Policing in a networked world

Policing is at a critical juncture. Demographic and societal changes, along with technological innovations, have created new and varied types of crime. The challenges and opportunities facing police urgently require an ambitious, sophisticated and unified response if policing is to stay connected with and fulfil its mission in democratic society.

PwC's Policing Study

The core mission of the police has always been to keep the public safe. But the task of protecting the public is arguably harder today than at any time since policing in its current form grew out of its origins in Britain in the 19th century.

Our interviews with police leaders across six countries revealed a complex set of challenges facing today’s law enforcement agencies operating at the local, national and international level. Many interviewees cited the challenges of managing short budget cycles and shortages in funding, which make it difficult to map out and pursue effective policing strategies over the medium and long term. Others spoke of the difficulty in reconciling local, federal and national organisational challenges. But they kept coming back to three key issues:

  1. Speed of data
  2. Societies' expectations
  3. Proactive policing

Download the report

(PDF, 1.3mb)


The view from the dash-cam: key findings

New technology is changing how the police operate

The explosion of digital data and its proliferation into almost every aspect of peoples’ daily lives, together with the connective power of increasingly agile technology, has created both a threat and an opportunity for law enforcement.


Cultural norms are changing

Citizens increasingly expect the police to keep them safe in public, private and online spaces. This has increased workloads for officers, and it requires new capabilities to be developed. Officers increasingly operate across a complex range of familial, societal and mental health issues, as well as look backwards into historic cases. 

Crime and criminals are changing

Criminals are using more advanced techniques to target vulnerable groups. Emerging crime types, such as cybercrime, do not translate well into the traditional model of frontline policing or the concept that a crime is linked to a location, a victim and an offender. Police organisations today are finding it harder to keep pace with new methods of disguising or hiding criminal activities, particularly online. 

Successful responses – and a way forward for police organisations

Align strategic direction with government to secure appropriate and sustainable funding.

Future-proof the police with network-based and innovative operating models to prioritise resources.

Prioritise and position resources to fight crime at the local, national and international levels.

Create both productivity gains and amplify the effectiveness of policing through innovative opportunities.

Design, recruit, train and empower a committed and agile workforce to disrupt criminality.

Collaborate with government, communities, business and partner agencies to shape and enforce legislation.

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George  Alders

George Alders

Global Government Security Leader, Senior Director, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 88 792 32 85

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