ICIAC 2012 Seminar Stream 2B

Abstracts and slides

Priority neighbourhoods (G)

Priority Neighbourhood Mapping

Jonathan Bradley, City of Manchester Partnership Team

Key words: Integrated working, Neighbourhoods, Intelligence, Prioritization, Automation
Slides: Bradley

Integrated working is in the news at the moment, a key element of national initiatives such as Troubled Families and Transforming Justice. And the same principles are also being embraced at a more local level, as different agencies combine forces to help solve problems in neighbourhoods and communities.

One of the main challenges at neighbourhood level is working out where this joint activity should be focussed. Each agency has its own priority streets and estates, and geographic hotspots do not always sit neatly on top of each other. Different locations and environments tend to generate different combinations and mixtures of problems, and an important part of trying to develop local intelligence is to understand how these different combinations can be mapped from one place to the next.

In other words, which areas represent the most significant demand on resources across multiple agencies, and what are the main problems in each of these areas?

In Manchester we have developed a simple method to help identify answers to these questions. Individual KDE calculations are run for a series of different factors, from deliberate small fires to domestic burglaries to fly-tipping reports, and the densest grid squares are then selected from each of these calculations. These are then thematically mapped to find out which areas contain the highest number of high intensity scores.  Some areas are clearly priorities because of the high number of factors that are present (16 out of 18 issues, in one example), while others are significant because of the very high intensity of a relatively small group of scores.

This method is simple in design but could be resource-intensive in terms of manipulating multiple datasets and calculations, so code has been developed in VB to process these steps automatically. The code includes options to output the results in shapefile and MIF formats, and in the case of the MIF files to send these automatically to MapInfo as well.

The same process can also be used to identify areas of persistent concern across multiple time zones, by splitting the data by date period instead of incident type.

A further option applies the same basic method to mapping change across time. In this version, two KDE calculations are generated for multiple factors in two comparison periods, and the largest differences between the scores (both positive and negative) are then selected for each type of incident. Thematically mapping the results according to the number of dramatically increasing factors and dramatically decreasing factors can then provide a health check of local neighbourhoods, to identify areas that are causes for either concern or celebration.

Priority Areas: problem solving approach to high demand and need areas

Jenny Martin, Chris Lowe, Ciaran Walsh, Becky Clarke-Forrest and Andy Brumwell, West Midlands Police

Slides: Clarke-Forrest
Key words: Understanding problems, prioritising, partnership working

National research has identified that some areas suffer disproportionate amounts of crime and antisocial behaviour (ASB), have poorer education provision and aspirations resulting in low incomes and restricted employment opportunities.  In 1998 Chicago recognised that without a concerted approach across a range of agencies to reengineer these areas, these problems would continue. Their ethos was to coordinate activity into areas where there is the greatest need whilst galvanising communities to own and manage their own problems.

In October 2010 Next Steps was launched by West Midlands Police (WMP) to identify areas for focussed policing activity.  The Social Harm Index (SHI) methodology expanded Next Steps by looking at a combination of policing and non-policing data over 10 indices broadly defined as either demand or needs based.  These indices included police and non-police data and therefore identified locations that represent the most challenging areas across the WMP area for both police and partners.  30 priority areas were identified in December 2011, with these areas covering 6% of the WMP area and accounting for approximately 25% of WMP demand.  Whilst the SHI identified the areas that required sustained long term problem solving, it is essential for the right people with the right skill set and motivation to be involved in the problem solving of the long term problems that exist.  All of the Community Safety Partnerships (CSP) across the force area were engaged with following the identification of the areas; 31 areas were subsequently agreed following the minor alteration of some internal boundaries.  Priority areas also featured within the CSP strategic assessments. 

Engagement with other partners and agencies/organisations is being completed incrementally by the Local Policing Units (LPUs), with all approached so far positive about the benefits of formalising joint working in these areas, both strategically and tactically. Whilst there is local variation, each priority area has a working group with partner representation who are responsible for the detailed analysis, strategy design, implementation and evaluation.  Management of activity in the priority areas uses existing tasking and coordination processes, with problem solving activity in the areas being of a short, medium and long term nature, thus complementing daily business.

Staff from partner agencies and all 10 LPUs have received problem solving training from the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science.  These groups are currently in the process of writing problem solving problem profiles, attempting to understand why specific problems in these areas exist.  Whilst a proportion of the activity from these profiles will be of a short to medium term nature, there will be some issues and activity that will require a more long term approach.  In addition to the activity that will come out of the current problem profiles, the completion of additional problem profiles will help to develop a better understanding of the common themes which underpin the long term problems in each priority area, which will then inform the development of a realistic strategic partnership plan.

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