Police ICT Company POP discovery project


We were approached by the Police ICT company to run a discovery project centred around Problem Oriented Policing (POP) to learn how knowledge sharing and best practice within this area could be improved amongst forces. POP is a policing strategy that aims to understand the root cause of crime within communities, through thorough identification and analysis, which can then be used to develop an effective response to the issue. We worked alongside South Yorkshire Police for the discovery, who also provided us with a number of POP experts to complement our team.

A discovery project is an intense, yet efficient way to explore the feasibility of taking a product or service into further development. Over the course of 6 weeks, we explored existing demand, solutions, content and business processes around POP by interviewing end users and senior stakeholders to uncover key user needs and requirements. Based upon the evidence discovered, we were then able to make recommendations on next steps.


Our goal for the project was to explore how POP could be utilised more effectively across police forces in the UK, and learn how practicing POP can enable officers to share and collaborate, to better protect communities from harm and manage demand.

Throughout the project we conducted a series of face to face interviews with POP practitioners, PSCO’s and PC’s. Telephone interviews were also organised with senior stakeholders within the force. Alongside this, we interviewed key members of staff within the Home Office and across partner agencies including the council, housing and NHS to develop a full picture of how POP is currently being practiced. Workshops with subject matter experts from the College of Policing, and attending the National POP Conference and the Police Now: 100 Day Impact Event gave us a deeper insight and understanding into POP practices.

From our research, we quickly realised that people were still working in silos, and not just within the force boundary but also within the force too. We found that key blockers were often related to internal culture and a lack of appropriate technology, as well as a clear understanding of what POP is. However, the single most important factor in effective problem solving within a force was strong leadership right from the top. With this knowledge, our focus became on how to deliver a solution that could join up these areas to make sharing and collaborating easy and effortless for officers.


At the end of the project we produced a slidedeck to demonstrate the work we’d undertaken, plus our findings, recommendations, and the potential cost for moving into alpha with a fully resourced team. We presented a condensed version of this to stakeholders within South Yorkshire Police, covering top level business and user needs, and requirements.

South Yorkshire Police found the experience of working on the discovery to be very positive and informative. The team were impressed with the level of effort, and the speed at which the discovery was run and delivered. Being part of the discovery team also allowed South Yorkshire Police to gain a deeper insight into how POP is currently handled across their own force and other forces.