This report looks in-depth at how UK policing has dealt with questions around engagement, innovation and change over recent years, and what lessons can be learned for the future. Based on 8 case studies at forces across the UK, the research sets out to answer three broad questions:

  • How engaged are most police officers and staff with their work and their forces?
  • How do change programmes impact on engagement and wellbeing levels? Could change be managed better?    
  • What are key barriers and enablers of innovation?

Forces across the UK have been through a difficult period over recent years, following a period of budget reductions and falling officer numbers. Engagement levels have come under pressure for these and other reasons. However, those forces with more visible Chief Officer groups, a strong focus on wellbeing, a listening culture on the part of leaders at all levels (particularly in the middle ranks) and clear and effective multi-channel communication systems generally have weathered this period much better.

Change programmes are also much easier to implement at forces that have a clear focus on the four enablers of engagement. Leadership that provides a clear sense of the strategic objectives, communication in a two-way manner with officers and police staff and meaningful consultations that fully explains what options have been considered are all key determinants of change success. Similarly securing early buy-in from first line managers and an engaged group of change champions can make a huge difference.

For more general innovation, the report looks at ways in which forces can get better at encouraging front line officers to put forward ideas, and make sure they are taken up more widely. For archetypical 'command and control' organisations like the police, it can be extremely challenging to create a culture where innovation is seen as something that can be bottom-up as well as top-down. 

Click here to download a copy of the full report