Criminal Justice Effectiveness

Improving the measurement of criminal justice across five police force areas

The current system for measuring criminal justice performance, lacks transparency, is hampered by conflicting objectives, places too much emphasis on inputs and too little on outcomes and is characterised silos between different agencies. As a result, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) struggle to access the data and levers they need in order to drive effectiveness and hold their local criminal justice system to account.

These were the conclusions of the feasibility study we carried out last year, in partnership with the Hadley Trust, to understand how performance in the criminal justice system is measured and how it could be improved through reform. Our new project will put the findings of this project into practice, working with PCCs across five police force areas to test our methodology and work in partnership to develop an objective understanding of areas with high and low performance.

What are we doing?

Our project will start by building a comparative ‘map’ of criminal justice performance across England, using publicly available performance data from criminal justice agencies and wider public services, such as health and education. This map will allow Police and Crime Commissioners to understand how performance in their police force areas compares to the national average and to similar forces in key metrics. The map will help PCCs to understand why variation might be happening, and where resources should be focused in future.

We will then work with five PCCs to explore these variations and other notable findings within the performance data. This will inform a review of current performance management processes to be published in a report which will make robust recommendations for the future.

Next Stages

In the coming weeks and months, we will:

  • Conduct fieldwork in each police force area to take a closer look at performance variations identified with Crest’s ‘map’ of performance
  • Review each area’s current mechanisms for managing local performance
  • Work collaboratively with the PCC and their partners to develop evidence-based, practical policy reforms to address variations and/or scale up successes
  • Present the findings in a short analytical/policy report
  • Share findings and learnings with all those who took part in the project

If you have insight to share or would like to know more about Crest’s work on criminal justice, please share your views by contacting a member of the project team, or by leaving a comment on the Crest blog.

The Hadley Trust aims to create opportunities for people who are disadvantaged as a result of environmental, educational or economic circumstances, or physical or other handicap, to improve their situation, either by direct financial assistance, involvement in project and support work or research into the causes of, and means to alleviate, hardship.

Crest are an independent criminal justice and policing-focused consultancy. Crest have worked for more than half of British police forces, as well as the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, to analyse, develop and communicate the strategies and insights needed to help build safer communities.


About us:

Sophie du Mont

Sophie du Mont

Strategy and Delivery Analyst

Sophie du Mont is Strategy and Insight Manager at Crest. She analyses and evaluates statistics and existing policies affecting the criminal justice system.

Manon Roberts

Manon Roberts

Policy & Research Analyst

Manon Roberts is a Policy & Research Analyst at Crest. Previous prison-based experience in family work and substance misuse means Manon has seen first-hand the effects of criminal justice policy reforms on service users and their families. She is passionate about engaging service users and gaining their perspectives to inform recommendations for positive change.

Ellie Covell

Ellie Covell

Policy Manager

Ellie Covell is a policy manager on secondment from the civil service.

Find out more about