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“This just shows the huge range of issues that the problem solving model can respond to”

Police CPI joined the Home Office as sponsors of this years’ National Problem Solving Conference, which focused on problem solving through effective partnerships, held between 3rd and 5th October.

The annual conference heard from keynote speakers who are problem solving subject matter experts and leaders in this field, as well as affording delegates the opportunity to attend workshop sessions focusing on the application of the problem solving methodology across all levels and areas of policing. 

The conference also hosted the prestigious Tilley Awards, which celebrate problem-oriented projects that have achieved measurable success in resolving issues faced by the police, partners and/or the community. 

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Lead for Problem Solving, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, Lauren Poultney said, “As we know, demand on both police and partner agencies has increased significantly over recent years and we need to ensure we are maximising opportunities to utilise the SARA problem solving methodology, to help reduce some of this demand and continue providing the best possible services to the communities we serve. 

“It is fantastic to see the calibre of applicants improving year on year and I’m pleased to see how problem solving knowledge and skills have improved since we relaunched the Tilley Awards in 2017. 

“I’m confident through the conference and work taking place both locally and nationally, problem solving knowledge will continue to grow and the principles of this methodology will become further embedded into our ways of working”. 

Police CPI’s Michael Brooke, who compèred the proceedings on day 2 and at the Tilley Awards, said: “Police CPI are delighted to have been able to sponsor the Tilley Awards again this year. The funds enable the overall winner to attend and take part in the International Problem Solving Conference in America and enter the Goldstein Awards there. This year the UK was incredibly well represented by having four of the five finalists but ultimately lost out to a team whose project dealt with the unlawful ceremonial trade in leopard skins in Zimbabwe. This just shows the huge range of issues that the problem solving model can respond to. This year’s winners will again visit the Goldstein’s when perhaps the UK will pick up the overall winning prize. Regardless however, the big winners are the communities that benefit from the outstanding work of not just the award entrants, but of the efforts from the wider problem solving family, some of whom may often go unrecognised, but whose work is of great value”. 

Guy Collyer, Head of the Police CPI’s Crime Prevention Academy said: “This conference is always an excellent opportunity for specialists in problem solving to come together and exchange ideas and best practice. As policing moves forward during these challenging times, problem solving is becoming a critical factor in ensuring that police forces and their partners operate at the highest level and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour as much as possible”. 

Mark Morgan, Licensing SAVI, said: “It was great to be back at the Problem Solving Conference, to hear about such fantastic work and take the opportunity to discuss current challenges and good practice within the licensing landscape, which is important to us as we continually seek to have Licensing SAVI be as supportive a tool for the industry, policing and partners as possible”. 

Tilley Awards 

Greater Manchester Police’s Op Vulcan was the overall winner of the 2023 Tilley Awards for their project which has utilised problem solving methodology to address the large scale sale of counterfeit goods in Manchester. The four other finalists were: 

  • South Yorkshire Police- Op Parksafe, which is aimed at combating poor and dangerous parking in Sheffield 
  • Greater Manchester Police- Problem solving knife enabled project, which involved making environmental improvements in an identified hotspot area and utilising a Public Space Protection Order to reduce crime and improve public safety
  • Northamptonshire Police- Accident Reduction, an internal project launched to improve internal fleet management and performance, with the aim of improving driver safety standards
  • Police Service for Northern Ireland- Between the lines- a project which aimed to tackle the root cause of anti-social behaviour in an area of Dungannon by working with partners to apply the principles of problem solving 

Chief Constable Lauren Poultney said, “I would like to congratulate Greater Manchester Police on being awarded as the overall 2023 Tilley Award winner. Their project, along with the other four finalists, are all fantastic examples of how adaptable problem solving methodology can be when used effectively in practice and the positive impact it can have on tackling the root cause of a problem.” 

New Problem Solving Guidelines launched 

New guidelines that aim to develop a consistent problem-solving culture across policing in England and Wales were launched to coincide with the National Problem Solving Conference. 

Drawing on experience from the frontline and evidence that problem-solving works to tackle crime, the College of Policing created national guidance and standards on problem-oriented policing. These guidelines provide an evidence-based toolkit to assist police forces in applying the problem solving methodology across all levels and areas of policing and will support forces to embed a problem solving approach. 

The new guidelines can be viewed here.

