Tackling Violent Crime Programme: Guidance for problem profile analysis

1 Introduction
Problem profiles have been submitted to PSU in previous rounds of funding for DVEC and AMEC campaigns. These were variable in quality and content, and did not always adhere to NIM requirements. They often did not demonstrate that the problem was fully understood, or that operational responses were based on the inferences and recommendations arising from the analysis of the problem. The wide differences between the problem profiles submitted meant that making direct comparisons between BCUs was difficult; this was often the case even from those within the same force. A problem profile is now required from each of the 13 BCUs involved in tranche three of the Tackling Violent Crime Programme (TVCP), listed in Appendix 1. These problem profiles will be used to understand the problems associated with violent crime from a variety of different areas, to identify cross cutting issues affecting these areas, and recognise where good practice has been used in developing the problem profiles and drawing out appropriate recommendations. In order to ensure more consistency between these, this guidance has been prepared specifically relating to the TVCP, based on the previous analysis of AMEC and DVEC problem profiles. It is not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive. Instead it provides suggestions as to what aspects of the problem should be considered in the analysis, whilst still allowing flexibility in the final content, to reflect the local situation. This guidance may at times appear to be stating the obvious; it does so as basic points were omitted from the earlier problem profiles. The TVCP has focused on alcohol-related violence and domestic violence; whilst these are still the main focus of this problem profile, this should be put into context for all violent crime within each BCU.

2 NIM Guidance on problem profiles
The NIM guidance sets out clearly what the functions of a problem profile are, and what the minimum requirements should be (ACPO Centrex, 2005). All problem profiles submitted should adhere to the NIM requirements. The functions include providing a clear picture of a problem; show evidence of information analysis; make recommendations based on the analysis; and enable managers to justify actions and allocate appropriate resources. The minimum requirements are based around information on sensitivity, operational objectives, authorisation, justification, analysis of the problem and plans for future work.

3 Overall structure of the problem profile
The problem profile should be structured around the NIM guidance, and use templates provided by ACPO Centrex for this purpose. The overall structure should include the following: an introduction, describing the problem and reasons for conducting the analysis; a detailed analysis of the problem, using the appropriate analytical tools; and finally recommendations for further actions, based on the evidence emerging from the analysis. 3.1 Introduction

This should include: • Aims and purpose of the problem profile – outline why the problem profile is being prepared, who the target audiences are, and the terms of reference for the problem profile. Strategic drivers – state how this fits with force/BCU targets, and how the interventions that will be implemented through the Programme will fit in with this. Specify what measures of success are being used, such as decreases in violence with injury (victim reported rather than police reported), and increases in reported DV (with associated decreases in RV) Methodology - specify what data sources have been accessed, over what time period, and whether data refers to recorded crimes or incidents. Include details of any additional information gathered from other police sources (such as specialist units, intelligence logs). The methodology should specify exactly how the data has been extracted to allow for comparisons with previous problem profiles, or others prepared in the future. Consider including additional sources of data from partner agencies, which may help to provide a more complete picture of the problem. Some thought needs to be given to the high rates of under-reporting for violent crime, as less than half of violent crimes are reported to the police (Walker et al, 2006); the problem profile and interpretation of the data should reflect this to some extent. Data from external sources may include service health providers (A&E assault data, ambulance call-out data), the probation service, or local authority data (such as ASB related incidents, or footfall counts in town centres). • Limitations of the report – make sure appropriate caveats are noted that should be taken into account whilst reading the report. This might include difficulties with accessing the data, limitations due to incomplete data sets or missing data, differences between recorded crime and incident data that need to be taken into account, and the impact this will have on the interpretation of the data and subsequent recommendations. It should also include information about anything that could be done differently to overcome these problems (such as collecting data in a different way, better compliance with

requirements to use special interest markers etc) – these should also be reiterated in the recommendations for organisational change. Any changes in counting rules or crime classifications that will affect the results of the analysis should also be taken into account. • NIM requirements – the NIM requirements, such as authorisation, access restrictions, and justification should be included in the introduction section of the problem profile.

