Training – step four

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Training officers in effective hot spots policing.

First published
Serious violence hot spots policing guide
2 mins read

Summary

  • Deliver training before deploying police officers involved in hot spots policing.
  • Training should address core concepts of hot spots policing. This increases understanding of the approach and its benefits. It also provides clarity on the role of the person or group receiving training. This should help to reduce resistance and increase compliance.
  • Training delivery should be pragmatic and varied. This helps to engage officers with hot spots policing.

This section covers:

  • who needs training on hot spots policing
  • the different mediums used to deliver training
  • what training could include

For the effective delivery of hot spots policing, officers and staff must understand:

  • the rationale behind the approach
  • the benefits it will bring if done well 

Training a diverse range of personnel helps understanding and prevents resistance. It also helps to tackle myths around crime displacement.

A consistent challenge across forces is training everyone involved in hot spots policing. An approach to training needs to be pragmatic. It should consider the resources and challenges at the individual force level.

Police personnel

Officers are often sceptical about the benefits of hot spots policing. They can assume that: 

  • police professional judgement can match or is superior to statistical analysis on where crime takes place
  • police patrols lead to the displacement of crime
  • reactive rather than proactive approaches should be the focus of police activity

Training for hot spots policing helps:

  • individuals to understand their role
  • gain support for the approach
  • equip officers with tools to respond and explain police processes

Training needs to be delivered to a diverse range of police personnel. This includes those delivering hot spots policing, such as constables and sergeants who are close to the front line. Training for sergeants is especially important as they supervise officers who patrol hot spots. 

Training should also be considered for officers in more senior positions, so they are active supporters of the approach. For example, inspectors, chief inspectors and superintendents. 

Content

Training for police officers should contain the core concepts of hot spots policing. It should also address potential areas of resistance from officers. 

This can be structured around: 

  • what hot spots policing is
  • what a hot spot is
  • how hot spots policing works
  • evidence on hot spots policing
  • evidence on why crime displacement is unlikely
  • evidence on why crime suppression is more likely
  • evidence on why a 15-minute patrol is the best method of delivering crime control suppression

 

Delivery

Training can be delivered through different channels, such as:

  • face-to-face, classroom-based learning
  • online workshops via video conferencing
  • pre-recorded videos and podcasts
  • daily briefings

Any training delivery needs to be pragmatic and flexible, allowing for the regular movement of officers. 

Frontline officers in forces often prefer to receive training from sergeants over senior managers. Sergeants are likely to have more face-to-face contact with their reporting officers. They can also potentially reinforce training on a day-to-day basis. 

Sharing preliminary results from hot spots policing activity may inspire further engagement and buy-in from management and leadership.

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