Why should we innovate in security?

The reasons for innovation are many:

Publications and presentations

This chapter reviews the field:

Innovation and the 5Is Framework

‘The world is changing faster and more profoundly than ever before, whether we look at climate, disease, politics, the economy and technology. Some of these changes cause new kinds of crime to emerge, or old kinds to mutate. New patterns of conflict, stress and deprivation generate motivation for disorder and violence. Entrepreneurial, adaptive criminals exploit new opportunities for crime. In fact, we on the security side find ourselves in an arms race with offenders, where what works to prevent crime now, may no longer work in future.

‘In the face of all this, what should we do to stop security from falling ever-further behind? Strategically speaking, we have to develop and disseminate the capacity to out-innovate adaptive criminals. But innovation in crime prevention is equally important at the local, everyday level.  We know that interventions that work in one place and time will not necessarily work elsewhere. So when we try to replicate some local crime prevention success story on a national scale, we find that cookbook copying often fails. We have to replicate intelligently, based on tested theory and plausible practical principles blended with specific local requirements. Every local replication therefore involves innovation, trial and adjustment.

‘But innovation doesn’t just happen by magic. In any case, relying on individual genius inventors working away in their sheds is not enough. Innovation needs to be scaled-up, routine and systematic. To do this, we need a conceptual framework that combines creativity with criminological rigour and practical knowhow. A framework that can help us focus on the tasks that need to be done, and come up with theoretically and practically plausible solutions customised to our local context.

‘As it happens, I’ve developed such a framework – the 5Is. This is a detailed process model of doing crime prevention, based on long experience of undertaking, evaluating and describing practical crime prevention projects. It is similar to the SARA model in problem-oriented policing, but far more detailed. In my talk I go through the 5 high-level task streams of 5Is – Intelligence, Intervention, Implementation, Involvement of people and organisations, and Impact and process evaluation, describing how you can use it to boost your powers of innovation when you are planning and delivering local crime prevention projects and services.’