3.2 Analysis The analysis section should show a clear understanding of the problem using standard analytical products and techniques as appropriate. The problem profile analysis could contain information about a crime series, victim group, offenders, temporal analysis and geographical hotspots. The analysis should draw out clear inferences from the analysis, in understanding why problems exist in certain places at certain times, and identify key pinch points where interventions can be most effective. This is discussed in more detail below, in relation to violent crime. 3.3 Recommendations for further action Recommendations resulting from the problem profile and analysis should be based on the evidence presented. The NIM requirements include intelligence collection, investigation/enforcement and prevention priorities. This could also cover recommendations for reassurance and organisational issues (such as data recording). The actions suggested should relate directly to the analysis and understanding of the problem.

4 Analysis of violent crime
The analysis is crucial in demonstrating that the problem is well understood in detail. There are a number of issues to consider relating specifically to the analysis of violent crime, which should be included using appropriate descriptive text, graphs and tables. 4.1 Overview of violent crime This should include all violent crime across the BCU over the past three years (October 2003 to September 2006), to incorporate the period since tranche 3 of the TVCP began. Using the three-year period will show longer-term trends, seasonal changes, and distinguish real, sustained trends from random fluctuations. Applying a three-month moving average will help remove the effect of random variations. It would be useful to put this into context within the BCU, and give an indication of the proportion of all recorded crime that is counted as a violent offence.  Total violent crime should be broken down into its constituent crime types, such as violence against the person (broken down further into serious wounding, less serious wounding, common assault, harassment and other

violence), sexual offences and robbery, and look at how these have changed over time. The analysis should clearly explain the definitions and Home Office offence codes used to extract the data for the analysis. The TVCP is focused on reducing violence resulting in harm to the victim, and this should be reflected in the focus of the profile, with particular attention being paid to section 18, 20 and 47 offences (resulting in harm). This should be put into context within violent crime as a whole.  The analysis should not be restricted to offences that are alcohol-related when looking at violent crime, as there are a number of problems in reliably identifying these offences (discussed in more detail below). Analysing incidents of disorder, anti-social behaviour and drunk and disorderly behaviour will add useful insight into the nature of the problem in the BCU, and also about the relationship between these incidents that are related to the night-time economy and wounding or public order offences. Where these are included in the analysis, ensure that it is clear when it refers to recorded crime or incidents. If other relevant data from partner agencies is also available, for example surveys about public reassurance and safety, then this should also be incorporated into the analysis to give as broad a picture as possible. Other non-violent crimes may be affected by initiatives to reduce violence, such as criminal damage. It may be worth considering these in the analysis, and subsequent evaluation, to identify possible displacement or diffusion of benefit effects. For domestic violence offences, the ACPO definition should be used (ACPO, 2005), although the analysis will need to take into account any alternative/wider definitions used by partner agencies that might need to be considered. Again, non-violent crimes and non-crimed incidents need to be included to understand the problem fully, and to look in more detail at how problems have escalated over time. It is worth considering DV separately from other violent crime, given the probable differences in the victim and offender profiles, and level of repeat victimisation that needs to be considered, and therefore the differences in the recommended responses that will arise from this.

4.2 Types of analysis to use Decide on the most appropriate analytical methods to use, taking into account the data available, the aims of the problem profile, and the depth of information required. Analysis should ensure that enough information is provided to demonstrate that the interventions being implemented to address violent crime

are appropriate for the local problem, and that resources are being used effectively to tackle the identified problems.  The analysis should look at trends in violent crime, counts and percentage changes over time for specific offence types and, where possible, rates of offences. The denominator for determining rates should reflect the type of violent crime and the location in which it is occurring – using household or population data for violent crime in town centres will give misleading results, as it will not take account of the influx of people due to the night-time economy. For example, the average monthly footfall count in a town centre can give some indication of the change in the number of people out in the town centre and how this relates to the level of violent crime. For domestic violence, rates of victimisation can be determined using sociodemographic data, to ascertain whether the victim and offender profiles are typical of the local population, or if issues of underreporting may be identified for particular population groups. Whilst reporting rates for all violent crime are relatively low, underreporting is inherently problematic for domestic violence. Operational efforts should be made to increase rates of reporting, whilst decreasing the incidence of repeat victimisation. This should be reflected within the agreed measures of success, and the trends in recorded domestic violence. Geographical hot spot analysis, and GIS techniques are suitable for location based offences, although not so appropriate for DV, where repeat victimisation should focus on the individual rather than a geographical location. The analysis for violent crime should look at hot areas, hot lines (streets) and hot dots (premises), and how these have changed over time (comparing the TVCP period to equivalent period in 2005). Local knowledge and additional information should be used in conjunction with this ascertain why clusters of crime occur in these areas, and identify possible action points to reduce violence.

