Restoring public confidence through the delivery of improved community policing in Rackhamshire

Carina O'Reilly, Winifred Agnew-Pauley, Samantha Lundrigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neighbourhood policing is central to supporting public confidence in England and Wales. However, the delivery of neighbourhood policing models is increasingly fragmented and under pressure from austerity measures and from changes to demand and priorities. This research aims to understand the current state of neighbourhood policing in the county of “Rackhamshire” and its ability to support public confidence.

The authors conducted six focus groups, three with officers who were part of Community Policing Teams (CPTs) and three with members of the community who were actively engaged with community policing and local concerns. These were supplemented by two interviews with senior officers (35 participants in total).

Austerity-driven changes to policing in Rackhamshire have damaged the capacities of CPTs and residents have begun to lose confidence in the ability of the police to respond to their fears. The authors argue that reforms intended to make policing more efficient and effective appear to have the opposite effect on community policing, by preventing it from working in a way that can support public confidence and that this could have longer-term consequences.

The effects of austerity on the mechanisms by which neighbourhood policing supports confidence have been relatively neglected. By exploring the state of these mechanisms in one English constabulary, this research has exposed serious weaknesses in the way that community policing is able to support public confidence and suggests practical operational responses. In light of these findings, this study argues for the urgent reinstatement of earlier models of neighbourhood policing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-84
Number of pages16
JournalSafer Communities
Issue number2
Early online date15 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Public confidence
  • Community policing
  • Neighbourhood policing
  • Visibility
  • Police
  • Community engagement


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