Sara Problem Solving

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Of course, in reality these processes are not always sequential.

In many cases there will be feedback loops to allow refocusing of the problem definition and re-assessment of problem-solving plans and interventions.

This short contribution outlines the way in which SARA has been used and further developed by Transport for London (Tf L, the strategic transport authority for London) and its policing partners—the Metropolitan Police Service, British Transport Police and City of London Police.

Led by Tf L, they have been using POP techniques to deal with crime and disorder issues on the network, with some success.

This has led to a refresh of Tf L’s strategic approach to managing problem-solving which builds on SARA and aims to highlight the importance of prioritisation, effective allocation of intervention resources and capturing the learning from problem-solving activities at a strategic and tactical level.

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Whilst these stages are implicit within the SARA approach, it was felt that a more explicit recognition of their importance as component parts of the process would enhance overall problem-solving efforts undertaken by Tf L and its policing partners.

Table The processes supporting delivery utilise existing well established practices used by Tf L and its partners.

These include Transtat (the joint Tf L/MPS version of the ‘Comp Stat’ performance management process for transport policing), a strategic tasking meeting (where the ‘P’ in SPATIAL is particularly explored) and an Operations Hub which provides deployment oversight and command and control services for Tf L’s on-street resources.

Where problems and activities sit within these broad levels depends on the timescale, geographic spread, level of harm and profile. Operational activities continue to be driven by a problem-solving process based primarily on SARA as they do not demand the same level of resource prioritisation and scale of evaluation, with a SPATIAL approach applied at a strategic level.

In reality a number of tactical/operational problem-oriented policing activities will form a subsidiary part of strategic problem-solving plans.


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