4.3 Repeat victimisation and offending This is an integral part of any analysis concerned with domestic violence, although is still relevant for non-domestic violent offences. Analysis of repeat victimisations for DV should focus on the individuals involved and not just their home addresses – this may indicate multiple problems at a single address, but will miss DV incidents occurring to the same victims in other locations. ACPO defines repeat victimisation as experiencing more than one incident of domestic violence in a 12-month period (ACPO, 2005), and should therefore include incidents as well as recorded crimes.  Understanding the patterns of repeat incidents of domestic violence are important in decision making with regards to the appropriate police response. For more serious assaults for DV, it would be useful to have some indication

as to how many repeat incidents occurred before this, and whether there was a pattern of escalating violence. Where possible the analysis should also include the level of assessed risk from police completed risk assessments and how this has varied over time and the effect of any interventions.  If possible, there should be some additional analysis to indicate how accurately repeat victims (and offenders) for DV are being identified through the data recording systems, and if organisational changes need to be made in the way that this is recorded. Repeat offences for night-time economy related violence tend to focus more on repeat locations rather than individuals. However, it may also be useful to know if repeat victimisation of an individual (and repeat offending) is a problem in this scenario, to understand whether the same people get involved in incidents on a regular basis, or whether they are more likely to be one-off events. Knowledge about repeat victims, or particular groups who are victimised more frequently, can help in targeting personal safety advice and raise awareness of risk.

4.4 Location of offences The geographical distribution of violent crime should be analysed, to identify the most problematic areas within the BCU. The distribution will depend largely on the nature of the problem; violence associated with the night-time economy will be concentrated in town centre areas; domestic violence may be more widely dispersed, across residential areas.  Hot spot areas on which more detailed analysis is to be focused should be clearly defined (e.g. using beat identifiers, bounding streets, etc.) so that resources can be tracked, a results analysis carried out, and further comparable analysis can be conducted at a later stage if necessary. The profile of violent crime may differ in different areas within the BCU, to reflect the concentration and closing times of pubs and clubs, and the ease of dispersal of customers at the end of the night. A separate detailed analysis should therefore be carried out for each area. Identify problematic streets and premises (licensed premises and also transport terminals, take aways, taxi ranks). Look at how these have changed over time, in particular during the period since the TVCP (or other initiatives) have been running, compared to the same period the previous year. The analysis should consider why particular premises are problematic. Linking the information on violence in licensed premises to capacities, closing times and other factors may help to explain why more offences are associated with some venues more than others.

The analysis of DV should look at the proportion of incidents that occur in private dwellings compared to public places, and where possible, look in more detail at the public locations. This may provide information to help target publicity material at both victims and offenders, although care must be taken to ensure that areas with low reporting rates are not excluded on this basis.

4.5 Temporal analysis Temporal analysis should be used to help recognise patterns and changes in offences, to ensure that adequate resources are available for deployment at higher risk times, and that additional opportunities for crime reduction can be identified.  In addition to long-term trends, the analysis should look at patterns of offences over a week and over a day, to identify ‘hot’ times and emerging trends, such as more offences occurring later at night at the weekend, or an increasing number on a certain day of the week. Many offences occur overnight. It may be worth considering how to present this to ensure there is no confusion as to which offences have occurred early on a Sunday morning (following on from Saturday night out), and which occurred on Sunday evening. Further analysis could be carried out to investigate whether there are links between violent incidents and other events, such as local or televised football or rugby matches, the Christmas and New Year period, or certain days such as Valentines Day. This should be analysed in relation to different crime types and locations. It would also be useful to provide more evidence to support the hypotheses around the peak times for DV being related to alcohol consumption and pub closing times, drawing out the links between DV, the night-time economy and sporting or other significant events.

