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FORCE FIELD ANALYSIS

A common challenge when dealing with process issues is developing an understanding of how the interplay between factors impacts the overall risk situation. This can be particularly true when dealing with soft processes where human emotions, insecurities, judgments, and interests play a prominent role in determining the success or failure of an initiative.

Force field analysis is a technique used to identify those forces (or factors) that tend to support the status quo (which are known as restraining forces) as well as those forces that tend to support movement away from the status quo (which are known as driving forces). This approach can be used both to analyze those instances where you want to retain the status quo, as well as to provide insights into how you can deliberately move away from the status quo by manipulating either the restraining or the driving forces.

Exhibit 21.6 Failure Modes and Effects – Example 2

Process: Patrol deployment model

Function: To provide police response to community calls for service in line with community and agency expectations

Item

Failure Mode

Local Effect

System Effect

Potential Cause

Current Control

O

S

D

RPN

Recommended Action

1

Response too slow

Increased level of victimization or injury to callers

Increased cost/loss to society to deal with more serious crimes

Insufficient number of officers available to respond

2

Response too fast

Increased number of officers required to provide response

Increased cost to community to provide policing services

Too many officers available compared to call volume

3

No response provided

Increased level of victimization or injury to callers

Reduced confidence and trust in police agency and justice system

Insufficient or no officers available to respond to calls for service

4

Wrong

response

provided

Reduced ability to effectively respond to situation

Decreased efficiency of policing delivery with increased costs

Poor alignment between needs of call and resources dispatched

5

Too much

response

provided

Specialist or other resources not available to respond to other calls for service

Reduced effectiveness of overall agency response to all crime in community

Poor alignment between needs of call and resources dispatched

Exhibit 21.7 Failure Mode, Effects, and Criticality Analysis – Example 2

Process: Patrol deployment model

Function: To provide police response to community calls for service in line with community and agency expectations

Item

Failure Mode

Local Effect

System Effect

Potential Cause

Current Control

O

S

D

RPN

Recommended Action

1

Response too slow

Increased level of victimization or injury to callers

Increased cost/loss to society to deal with more serious crimes

Insufficient number of officers available to respond

Periodic review of response time data

7

7

4

196

Increase number of officers assigned to geographic area with too slow response time; move from areas with too fast response time

2

Response too fast

Increased number of officers required to provide response

Increased cost to community to provide policing services

Too many officers available compared to call volume

Periodic review of response time data

4

6

4

96

Reduce number of officers assigned to geographic area with too fast response time, move to areas with too slow response time

3

No response provided

Increased level of victimization or injury to callers

Reduced confidence and trust in police agency and justice system

Insufficient or no officers available to respond to calls for service

Call-in/ rerouting dispatch protocol for when certain thresholds met

2

9

4

72

Implement more regular monitoring of calls by supervisors to trigger earlier call-in/reroute protocol

4

Wrong

response

provided

Reduced ability to effectively respond to situation

Decreased efficiency of policing delivery with increased costs

Poor alignment between needs of call and resources dispatched

Dispatch protocol listing resources required for type of call

6

4

7

168

Require supervisors to observe resource deployment, note instances of wrong deployment, update dispatch protocol

5

Too much

response

provided

Specialist or other resources are not available to respond to other calls for service

Reduced effectiveness of overall agency response to all crime in community

Poor alignment between needs of call and resources dispatched

Dispatch protocol listing resources required for type of call

5

4

7

140

Institute on-scene command structure to ensure unneeded resources are released for redeployment elsewhere as soon as possible, update dispatch protocol

Exhibit 21.8 Force Field Analysis

Driving Forces →

Status Quo

← Restraining Forces

Known criminals subject to monitoring conditions as part of parole terms Strong community league group committed to maintaining standards Police resources available to redeploy into community from other areas Availability of citywide funding for local business owners to bridge through economic slowdown Liquor licensing laws include review provisions for new premises

Increased crime levels within a community

Known criminal elements move into community Reduced patrol presence in community Economic slowdown impacted businesses in area, leading to increased number of empty premises, homes

New low-cost liquor store opened up in community

In a law enforcement context, we might want to consider why crime is rising in a particular neighborhood. The status quo in this case would be the increased crime level in the community, as this represents the problem or condition that we want to move away from. In considering this problem, we would want to consider what factors might be able to drive down the crime rate (the driving forces), as well as those factors that might restrain this decrease (the restraining forces).

Shown diagrammatically, this analysis could be presented as shown in Exhibit 21.8.

Using this example, it may be possible for the police along with the local community to address those factors responsible for increased crime levels by matching the restraining forces with the driving forces. This could be achieved through activities such as increasing visible police patrols, increasing the number of parole checks to ensure compliance, and reviewing the effect of the new liquor store by examining the geospatial distribution of crimes that occur around the store. This information could then be used to limit the effect of the restraining forces (for example, by tightening liquor sale conditions), and even help to convert them into driving forces for change through community-based partnerships.[1]

  • [1] For a fuller description of this phenomenon, see George Kelling and Catherine Coles, Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities.
 
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