This chapter returns to the raison d'être of policing. What is policing intended to do? We assume that it is still primarily about meeting its original mission: to prevent crime and to maintain the Queen's peace, using enforcement where necessary including, in particular, the detection of offenders. Despite various efforts to reduce the range of additional problems dealt with by the police they remain the ‘agency of last resort’. Whether they should or should not be dealing with such a range of problems is not an issue for this chapter. The present reality is that in addition to crime there is a host of other issues the police are expected to deal with, such as neighbour disputes, missing children, rowdy youth, false alarms, public demonstrations, stray dogs, suicides, truancy, traffic accidents and medical emergencies. As Herman Goldstein (1990: 1), the doyen of police problem solving, put it:
Our society requires that the police deal with an incredibly broad range of troublesome situations. Handling these situations within the limitations that we place on the police is the essence of policing. It follows that efforts to improve policing should extend to and focus on the end products of policing — on the effectiveness and fairness of the police in dealing with the substantive problems that the public looks to the police to handle.