To austerity and beyond
: a critical review of neighbourhood policing in Dorset police

  • Johannes Pieter Oosthuizen

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


When the British government introduced the Comprehensive Spending Review
in 2007 and 2010, one of the principal victims of the spending cuts was
neighbourhood policing. By 2014, Dorset Police had already reduced their
neighbourhood police officers and staff by twenty-four percent and by 2015, two-thirds of police forces across England and Wales could no longer provide a ring-fenced function for neighbourhood policing. This study will attempt to evaluate the impact of these spending cuts on Dorset Police as a result of public sector cuts under the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), review and analyse
Dorset Police’s neighbourhood policing model, to identify any strengths and
weaknesses and seek to produce evidence-based recommendations in order to
improve a revised model of delivery, where appropriate.
A review of literature has found that even though the British government were
keen to give local communities more say over local service provision and politics
whilst simultaneously improving levels of public satisfaction and confidence in
policing by 2001, the arrival of public sector cuts was a direct threat to the core
functions and priorities of neighbourhood policing.
This study conducted interviews with eighteen neighbourhood police sergeants
as well as four focus groups with nineteen participants. In addition, 158 police
officers and Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs) participated in two
surveys and the study found that there were systematic weaknesses in the
neighbourhood policing model used by Dorset Police and these ranged from lack
of resources, personnel, support and role specific training, as well constant
abstractions of officers from their core roles. This study produced thirty
recommendations of change to the neighbourhood policing model in Dorset
Police, all of which were accepted in November 2014 and by April 2015,
implementation of those recommendations had commenced.
Date of AwardMar 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorAlison Wakefield (Supervisor) & Chris Lewis (Supervisor)

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