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Preparing policing for future challenges and demands

Published 11 August 2020
Our new report provides insight into policing’s operating environment as far as 2040
2 mins read
Police officers testing kit

The world of 2040 will be very different to the world of today. Over the next 20 years, trends such as technological change, global warming and rising inequality will come together to increase the number and complexity of issues facing policing.

To meet the challenges and demands of the future, we need to prepare for them today. We’ll need to get better at anticipating emerging issues, think more innovatively about the best policies and interventions for addressing them and act quickly to maximise our chances of success.


Our Policing in England and Wales: Future Operating Environment 2040 report provides an insight into policing’s operating environment as far as 2040, exploring those aspects of the future that we should consider now to prepare the service for the challenges that lie ahead.

It includes three practical resources which forces can use to develop plans, strategies and capabilities which are based on understanding the potential challenges and opportunities for policing in the future:

  • Ten trends identified as playing an important role in driving and defining policing’s operating environment over the next 20 years
  • Four scenarios forcing us to consider how – and why – things could become better, worse or broadly stay the same. Using scenarios can increase our preparedness for the range of possibilities the future may hold
  • Five future challenges which require policing’s attention today
Futures graphic

By exploring how policing’s operating environment might change over the longer term, police leaders can identify what action should be taken now to prepare current and future officers, staff and volunteers for the challenges that lie ahead. A short user guide is available to help forces use the scenarios in their own strategic planning.

Over the next few months we will be holding a number of virtual events aimed at helping forces use these resources in their own strategic planning. If you would like to attend one of these events, get in touch at [email protected].


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