Problem Solving and Crime Prevention Programme

South Yorkshire Police delivers the Problem Solving and Crime Prevention Programme at a national level. Chief Constable Lauren Poultney is responsible for overseeing the delivery of this programme and overarching purpose of transforming ways of working and reducing demand, by embedding a structured problem solving ethos as a core discipline in policing.

To achieve this the programme facilitated a number of workstreams, one of which included the launch of the annual National Problem Solving Conference to explore, share and celebrate problem-solving initiatives and knowledge with both police and our partners at a local, regional and national level.

Police Crime Prevention Initiatives

Set up by the Police Service in 1989, Police CPI act as a catalyst to bring organisations together to reduce crime and the fear of crime and create safer communities. 

Police CPI deliver a wide range of innovative and ground-breaking crime prevention and demand reduction initiatives to support the wider UK Police Service, as well as the Government and the general public. It is a not-for-profit, police owned organisation, self-funded through its prevention activities. 

Part of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Prevention Coordination Committee, Police CPI works closely with central government, manufacturers and companies involved in security products (within the UK and those in countries that supply the UK), standards authorities and key stakeholders such as Planners, Architects, Developers, Local Authorities, Housing Associations, academia and the public. 

Senior police officers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland control and direct the work Police CPI carries out on behalf of the Police Service, setting the strategic direction of Police CPI to ensure there are benefits for both the public and the police service.  The Chair of the NPCC, Gavin Stephens QPM, also chairs the Police CPI board of directors. 

Police CPI have a diverse mix of professional staff with a variety of expertise in specialist subjects, many of whom have honed their expertise during successful police careers and who have a passionate desire to serve by actively seeking ways to reduce criminality. 

The extensive Police CPI portfolio covers a variety of crime prevention initiatives, including:

Police Crime Prevention Academy

The Police Crime Prevention Academy was formed at the beginning of 2017 due to the growing demand for training in crime prevention and problem solving, with the newly formed Academy taking over all national crime prevention and designing out crime training from the College of Policing.

Since then the Academy has delivered training to police officers and staff from across the UK & Ireland, as well as to employees from many public and private sector organisations and officers from police services from around the world. The Academy offers learning and development that will upskill officers and staff - everyone who is engaged in policing, security and supporting safer communities - across a range of subjects.

The Academy are also responsible for the mandatory yearly Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and three-yearly assessment that Police Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs), Crime Prevention Officers (CPOs) and Police Alcohol Licensing Officers (PALOs) are required to complete due to their roles being designated as specialist roles by the NPCC.

The Academy have worked with their awarding body, ProQual, to produce a series of new national vocational qualifications in subjects directly associated with crime prevention, problems solving and the development of safer communities. This has then been expanded to include qualifications that will be of interest to all those who operate publicly accessible locations, such as visitor attractions, transport hubs and shopping centres/malls. 

These qualifications are suitable for everyone and can be completed as professional development. The difference is that with a qualification, candidates will be asked after the initial training to be able to provide evidence that they have understood their new learning and can correctly apply it in the workplace. When the same course is completed as professional development, there is now end of course assessment. Just a simple knowledge check. We advocate qualifications because it will give the candidate and their employer the confidence that they have the ability to perform their role correctly. 

The Academy can also develop and design courses on a bespoke basis. The Academy curriculum can be found at They can be contacted at to discuss the development of bespoke training.

Secured by Design (SBD)

Secured by Design (SBD) is the official police security initiative.

The housing boom of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, led to homes being built quickly and cheaply, often with little consideration given to security. Crime increased significantly, particularly burglary. In response, the Police Service set up SBD in 1989 and since it was launched SBD has built up a wealth of experience promoting crime prevention and security through active involvement in local communities – constantly adapting the advice to keep pace with changing patterns of criminal behaviour.

SBD has worked with the Government to embed crime prevention into the planning process and establish police security standards in the building and construction industry. Across the UK SBD is delivered by local specialist officers called Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs). These officers work closely with architects, developers and local authority planners at the design stage to design out crime by improving the physical security of buildings and incorporating crime prevention techniques in the layout and landscaping of the immediate surroundings.

Developers can achieve SBD awards for incorporating crime prevention measures and techniques into their developments in all kinds of building sectors, such as residential, education, health, transport, commercial, retail, sport and leisure. 

