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@WeCops chat – Wednesday 10th February 2021 (9pm-10pm)

@WeCops chat: Public Health approaches in policing and the learning so far

We are pleased to be hosting a @wecops chat focused on public health approaches in policing. The chat will be led by Lancashire Constabulary Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Clarke, Superintendent Justin Srivastava and the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network.

Twitter handles of all those hosting will be:

Chief Constable Andy Rhodes – @CCARhodes
Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Clarke – @DCSSueClarke
Superintendent Justin Srivastava – @SuptSrivastava
Lancashire Violence Reduction Network – @LancsVRN

Date and time: Wednesday 10th February 2021 (9pm-10pm)

This @wecops chat will discuss ways in which the police service could develop its approach.

Public health approaches, whilst different from traditional models of response policing which often focus on individuals and enforcement, build on police experiences of neighbourhood policing and problem solving.

Public health approaches in policing support the Policing Vision 2025, which talks about proactive preventative activity, working with partners to problem-solve, vulnerability, cohesive communities, improving data sharing, evidence-based practice and whole system approaches.

The idea of applying public health approaches to areas such as road safety, drugs and violence is not new; but the term is being used to mean different things and no nationally or internationally agreed definitions of ‘public health approaches in policing’ currently exist.

What are public health approaches?

Population focus

Public health approaches start with the needs of the public or population groups rather than with individual people. This is different to healthcare where the focus is on the individual patient, or reactive policing where officers respond to calls about individual victims or perpetrators.
Public health approaches involve interventions delivered at population level and targeting resources effectively through increased understanding of the population.

The causes of the causes

Taking public health approaches means looking behind an issue or problem or illness to understand what is driving it. Often called ‘social determinants’ or ‘structural factors’, these are the circumstances such as housing, education, indebtedness and income that underpin people’s lives.


Public health approaches start from the principle that prevention is better than cure.

For further reading please read the discussion paper.

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