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Introduction to implementation of problem-oriented policing

What the guidelines do, and who they are for.

First published
Effective implementation of problem-oriented policing

What are these guidelines for?

These evidence-based guidelines support the effective implementation and embedding of sustainable problem-oriented policing and partnership problem-solving. 

Who are these guidelines for?

These guidelines are aimed at chief officers responsible for developing and implementing organisational strategy, and for facilitating and motivating specific ways of working.

They are also relevant to all officers, staff and volunteers who are involved in identifying, designing and implementing responses to crime and disorder problems, as well as other recurring issues. 

Who developed these guidelines?

These guidelines were developed collaboratively by a College of Policing development team and the College Guideline Committee, which consisted of frontline practitioners, subject matter experts and academics.

The role of the Guideline Committee was to agree and finalise the scope, to consider academic and practitioner evidence, and to draft the guidelines, taking into account the views of stakeholders.

What is the difference between problem-solving and problem-oriented policing?

For the purpose of these guidelines, problem-solving refers to the steps and processes that individuals follow in order to work through a problem and the response.

SARA is the problem-solving model most commonly used in policing. Problem-solving can be applied to any issue that has an impact on policing and/or the community.

Problem-oriented policing refers to the strategy and infrastructure that is required to enable problem-solving to flourish across the organisation.

How evidence-based are these guidelines?

The guidelines and supporting resources are informed by research evidence that was drawn from a primary research study conducted as part of the national Problem Solving and Demand Reduction Programme in 2019 (Hinkle JC and others, 2020).

Secondary data sources include a rapid evidence assessment (REA) (Colover S and Quinton P, 2018)  carried out by the College as part of the development of the neighbourhood policing guidelines, as well as the most recent systematic review and meta-analysis looking at problem-oriented policing (Sidebottom A and others, 2020).

They also reflect insights and practice examples gathered through discussions with 45 participants from 22 forces, as well as peer visits to forces. This is referred to throughout the guidelines as practitioner evidence.

Supporting resources

The guidelines include links to resources that will support chief officers and other policing leaders to implement these guidelines. The College will continue to develop these resources and to provide other forms of support.


  • Hinkle JC and others. (2020). Problem-oriented policing for reducing crime and disorder: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 16(2). 
  • Colover S and Quinton P. (2018). Neighbourhood policing: impact and implementation. Summary from a rapid evidence assessment. College of Policing.
  • Sidebottom A and others. (2020). Problem-oriented policing in England and Wales 2019. Problem Solving and Crime Reduction Programme.
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