The purpose of this paper is to consider the way in which the police service in England and Wales may be able to deal with significant cuts in government funding. The concept of “lean”, as developed in Japanese manufacturing in the 1950s, is proposed as a method by which waste can be reduced at the same time as improvements being made in policing outcomes. Characteristics of police culture and leadership are presented as potential blockages to the successful implementation of lean.
This paper reviews literature within the sphere of operations management, policing and organisational behaviour to make appropriate recommendations. A case study, considering the performance challenges facing the Metropolitan Police Service in London, is provided to aid understanding and act as a catalyst for further discussion and research.
This paper argues that the simplistic approach to managing austerity so far has been short sighted – rather than considering the longer term development of policing and how a methodology such as lean may be better placed to deliver genuine improvements in public service, whilst also meeting unprecedented fiscal challenges.
Consideration of lean within public sector management has received recent scrutiny, but very little is offered in terms of the opportunities that lean thinking can offer within policing.
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