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Innovation in policing
Innovation in policing

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1.1 Types of innovation

As is evident, innovation is a highly diverse concept and can be applied in many different ways. There are consequently many different forms or aspects of innovation. The following table summarises the most common forms of innovation as they relate to public services, including policing.

Table 1 Innovation in a policing context
Type of innovation Relates to...
Process innovations
  • Improvement of quality and efficiency of internal and external processes
  • Creation of new organisational forms, the introduction of new management methods and techniques and new working methods
  • Creation or use of new technologies, introduced in an organisation to render services to users and citizens
Product or service innovations
  • Creation of new public services or products
Governance innovations
  • Development of new forms and processes to address specific societal problems
Conceptual innovations
  • Introduction of new concepts, frames of reference or new paradigms that help to reframe the nature of specific problems as well as their possible solutions
(Adapted from De Vries et al., 2014, p. 153)
Figure 1 An example of innovation in policing

The imperative for innovation in a policing context has been broadly recognised and is highlighted in the National Police Chief Council’s Policing Vision 2025 policy document. One author makes the point, however, that understanding and defining innovation in policing can at times be less than straight-forward:

Generally, prior studies of police innovation have used the requirement that an innovation must be new to the field of policing, or ‘state-of-the-art’. Unfortunately, these same studies have not always been clear how ‘state-of the-art’ for policing was ascertained.

(King, 2000, p. 305)