Guideline 3: Targeting activity

Chief officers should ensure policing activities within neighbourhoods are targeted according to the needs of different communities, taking account of threat, risk, harm and vulnerability.

Essential elements include:
  • Scanning and analysis that takes account of all relevant information (including public perceptions) in order to target people and places effectively

  • Identifying what different communities need from neighbourhood policing (including reassurance and harm reduction)

  • Identifying and prioritising those people, groups and places with the greatest needs

  • Being clear about how police and partner responses are coordinated and target places, victims and offenders.

Targeting activity should:
  • provide greater focus to community engagement, problem-solving, prevention and early intervention
  • inform resource deployment decisions
  • lead to a more coordinated response with partners and reduce demand.

Advice and support: putting guidelines into practice

Depending on your role and interest, select the relevant link(s) to download advice and support for targeting activity.

Supporting material for frontline officers, staff and volunteers

Supporting materials for supervisors

Supporting materials for senior leaders


Impact evidence for targeting activity

The guideline and advice and support for targeting activity are underpinned by the following impact evidence:

  • Overall, the police targeting of crime hot spots can reduce crime in the hot spot and has tended to result in crime reduction benefits in neighbouring areas rather than crime displacement.
  • Problem solving has been shown to be more effective when focused on particular crime types rather than total crime.
  • Multi-faceted police-led programmes focused on deterring high-risk offenders by targeting enforcement, raising awareness and providing alternative pathways can be effective at reducing serious crime.
  • Neighbourhood policing may have had a large, positive impact on public trust in the police, in part, because community involvement in problem solving meant the police were able to target the problems that mattered the most to the public.
  • Targeted foot patrol is more likely than random or vehicle patrol to have a positive impact on public perception, especially when implemented alongside community engagement and problem solving.

Key: Type of evidence
​■■■Evidence from systematic reviews – exhaustive reviews of quantitative studies – selected for their relevance and methods – that make overall assessments of 'what worked' in a range of contexts.
​■■Evidence from rapid evidence assessments – time-limited reviews of studies – selected for their relevance and methods – that provide general overviews of the literature on impact and implementation issues.
​■Evidence from impact evaluations – quantitative studies that make assessments of 'what worked' in particular contexts.
​●Evidence from other research – studies that provide insights on implementation or other issues in particular contexts.


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