What works in policing to reduce crime

This section of the website provides a brief overview for PCCs of the most effective ways the police can fight crime, based on the best research evidence to date. The evidence was gathered together and quality assured by leading international experts in the field of criminology. It represents an independent summary of ‘what works’ in policing, which is not dictated by HMIC, government or the police.

These pages were developed with the assistance of an academic advisory group chaired by Emeritus Professor Sir Anthony Bottoms, and by initial scoping submissions provided by an external academic reference panel. The content was authored and edited by Paul Quinton and Rachel Tuffin from the National Policing Improvement Agency’s Research, Analysis and Information Unit.

The information is presented in a few succinct lines, but based on robust research, which you can explore using the find out more section below. The specific focus here is on the police contribution to crime reduction, rather than on what might cause crime to rise or fall more generally, or broader long-term approaches such as cross-agency intervention with families at risk, or on the wider criminal justice system.

It is important to emphasise how this material should be used. As will be seen, there is reasonably strong evidence on which general policing strategies are likely to be effective (and these can be used right now). However, in the present state of research, there is more limited evidence on which specific tactics are likely to be successful in dealing with a particular problem in a particular situation.

Find out more:

Explore the evidence

Read the evidence. This section includes a short summary of the evidence, with links to more detailed briefings which you can download.

Online resources

This page provides comprehensive links to online resources and supporting video.

Academic advisory group and reference panel

See the full membership of the advisory group and reference panel.

Keep up to date

These pages will be updated regularly, and new evidence added. Sign up to receive an email alert when updates are available, or .

If you have a suggestion for a question that should be included in this section, please email us.