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Briefing Note: Community Resilience Strategy toolkit

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Resilient communities and Policing priorities: a toolkit


Briefing Note; November 2012

Briefing Note: Community Resilience Strategy toolkit INTRODUCTION Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them. This quote from Jeff Conklin describes nicely the challenge of continuing to improve neighbourhood and community-based policing beyond the successes of community safety partnerships. At a time when local authorities, health trusts and development agencies, who are partners to the Police in any given locality, are experiencing severe spending cuts, the complexity of reducing crime and the causes of crime become ever more wicked. The introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners and Panels in 2012 as elected representatives in policing at a regional level has also highlighted the challenges of providing locally sensitive police services1. This document provides a framework whereby Commissioners, the Panels, and the Forces with whom they work, may establish in a robust and transparent manner the policing challenges in specific localities, to refine resource allocation, to set appropriate performance criteria and to establish clear roles and remits of policing partners such as local authorities. WICKED PROBLEMS This document identified policing issues in each locality as essentially a wicked problem2, which is one where those involved cant agree on what the question is, let alone what the solution should be. This is particularly appropriate for areas where public order, deprivation and crime rates have been a challenge for a long period of time.
The concept of wicked problems dates back to the 1970s when Rittel and Webber (1973: 155) coined the phrase to describe a class of problem that defy solution in the context of social planning: The search for scientific bases for confronting problems of social policy is bound to fail, because of the nature of those problems. They are wicked problems, whereas science has developed to deal with tame problems. Policy problems cannot be definitively described. Moreover, in a pluralistic society there is nothing like the indisputable public good; there is no objective definition of equity; policies that respond to social problems cannot be meaningfully correct or false; and it makes no sense to talk about optimal solutions to social problems unless severe qualifications are imposed first. Even worse, there are no solutions in the sense of definitive and objective answers.

Whilst community safety partnerships have made extraordinary strides towards coherent decisionmaking between agencies and moved the agencies involved closer to the top of Arnsteins ladder of participation3, a continuing problem of limited public involvement suggests a need to start at the top of the ladder and work towards the statutory agencies rather than just extending the reach of the agencies outwards4. The focus of this project is to further develop weak links5 in a given locality and focus Police priorities on helping community members to address and resolve community safety issues through a distinct process of achieving citizen control .

Figure 1 Arnstein's Ladder of Participation

The approach here is to establish a neighbourhood centred (rather than neighbourhood focussed6) approach to

Arnstein, S R. (1969) "A Ladder of Citizen Participation," JAIP, Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1969, pp. 216-224
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http://www.localgov.co.uk/index.cfm?method=news.detail&ID=60916&&key words=wicked%20issues 5 Granovetter, MS (1973). The Strength of Weak Ties. The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 78, No. 6. (May, 1973), pp. 1360-1380
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDts5XPCHy0 and http://www.academia.edu/1961081/Untangling_Police_Accountability_A_Ne w_Public_Leadership_Challenge


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Ackoff, Russell, (1974) "Systems, Messes, and Interactive Planning" Portions of Chapters I and 2 of Redesigning the Future. New York/London: Wiley,.

The difference is that a centred approach looks out from where the person or neighbourhood is, how they perceive and experience community safety, rather than a focussed approach which focusses on the person or neighbourhood. All the agencies peer at the troubled person or locality and concentrate their current services, rather than look back at themselves to see what the troubled person or locality sees.

