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Targeted criteria performance improvement: An investigation of a “most similar” UK police force

Harry Barton (Division of Human Resource Management, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Malcolm J. Beynon (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Publication date: 31 May 2011



The paper is set in the context of the impact of new public management (NPM) on the police service in the UK. Specifically, it aims to describe a modelling based approach to targeted police performance improvement within a specific area of measured operational policing namely sanction detection levels. It draws upon nationally available crime statistics, which have been utilised in a novel way in order to provide the police with an additional performance management technique.


The paper uses secondary data and the PROMETHEE ranking technique to exposit performance rank improvement of a police force amongst their most similar forces group.


The modelling approach is a proven tool that could be used in partnership with other police performance management techniques in their attempt to meet the public interest and Home Office demands for improvements in base sanction detection levels.

Research limitations/implications

The paper presents a theoretical approach that seeks to address a complex and multifaceted operational issue affecting all police forces. The theoretical nature in itself presents a potentially idealistic scenario.

Practical implications

The paper demonstrates that innovative modelling has the potential to add value to techniques that are currently used in the area of police performance improvement, in this case sanction detection levels. At the fundamental level this could be viewed in terms of “Where to start first, and from there?” with respect to targeting certain types of crime.


This paper uses a modern ranking technique previously unused in this area.



Barton, H. and Beynon, M.J. (2011), "Targeted criteria performance improvement: An investigation of a “most similar” UK police force", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 356-367.



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