Calls for service: understanding police demand, the role of the police, and the role of call-handlers in managing demand

Duncan, E., 2022. Calls for service: understanding police demand, the role of the police, and the role of call-handlers in managing demand. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Police forces in England and Wales have been under growing pressure to respond to increasingly complex crimes with diminishing resources. To ensure the most effective and efficient use of limited police resources, an accurate understanding of demand and resource requirements is vital. Using one police force as a case study this thesis offers a fresh account of police reactive demand through analysis of police call data alongside data from Freedom of Information requests,, the Crime Survey for England and Wales and the Index of Multiple Deprivation The findings highlight little appears to have changed since Goldstein (1968) posited that police function in two worlds (related and unrelated to criminal justice processes). Findings from this thesis suggest the social role of policing is still dominant with calls relating to 'Public Safety and Welfare' accounting for almost half of incidents (46.8%) in the force studied and crimes only accounting for 15.6%.

To further explore the themes highlighted within the secondary data analysis, data was collected via a survey and semi-structured interviews to examine the role of police Call Handlers (CH) in managing demand and resources. The thesis explores the unique role of the CH as gatekeeper to police resources; with call data suggesting CHs resolved 19% of calls and 25.3% of mental-health related calls without the need to dispatch any resources. It was shown that the use of telephone resolution as a demand management practice increased. There is also evidence of CHs having to determine the merits of a police response within a risk-averse culture and observing the 'just in case' principle (Ekblom and Heal, 1985). Findings suggest that CHs appear to have some discretion when prioritising calls for service.

Drawing upon the findings from both phases of the research, the thesis presents a new theoretical framework in the form of a Call Handler Decision Making Model (CHDMM) which outlines factors which influence decision making within a Force Control Room (FCR). Taken together, this is the largest and most detailed exploration of police reactive demand and decision making in the police FCR.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Duncan, E.
Date: September 2022
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author. Restricted access: This thesis contains sensitive police data which identifies the police force and as such should not be disseminated to anyone other than the internal and external examiners without the explicit consent of the author.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 13 Jun 2023 09:23
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2023 09:24

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