Briefing Note: Community Resilience Strategy toolkit communicating neighbourhood perceptions of safety and wellbeing to the agencies involved. This is based on assets7 rather than deficit. Although the localities in question have been identified because of various vulnerabilities8, this approach looks at the chosen localities as if they are asset-full- they remain reasonably successful in comparative terms, things get done, life goes on, problems get solved by community members themselves. Starting with the assets, skills, knowledge and the weak links of social capital that already exist, statutory agencies can limit their interventions to investments in enhancing the local tangible and intangible assets to enhance community safety. This means that projects and initiatives can be better targeted to Build on existing community capabilities Reduce focus on short-term projectised inputs Develop long-term investment in community assets population that use a locality without actually living there9. TAMING PROBLEMS Having identified priority areas with respect to crime through screening processes10, the next step is typically devise a project or operation focussed on tackling the type of crime or the criminogenic needs or deficits in the given locality. The projectising of a problem leads to the taming11 of the problem- through the selection of a part of the problem, setting clear objectives, assigning limited and time bound resources to a limited number of alternative solutions in order to result in a limited set of outcomes. An alternative approach is to focus on the locality as the unit of problem solving, rather than focussing on the problem. Placing the problem in a wider context, as a small part of a wider (and generally successful) system of interest12 allows the whole locality (the built environment, the people, their networks and their problem solving capabilities) to be utilised to address the problem. PERCEPTIONS The usual strategy for identifying that a problem exists is to collate a large amount of existing data, sift it to find patterns and to prioritise those patterns. The problem is that people sifting the data tend to see patterns that they already think exist13. In this way, localities are confirmed to suffer from certain types of crimes. The data then tends to confirm that which is already known, operationally and anecdotally. A lot of effort is
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Strategic command in any organisation focusses on the attributes of a problem that the organisation has control over. This means that the Police, naturally, focusses on the parts of a locality, and people that it thinks it can control or strongly influence. These are police officers, PCSOs, those individuals in agencies who are required to attend partnership meetings and initiatives and perpetrators and victims of crime. In a given locality, even if existing consultees are included (the usual suspects of residents associations, neighbourhood watch schemes, volunteering groups etc) these still make up a relatively small proportion of the total population of a locality and an even smaller part of the

An area like Castle is a good example- with relatively low population but contributes a great deal to town-wise crime statistics, probably because of the amounts of people that use the area during the day and in the night time economy. 10 Like those in the Northampton Community Safety Partnership Strategic Assessment 2011/12
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Chapman, J. (2004). Systems Failure Why Governments must learn to think differently, 2nd ed. London: DEMOS
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Kretzmann, JP and McKnight, JL ( 1993)Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets (Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research,) 8 Specifically, the Jill Dando Vulnerable Localities Index Chainey, S. P. (2008). Identifying priority neighbourhoods using the Vulnerable Localities Index. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice. Vol, 2(2), pp. 196-209.

The central concept system embodies the idea of a set of elements connected together which form a whole, this showing properties which are properties of the whole, rather than properties of its component parts. Checkland, P. (1981). Systems Thinking, Systems Practice. John Wiley & Sons
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Maccoun, Robert J. (1998), "Biases in the interpretation and use of research results", Annual Review of Psychology 49: 25987

Briefing Note: Community Resilience Strategy toolkit spent on refining the data in an attempt to understand the problem better. All that actually happens is that we understand the data better, not the problem. Instead, it is possible to look more closely and deliberately at peoples perceptions of the data, rather than the data itself. Being interested in peoples perceptions of data help us to understand what possible solutions that they have in their head when they are sifting the data. This helps us to understand how they are constructing14 the problem in their heads. ENRICHING THE DATA/ENRICHING THE PROBLEM Instead of creating more data, what is required is a richer understanding of that data, and how it is perceived by different people and interest groups in the given locality. This can be done through a process of rich picturing
Rich pictures were particularly developed as part of Peter 15 Checklands Soft Systems Methodology for gathering information about a complex situation. Rich Pictures provide a mechanism for learning about complex or ill-defined problems by drawing detailed ("rich") representations of them. Typically, rich pictures follow no commonly agreed syntax, usually consist of symbols, sketches or "doodles" and can contain as much (pictorial) information as is deemed necessary. The finished picture may be of value to other stakeholders of the problem being described since it is likely to capture many different facets of the situation, but the real value of this technique is the way it forces the creator to think deeply about the problem and understand it well enough to express it pictorially (a process known as action learning).

about those differences in order to solve the problems. VISIONS, PRIORITIES AND PLANS Rich picturing works to analyse the problem, but it is also used to develop a vision and plan for the locality, placing policing priorities into the context of the existing assets and capabilities of the locality and identifying areas where investment will enhance those capabilities, shifting focus away from funding of ongoing remediation projects. The sensitivity of these investment plans can then be tested to understand the factors that contribute most to success or failure.

