A Multilevel Simulation of Motivation and Behaviour in Police Patrol Systems

The Police Reform Act of 2002 launched an initiative in the UK to augment the various ranks of police officers with Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to provide greater police presence on the streets and relieve more highly trained police officers for other duties. One way of deploying PCSOs is for local team briefings led by a Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant before they go out on foot patrol, telling them the areas that should be visited and any particular things that should be done, e.g. revisiting victims of crime, or patrol identified areas suffering from anti-social behavior. PCSOs carry personal-issue digital radios that enable them to communicate with a central dispatch function, as well as their local supervision. In 2014 Greater Manchester Police commissioned a research team at LSE with analyzing the data collected by the geo-coded radio traffic of PCSOs. The results suggested that the PCSOs were avoiding the more difficult high crime areas they were supposed to patrol [1]. Following this observation, we began a project to try to understand how PCSOs could be better managed to achieve the policy objectives. Our project involves computer simulation of the agents involved in this policing system, including the Sergeants, PCSOs and other staff. It attempts to answer policy-relevant questions such as “do the briefing and debriefing processes affect the quality of the outcome of a PCSO patrol” and “could policies be introduced that would result in better motivated staff working together better to produce better outcomes”. To investigate this, we created a multi-level agent-based model of the individuals at the microlevel, teams at the mesolevel, the individual police station at a higher mesolevel and the Police Force at the macrolevel (clearly this can be extended to more aggregate levels up to the whole UK policing system). To model the behaviour of the agents we utilized Classic Grounded Theory [2] to conduct cognitive interviews to identify motivation concepts that could be coded in the simulation. Based on this were able to investigate the paths taken by the PCSOs (Figure 1). Our presentation will discuss individual and group motivation and behaviours, show the results of the simulations, and discuss how they can be used to plan and implement new management strategies to meet the policy objectives of the policing system.

Phil Davies and Jeff Johnson
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 11:30 to 11:45


The official Hotel of the Conference is
Makedonia Palace.

Conference Organiser: NBEvents

The official travel agency of the Conference is: Air Maritime

Photo of Thessaloniki seafront courtesy of Juli Bellou
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