Police Joint Working

From ‘Fighting’ Crime to Safeguarding and Vulnerability

Researcher: Dr Lindsey Youansamouth
Principal supervisor: Dr Ian Paylor

Full Report


This project explored police joint working in an age of austerity. The research provides an empirical evidence-base, which captures the ‘messy realities’ of joint working practices. With valuable contributions from project partners within Lancashire Constabulary and other subject matter experts, the project led to the development of the Policing Complex Adaptive Systems framework; a resource contributing insights into the personal, cultural and structural dimensions of working together, and valuable mechanisms for change. The research recommendations have been – and continue to be – embedded in practice.


Key Findings

  • Joint working is often learnt by “trial and error”, with frontline requests for further accessible guidance. A number of mobile ‘apps’ have since been developed, which support joint working.
  • The changing and diverse nature of services creates issues in knowing what support is available and how to access services. There are ongoing discussions to develop a community mapping system.
  • Strong visions were not always translated into practice. Lancashire Constabulary recognised this issue and has made positive progress in narrowing the strategy-practice gap, as found in HMICFRS’ 2019 inspection.
  • Consistent concerns regarding information technology. Opportunities have been identified to improve I.T., such as the development of integrated liquid logic, improved data sharing across partners through technological systems and investment in analytical products (e.g. Power Bi).
  • Progress had been made in moving physically closer to other professionals but there had been less focus on developing mental proximity. Prevalent feelings of being overwhelmed by change and ethnography acting as a form of ‘surrogate supervision’ for police employees. The Constabulary continues to make positive progress in improving supervision arrangements. Plans are underway to implement a reflective supervision pilot, alongside the multi-agency trauma informed workforce development programme in Lancashire.