More than one million homes have been built to SBD crime prevention standards across the UK – that’s 30% of all new homes built – with reductions in crimes such as burglary of up to 87% as reported by Police Scotland. These are sustainable reductions each and every year, which is significant as most SBD homes are in social housing, many in deprived and higher crime areas.

On behalf of the UK Police Service, SBD also operates an accreditation scheme for products or services that have met recognised security standards. These products or services – which must be capable of deterring or preventing crime - are known as being of a ‘Police Preferred Specification’.

The Police Preferred Specification scheme has been operating for nearly 25 years. It requires all security products to meet or exceed the performance expectations documented within the relevant security standard for that type of product. It ensures that the product is sufficiently robust to resist physical attack by casual and opportunistic criminals.  The SBD focus is on the critical factors that combine to deliver a product’s performance - design, use, quality control and the ability to deter or prevent crime.

Products that have met the Police Preferred Specification provides reassurance to the specifier, purchaser or user that their products have been independently tested to a relevant security standard and fully certified by an independent third-party certification body recognised by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), or tested and certified by an alternative approved body such as Sold Secure or Thatcham. Indeed SBD instigated the formation of the UK Test House Studies Group and Certification Bodies Group for doorsets, windows and lock products and have chaired these groups for almost 20 years with the sole aim being to ensure there is parity between test and certification bodies. Better quality means these products last longer too, making them more cost effective and leading to greater sustainability in crime prevention.

The SBD website contains details of the many hundreds of companies who produce over 7000 individual attack resistant crime prevention products in more than 30 different categories that have met the exacting Police Preferred Specification. This includes doors, windows, external storage, bicycle and motorcycle security, locks and hardware, asset marking, alarms, CCTV, safes, IoT connected products, perimeter security products and many others. All of the companies have their full website and contact information listed, as well as a detailed list of all of the SBD accredited products which they provide.

SBD is the only way for companies to obtain police recognition for security-related products in the UK.

Secured by Design - Secure Connected Device accreditation

Following safety concerns regarding the increased use of Internet of Things (IOT) enabled devices with a security aspect, Police CPI took the stance that SBD member companies should comply with an appropriate standard. Initially the only available standard was costly and very exacting. By working with industry partners, we have seen a development of a wider range of standards more appropriate with the different levels of risk which the devices pose. 

With industry partners keen to demonstrate their social responsibility, Police CPI have developed a framework to assess the element of risk and to enable us to direct companies seeking our endorsement to an appropriate standard. Working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), now the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), Police CPI have been recognised as supporting their efforts to harden security in this sector. Very recent legislative changes are entirely in step with our endeavours in this area, and currently, Police CPI is the leading organisation in this area. 

Several large SBD member companies have satisfactorily gone through the Secure Connected Device accreditation process to date, recognising the value of the accreditation and joining. 

Secured by Design Sanctuary Scheme 

The primary aim of the SBD Sanctuary Scheme is to protect victims of domestic abuse in their own homes.

A Sanctuary safe room is installed only in a home where the perpetrator no longer resides. It has a range of security features aimed at delaying unlawful entry and allowing time for the emergency services to arrive.

Since its creation in 1998, the scheme has successfully helped thousands of victims of domestic abuse remain safe in their homes and maintain their social roots. It has also resulted in huge savings for Police Forces, healthcare services and local authorities, with less serious assaults to investigate, less families to re-house and less children to re-school.

Licensing Security and Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI)

The Licensing Security & Vulnerability Initiative (Licensing SAVI) was launched in 2021 to keep licensed premises safe for both staff and customers. 

Licensing SAVI supports the Government’s determination to protect women and girls from violence. Developed at the request of the Home Office, completion of the self-assessment can lead to Accreditation and an Award with a Star-Rating for display to show the efforts undertaken to enhance safety and security. 

Available as a confidential, online self-assessment, Licensing SAVI covers effective management practices and operational security, including critical issues like responsible drinking; drugs misuse; violent behaviour; safeguarding vulnerable customers and preventing opportunist theft. It also has a focus on improving physical security of a venue such as emergency exits, lighting and CCTV systems, to prevent crimes such as burglary and theft, with the aim of increasing the feeling of safety and reducing demand on the police. Venues are provided with bespoke advice and guidance regarding how they can make improvements to maximise safety and security. 

Already having users in over a hundred towns and cities across England and Wales, early indications show that Telford local authority (West Mercia) have noticed a significant reduction in the number of Police Incident Reports in premises that have been Licensing SAVI accredited.