Problem, Cause, Tactic or Treatment, Output and Result (PROCTOR)

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Problem Solving – PROCTOR

PROblem, Cause, Tactic or Treatment,
Output and Result (PROCTOR) is an acronym
devised to enhance the
model by emphasising the importance of analysis
throughout the problem solving process, not just in
the second phase. There is also a need to distinguish
between outputs and results. It seems unlikely that
PROCTOR will take over from SARA given its already widespread
use within the police service, but it is described here
for reference.

PROCTOR was first introduced in a Home Office report
Rocket Science? Problem-solving and crime reduction

( PDF 184
Kb), published in 2000. This report examined problem-solving
in crime reduction through questionnaires and interviews
with police forces in England and Wales. Although the
problem-solving initiatives were sourced from the police,
they were not all police-only initiatives.  Two
examples of successful problem-solving initiatives are
given below.





Result claimed

Accidental drug-related deaths involving methadone

Leakage of prescribed methadone into the illicit
drugs market

Pressure on doctors to agree changed prescribing
practices; incentives to pharmacies to provide
supervised daily methadone taking. Monitoring
of prescription practices and reminders to those
prescribing inappropriately

Reduced overall prescription of methadone, especially
the tablets most associated with deaths, increased
daily prescriptions, increased provision for supervised
drug taking in pharmacies

Reduction from 1996 high and then elimination
from 1999 of drug-related deaths involving methadone.

Disorder late at night at pizza parlours

Irritation of waiting whilst pizzas cooked: those
waiting under the influence of alcohol

Enable customers to avoid waiting around to collect
their orders after closing time when disturbances
are apt to take place

Pizza parlours install direct lines from pubs
to pizza parlours for customers to make orders

Reduced late night fast food pizza parlour troubles.

From: Examples of �successful� problem-solving,
page 12 in Not Rocket Science? Problem-solving and crime

The report identifies many sources of problem-solving
failure amongst which include:

Weaknesses in identifying the problem

  • Failure to check that a nationally identified problem
    exists locally

  • Failure to check out systematically that perceptions
    that problems exist are accurate

  • Failure to check scale of problem

Weaknesses in analysis of the problem

  • Acceptance of definition of problem at face value

  • Use of only very short-term data

  • Failure to examine the genesis of problems

Weaknesses in working out what to do

  • Short term focus

  • Failure to read relevant literature

  • Picking the solution prior to or in spite of analysis

  • Failure to plan how the measures could in practice
    be made operational

  • Failure to think through the mechanisms by which
    the measure could have its impact

  • Failure to think through needs for sustained reduction,
    specifically failure to consolidate following crackdown

Weaknesses in work with partners

  • Failure to fully involve partners

  • Insensitivity to others� agendas, styles, constraints
    or ideologies

Weaknesses in implementation

  • Narrow (normally offender) focused response

Weaknesses in lessons drawn from previous experience

  • Shortage of good evaluations

  • Uncritical transfer of responses used elsewhere

Problem-solving checklist

Even those who have adopted a problem-solving approach
need to constantly look at current working practices
to ensure the most benefits are gained from this process.
As part of their examination of problem-solving initiatives
in crime reduction, the authors of Not Rocket Science?
put together a checklist that can be used to identify
points for improvement.  Click here
to view the checklist.

Getting a copy of the report

Not Rocket Science? Problem-solving and crime reduction
by Tim Read and Nick Tilley is Paper 6 in the Home Office
Crime Reduction Research Series.  It was published
in 2000 and is available electronically at: 
PDF 184


Date added: 17 January 2002
Review date: July 2002
Originator: Crime Reduction College Information Team

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