Figure 2 Example of Rich Picture

GETTING THE MIND-SET RIGHT Its always tempting to suggest that a problem can be definitively solved, but this process allows the limits of success to be considered. The following principles are guides to understanding the limits to success.
The way a problem is described in the first place determines the nature of the solution- the right questions need to be asked to get the right answers Every wicked problem, and therefore every community, is essentially unique. Defining wicked problems is itself a wicked problem. Wicked problems do not have a limited number of potential solutions. Wicked problems dont stop being wicked at the end of a project. There is never a problem-solved moment Every solution to a wicked problem is a "one-shot operation"; because there is no opportunity to learn by trial and error, every attempt counts significantly. Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem.

Rich picturing captures the perceptions we have of data, rather than the data itself. Intelligence staff and community members can come together around a table with different types of data about crime events and insider knowledge and map them as equals. The picturing process neednt be tidy or elegant, but works to identify differences in understanding about priorities and resources in a locality, and allows partners to have a discussion

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Berger, P. L. and T. Luckmann (1966), The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Garden City, NY: Anchor Books Checkland, Peter B. and Scholes, J. Soft Systems Methodology in Action, John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 1990

Briefing Note: Community Resilience Strategy toolkit


You have no right to be wrong (we dont have permission to get it and try again).

Solution lie in a combination of small actions, building on assets and capabilities that already exist rather than big high profile projects which ultimately finish without addressing the whole issue. The full toolkit will contain instructions on how to complete each of these steps. PREPARATION 1) Community profile from statistics a) What is known already b) What is missing c) What anecdotal suggestions are there d) Develop and map weak links networks TRIANGULATION 2) Observational data- initial street walking a) Triangulation with statistics b) Physical assets register- geotag c) Vulnerabilities and risks register- geotag LEGITIMACY 3) Kins and Networks a) Groups- voluntary and funded b) Statutory agencies and services (bridging capital) i) Housing ii) Social work iii) Wardens iv) Health professions v) Environmental wellbeing c) Tight & Loose networks (bonding capital) i) Neighbours ii) Communities of affiliation/experience/status iii) KINS and Community Connect d) In a-c above, establish intangible assets, skills & experience SYSTEMS & STRUCTURES 4) Maps and rich pictures

a) Develop own rich picture (RP) capturing 1-3 above b) Key informants (KI) develop own independent RP i) Their perceptions of the data ii) Their own perceptions of vulnerabilities and assets (V&A) c) Repeat street walking with KI d) Compare and discuss RPs- commonalities and differences e) Derive composite RP from key stakeholders RPs f) Conceptualise Key Problem Statement(s) from RP consultations g) Keep it wicked

POWER RELATIONS 5) Priorities and foci a) Simple or pairwise ranking of priorities of stakeholders b) Preserve different rankings of different stakeholders c) Factor in external pressures and objectives (like Locally Identified Priorities (LIPS)) d) Undertake sensitivity analysis on priorities SOLUTIONS 6) Visualise solutions a) Draw RP of desired endpoint(s)- what would locality look like when successful b) Which priorities from 5b can be oriented to achieving 6a to achieve action? c) Identify & RP assets which contribute to 6a d) Identify & RP assets which, with investment, will contribute to 6a e) Identify interests and blockers f) Undertake multi-criteria decision analysis (optional if complex or high investment) STRATEGY

Briefing Note: Community Resilience Strategy toolkit 7) Community Resilience Strategy a) Map actions of partners b) Record interdependencies c) Consider pre-requisites rules d) Publish strategy e)
*Keywords in bold require technical explanation