Mobile Police Community Office: a vehicle for reducing crime, crime harm and enhancing police legitimacy?

Bennett, Sarah, Newman, Michael and Sydes, Michelle (2017) Mobile Police Community Office: a vehicle for reducing crime, crime harm and enhancing police legitimacy?. Journal of Experimental Criminology, . doi:10.1007/s11292-017-9302-6

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Author Bennett, Sarah
Newman, Michael
Sydes, Michelle
Title Mobile Police Community Office: a vehicle for reducing crime, crime harm and enhancing police legitimacy?
Journal name Journal of Experimental Criminology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1573-3750
Publication date 2017-01-01
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11292-017-9302-6
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Total pages 12
Place of publication New York, NY United States
Publisher Springer New York
Language eng
Formatted abstract

A key objective for police is to develop innovative and adaptive methods to efficiently maintain public safety and foster strong police–community relations. The Queensland Police Service (QPS) designed the Mobile Police Community Office (MPCO), a purpose-built van with many of the same facilities of a police station, and trained MPCO officers to engage with members of the public using principles of procedural justice. This paper reports on whether the MPCO can be a “vehicle” to reduce crime, crime impact and enhance police legitimacy in crime hot spots in Brisbane, Australia.


We matched 24 hot spots based on crime and location characteristics. Within pairs, hot spots were randomly assigned to either the existing police response or the existing response plus the MPCO for two days at prevalent crime times/days. A public survey assessing perceptions of police legitimacy was administered during deployment. Our study compared official crime counts for a period of two months pre-/post-deployment date for experimental and control hot spots. We developed a crime impact score using QPS offense level descriptions and corresponding Queensland legislation penalties as an additional efficacy measure.


We found a modest yet insignificant decrease in crime between the pre- and post-intervention period and no significant difference in crime impact scores. While some argue that hot spot policing can reduce legitimacy, we found no evidence to support this claim.


The MPCO is well received by the community and further research is needed to better understand its potential deterrent effect on crime.
Keyword Crime impact score
Crime reduction
Evidence-based policing
Police legitimacy
Hot spots
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Currently available online

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Social Science Publications
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Created: Wed, 13 Sep 2017, 14:30:34 EST by Sarah Bennett on behalf of School of Social Science