looking back at the hydra exercise

Looking back on the Hydra exercise there are several steps
that could have been taken to make the process a lot smoother and effective.
One of these is the lack of consideration for budget limitations when it came
to the recommendation of an increase in CCTV cameras and “speed bumps” within
the college, these improvements compared to the community co-operation options
were necessary but next time it would be beneficial to consider what the cost
may be for the college. Another example of where improvement could be made is
during the utilization of SARA we identified other problems other than the theft
of computers that should have been prioritized more during the resolving stage,
one of these that could have been tackled was the graffiti on school property.
If this low priority issue had maybe been prioritized as high as the others we
might have had an improved outcome, tackling the smaller issues can lead to a
decrease in recurring serious incidents such as theft. I would also recommend
that next time we focused more on the analysis stage of the process as that is
in my opinion the most crucial part, without a proper and thorough analysis of
the situation then all the other stages are void. Because of this I would
recommend that we spend more time brainstorming what will be done to resolve
the situation at hand. Despite the improvements that could have been made I do
believe that we implemented the SARA model successfully and can now recognize
the role that problem oriented policing plays when tackling long term problems
within a community. One of the most successful areas of our approach in my eyes
was the aggressive target hardening against the youths causing a disturbance by
implementing more CCTV cameras and changes to the environmental design, these changes
in my opinion will result in the college having a large decrease of crime in
the college.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

·        
College of Policing (Date of publication
unknown) The effects of problem-oriented policing on crime and disorder. tp://whatworks.college.police.uk/Research/Briefings/Documents/CoP(What%20works(online_land_POPV3).pdf
Last accessed 15/01/2018

·        
Rockridge NCPC (Date of publication
unknown) Problem Solving Partnerships using the SARA model http://www.rockridgencpc.com/documents/fliers/POPandSARA.pdf
Last accessed 15/01/2018

·        
Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (Date of
publication unknown) The SARA model http://www.popcenter.org/about/?p=sara
Last Accessed 15/01/2018

·        
Center for Problem-Oriented
Policing(October,2000) Problem-Oriented Policing: Reflections on the First 20
Years http://www.popcenter.org/library/reading/pdfs/reflectionsfull.pdf
Last Accessed 15/01/2018

·        
Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (Date of
publication unknown) Use CHEERS test when defining problems http://www.popcenter.org/learning/60steps/index.cfm?stepNum=14
Last Accessed 15/01/2018

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