4.6 Victim and offender profiles The victims and offender profiles will differ substantially for domestic violence and night-time economy related violence, and should be considered separately.  In general, for alcohol-related violence, the victim and offender profiles will be largely the same, reflecting the profile of people going out in the city centres to some extent. For DV the victim and offender profiles are likely to be very different, however care must be taken not to make assumptions about the individuals involved, as these are not always as expected. Although DV frequently involves a male perpetrator and female victim who are (ex)partners, this is by no means the only situation that will arise, consideration should also be given to same gender partnerships and to BME community relationships and so called honour crimes.

Factors to consider when looking in detail include gender, age, ethnicity and the relationship between victim and offender. The victim profile should focus on factors which are considered as part of the risk assessment process, for example using the SPECIAL CASES model (ACPO Centrex, 2006), including repeat victimisation. Offender profiles can help to ensure police resources and initiatives are being targeted correctly, and not based on assumptions. For example, an initiative to target underage drinkers early in the evening causing alcohol related disorder will need a different approach to one centred on a night-club in the early hours of the morning. Test purchase operations to reduce underage sales of alcohol have been a substantial part of the initiatives to reduce violent crime to date. So far, little analysis presented appears to have focused on the extent of the problems caused by young teenagers drinking, and how this links to violent crime and related incidents. Inclusion of additional information about underage offenders would help to provide a greater understanding of the impact that test purchase operations may have.

4.7 Alcohol and drug related offences Accurately identifying which offences are alcohol related from the various police data bases accessed can be problematic, mainly due to inconsistencies in recording this information. Whether an offence is alcohol related may not always be flagged in a consistent manner, and historical data may not exist to look at longer-term trends if policies to encourage consistent use are relatively new in force. Different forces have different policies in determining what should be counted as an alcohol-related offence, such as whether the victim and the offender had been drinking, or just the offender. Ideally the analysis should include offences involving cases where either the victim or offender has been drinking – whilst alcohol can act as an aggravating factor in causing violence, it may also increase the vulnerability of the victim.  The analysis should indicate whether an offence that is classed as alcoholrelated is based on the account of the offender, the opinion of the victim or the judgement of the attending officer. Little information, if any, is recorded about the quantity of alcohol consumed, and the bearing of this on the outcome of the incident. According to earlier research, binge drinking increased the likelihood of injury occurring, with increased risks when more than eight to ten units were consumed in one session (Shepherd & Brickley, 1996). Using data from other sources, such as the ambulance service or A&E departments may be able to provide additional information about this. The analysis should give some indication about the reliability of the data in identifying which offences are alcohol related, and how this would affect the interpretation of the results. This may involve further searching through MO

notes to pull out relevant cases, and correlating these against those that have been correctly flagged. Senior officers should ensure that the flag for alcohol (and other special interest markers) are used in accordance with BCU or force policy.  Where the data is available, it would be interesting to look at whether alcoholrelated incidents are associated with certain locations or licensed premises, or how alcohol use varies with offence type. Similar problems with accurate recording of alcohol-related incidents may also exist in the case of drug-related incidents. In the profiles from AMEC and DVEC, drug use received less attention in the analyses, and drug use was associated with a much lower proportion of violent offences. The analysis should indicate the proportion of offences involving drug use, again stating caveats about accuracy and reliability where appropriate. Other aggravating factors, such as mental health issues, may also be apparent at a local level, and these should be highlighted in the analysis where necessary.

4.8 Use of weapons The analysis should include information about the use of weapons in violent offences, and the proportion of violence with harm that involved the threat or use of a weapon. This should consider what sort of weapons are used in different offences types, and how these have changed over time, such as looking for increases in the use of guns or knives, and also the use of items associated with the night time economy, such as glasses and bottles. Again, data other than police recorded crime may have more information about this. If policies have been brought in by licensed premises to use plastic or toughened glasses, it would be interesting to look at whether this has had any effect on the trends in weapon use, or the extent of harm caused. The analysis should explore whether certain weapons are associated with offence types or certain locations, and if this changes over the course of a day. It may be useful to look at weapon use in DV offences separately, as pattern of use may differ substantially from weapons used in violence associated with the night-time economy. 4.9 Detections The use of PNDs was adopted in from 2004-05, and nationally these account for 11 percent of detections for violence against the person, most commonly for harassment (Walker et al, 2006). It would be useful to understand more about the use of PNDs, which offence types they were issued for, and the trends in use since their introduction in each BCU. Where possible, this should link into the analysis about repeat offending, and in particular look in more detail at the re-

