Like many public service organisations, the police do not operate in a vacuum. They collaborate with other public sector workers from a variety of agencies on a regular basis in the course of fulfilling their duties. These could be from education services, health, probation, social services, environmental services or other emergency services such as the fire service. This list is by no means exhaustive. The police also work with members of the private sector (such as social landlords), local government officers and representatives from the voluntary sector (such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). Increasingly, policing is a complex task, performed in myriad ways with multiple service providers in many diverse locations. As Bittner said (nearly 50 years ago), policing ‘appears to be a solution to an unknown problem arrived at by unknown means’ (1967: 701). Policing is not quantifiable as a series of tasks (Wright 2002), and thus police officers and staff find themselves working far beyond a simplistic conception of ‘crime control’. The police are often the first port of call for people in distress, and finding a suitable remedy for these situations might require the skills and resources of many agencies. Thus it is imperative that the police build and maintain good working relationships with their ‘partner’ agencies, to either hand over the case to the most appropriate agency or to help design and implement a long-term problem-solving strategy (and many options in between). This not only makes practical sense from a police point of view, but is in fact the reality for a modern policing organisation which is accountable to its citizens and works in a community policing context. However, this is of course more easily said than done.