The Crime Prevention Website

I had a really enjoyable day yesterday attending and speaking at a Met Police crime prevention conference held at the Met’s training facilities at Peel Centre (Hendon). (Hence no news items posted yesterday!)

The conference was attended by the senior police management teams of half of London’s Boroughs and a second conference for the rest will be held later in the year.  The audience was welcomed by Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne who spoke with great enthusiasm about the importance of making crime prevention a main objective of the police.

This was followed up by a well received talk from Sylvia Chenery about the principles of problem solving, which is a way to think logically and rationally about a problem before we decide upon a solution, rather than piling in head first without thinking and getting it wrong.

After coffee we had an interesting talk from Simon Ruda from the Cabinet Office about something called ‘nudging’ and low cost crime reduction. Nudging draws on research in psychology and behavioural science and is used by our government to improve the public’s responses to all manner of things, such as paying ones taxes on time, using less electricity and so on.  In a way it’s about how we make rational judgements about things and recognising that a little nudge in the right direction can affect our decision making.  Simon argued that these techniques can be used to reduce low level crime.  Watch this space.

Professor Ken Pease (a friend of this website) who was the lead academic for the day and Doctor Stuart Kirby then took the stage and talked about preventing acquisitive crime, setting the attendees a practical exercise to deal with a domestic burglary scenario.  Everyone got their teeth into the problem and pleasingly came up with just about all the right answers and some!

After lunch came my turn to talk to the audience about the practical application of various crime prevention theories and judging by the number of people who came up to me during coffee I think I hit the spot.  Needless to say I talked about my website and how it can help the Met with their drive to prevent crime - for free - which they liked very much and consequently I was approached by some senior people about some joint working in the future.  This was followed by another practical exercise by Ken and Stuart; this time about anti-social behaviour and once again the response was first class.

The long day finished with a short panel session where we speakers all sat up the front to take questions and this was followed by a closing talk by Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Letchford who is heading up this renewed approach to crime prevention.

Of course, the background to this conference is the fact that the Met’s budget, like all the police services, has been severely cut back leading to the loss of many of their crime prevention specialists.  The message for the day then was that crime prevention is the responsibility of all police officers, and police staff of whatever rank and there is an expectation that crime prevention will be an intrinsic part of all police action.

I came away feeling very positive about the day and it was particularly pleasing to have reconnected with my former employers.  The Met’s got a lot of hard work ahead of it to achieve their crime prevention aims, but I’m confident they’ll make good progress.

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