Public reassurance, and its importance as a function of policing, has recently gained prominence in England and Wales. “Reassurance” has been included as part of the 2002 Police Reform Act, successive National Policing Plans and the 2004 Police Reform White Paper. It has evolved from concern that while the crime rate has been falling, public perception has been that it has continued to rise. This disparity has been dubbed the “reassurance gap”, with reassurance policing seen as a way of filling that gap. This article discusses the implementation of the National Reassurance Policing Programme (NRPP) in England. It identifies conceptual and practical issues arising from its application, and discusses the trialling of this developing concept in an operational policing environment. The authors ask whether the perspective behind the approach—namely, signal crimes—has been adopted, or if reassurance policing is simply “business as usual”. Specifically, they consider a potential tension between a community- or citizen-driven policing style as promoted by the NRPP through the signal crimes perspective, and a policing regime driven by performance indictors and targets.
Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice