Managing the Demand for Police Services, or How to Control an Insatiable Appetite

Jenny Fleming, Peter Grabosky

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    As the policing role expands, police in most western democratic societies strive to meet the demands of an increasingly expectant public. How to maintain the myth that they can be everywhere and do anything regardless of their capacity? How to maintain their customer focus and reputation for efficient and effective service delivery in the face of chronic resource restraint? How to encourage the public to play a greater role in attending to their own security needs, without communicating to prospective offenders just how thin the �blue line� is? This paper discusses the expectations gap in Australia and examines some of the strategies police use for reducing the demand for its services and to manage the increasing demands on their limited resources. The observations and commentary are drawn from a 3-year research project in Australia, �Policing in the 21st Century�.1 The strategies are discussed in the context of deterrence, deflection, delay, dilution and denial. The paper concludes that police walk a fine line in order to maintain their legitimacy and respect, while at the same time managing the demand for their services-a demand that in many cases has become unrealistic.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)281-291
    JournalPolicing: A Journal of Policy and Practice
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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