Policing 4.0

Deciding the Future of Policing in the UK

UK policing is under the microscope. A rise in serious violence and falling detection rates in some parts of the country have brought political focus onto the resilience of a model of policing that has long been the envy of the world. Rising demand and budget restraints have forced UK Police forces to evolve but questions remain as to whether policing has yet fully adapted to address the profound and continuing shifts in patterns of crime, society, policy and technology.

Policing 4.0: Deciding the Future of Policing in the UK explores the challenges facing policing today and the powerful trends and forces that will influence crime and policing over the coming decades.

The report is informed by commentary on the policing sector, analysis of UK and international police data and interviews with chief officers from UK police forces, leaders of national policing organisations and leading academics.


Policing 4.0 finds that policing in the UK is changing. Rapid developments in technology, spending reductions and profound shifts in society and patterns of crime have contributed to changes in police structures, recruitment approaches, ways of engaging the public, investigative methods, approaches to preventing crime, supporting victims and protecting the vulnerable.

Policing leaders are working tirelessly and with skill to address problems, but are deeply concerned about policing’s capacity to harness technology effectively and police ‘readiness’ to deal with crimes enabled by technology.

Politicians and policing leaders – nationally and locally – have some big choices to make about their role, priorities, and policing philosophy. They must decide which new capabilities they will need to invest in to cope with policing’s new realities.

The report provides a new framework for thinking about key policing choices and a set of ideas and case studies of success to support decision making whilst sharing a vision for the future of policing.

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