Lean and Six Sigma in policing: austerity, driver or distraction?

Bryan Rodgers, Jiju Antony, Ivor Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (SciVal)
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Purpose: This paper seeks to broaden some of the recent discussion which focuses on austerity being the driver for introducing continuous improvement methodologies, such as lean, into policing. While the impact of austerity is recognised quality management approaches should be systems for long term integration into working practices, and improving quality of services to the public.
Methodology/Approach: Academic and practitioner literature is reviewed to summarise the drivers for change and the progress of lean and Six Sigma in the UK Public Sector and in policing.
Findings: The paper concludes that there are significant gaps in the literature and while there are undoubted challenges, there are overlaps between the strategic direction of policing and the approaches of Lean Six Sigma. Some of the challenges and opportunities are then discussed.
Research Limitations/Implications: There are a small but growing number of papers which evidence the applicability of Lean Six Sigma in policing. This paper explores the challenges around identifying who customers are and the intangible nature of some services in policing.
Practical Implications: The paper emphasises the risks to service delivery if factors such as budget constraints are considered in isolation. The paper provides examples of opportunities which may exist in policing as well as introducing ongoing work in policing in Scotland.
Social Implications: Policing by consent remains a key philosophy and can be related to the ‘voice of the customer’ as a key component in delivering service improvement to ensure policing remains relevant to communities.
Originality/Value: This paper is among the first to explore the issues of how improvement methodologies fit into the strategic direction and challenges of policing services.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Emergency Services
Early online dateOct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 2018


  • Lean Six Sigma
  • policing services
  • Public services
  • Voice of the Customer
  • Continuous Improvement


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