offending rate for those issued with PNDs on the street, given that payment is received for only just over half of all PNDs issued (NOMS, 2005).  The outcomes of offences in which the police become involved should be included in the analysis, in particular where the focus has been on enforcement. The analysis should include information about the detection rates, and a breakdown of the methods of detection and whether these have affected the incidents of offending. For DVEC, one of the measures of success was the number of crimes leading to an arrest as a result of improved police enforcement action during the operation. This would also be relevant to include in the problem profile for the TVCP. Include analysis of arrests, charges and sanction detections where this adds to the understanding of the problem and how it is being addressed within the BCU.

4.10 Other factors to consider The problem profile analysis should aim to cover most of the points mentioned so far, putting these into context for the local situation. There are numerous other factors that could be considered when analysing the problem of violent crime. Some of these are outlined below. • Gang related violence – this should be included if it is seen as a problem contributing to the overall levels of violence within a BCU. The analysis should make it clear whether this is referring to organised gangs, or to groups of youths that are not in specific ‘organised’ gangs. Risk assessment – this relates more specifically to DV than other forms of violence. Including this would be useful in understanding the processes within the BCU and community safety partnership for assessing the risks posed to the victims (using a model like the SPECIAL CASES risk assessment model (ACPO Centrex, 2006)) and how this relates to the police response provided. Referrals to other agencies – again relating to DV offenders, this would consider the arrangements in place for the management of repeat offenders, and provide information about the proportion of offenders being referred to MARAC or other offender management programmes. Public reassurance – survey or other data may be available about public feelings of safety and how police/partner action has affected public reassurance. Hate crimes and racially motivated violence – again, where this is a significant part of the violent crime problem, or is emerging as more of a problem, additional data should be included in the analysis to illustrate

this. Again the accuracy of this may depend on the reliability of flagging such crimes within the crime recording system.

Interpretation of the data
It is not enough simply to present the data about the problems of violent crime within a geographical area, without providing some form of explanation of what is happening within the area. The data analysis needs to be interpreted, taking into account the necessary caveats, to understand why offences are happening at certain times and places, and to look for pinchpoints to determine where responses and resources can be targeted most effectively. The problem profile should develop hypotheses about the crime problem that can be tested through more in depth analysis. In interpreting the data and drawing out the recommendations for further action, it should be made clear how proposed interventions will have an effect on reducing violent crime (the expected mechanism of the proposed intervention), and to what extent this may impact on violent crime.

References
ACPO (2005) Guidance on identifying, assessing and managing risk in the context of policing domestic violence. (http://www.acpo.police.uk) ACPO Centrex (2005) Guidance on the National (http://www.acpo.police.uk/asp/policies/Data/nim2005.pdf) intelligence Model

ACPO Centrex (2006) NCPE update Briefing No 1/2006 Domestic Violence (www.genesis.pnn.police.uk) NOMS (2005) Penalty notices for disorder statistics 2004. Online Report 35/05. London: Home Office. (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/rdsolr3505.pdf) Shepherd, J. & Brickley, M. (1996). The relationship between alcohol intoxication, stressors and injury in urban violence. British Journal of Criminology, 36 (4), 546566. Walker, A., Kershaw, C. and Nicholas, S. (2006) Crime in England and Wales 2005-06. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 12/06. London: Home Office. Acknowledgements This report was prepared by Rosie Erol, of the UCL Jill Dando Institute Crime Science Laboratory.

Appendix 1: BCUs in Tranche 3 of the Tackling Violent Crime Programme
BCU TRANCHE 3 Queens Road Camden Ealing Haringey Lewisham Newham Waltham Forest Bristol Birmingham (D1, D3) Doncaster Sheffield Central City & Holbeck Kirklees Police Force Leicestershire MPS MPS MPS MPS MPS MPS Avon & Somerset West Midlands South Yorkshire South Yorkshire West Yorkshire West Yorkshire