The collateral consequences of GPS-LED supervision in hot spots policing

Neil Wain, Barak Ariel*, Justice Tankebe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Hot spots policing is popular, yet little is known about officer receptivity to the tactic and its impact on internal procedural justice, organizational commitment, and self-legitimacy. The nature of the tactic means that officers must relinquish their discretionary powers so that they can be directed to crime and disorder locations at specific times and for regimented durations. This loss of ‘spatiotemporal autonomy’ is exacerbated by technological tracking devices. We examined the receptivity of British officers to hot spots patrols, where the deployment was tracked with individual GPS trackers, compared to parallel patrols without hot spots policing or tracking. In contrast to the comparison group, officers in hot spots disliked the routinization of their shifts; regimented patrols were detrimental for internal procedural justice and organizational commitment. The ramifications of the introduction of GPS-enabled systems include certain tracking of officers and their compliance, such as a Taylorist time and motion study. While hot spots policing remains an effective tactic, questions about sustainability may be raised if officers’ expectations, attitudes and receptivity are not managed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)376-390
Number of pages15
JournalPolice Practice and Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • GPS
  • Taylorism
  • Tracking
  • experiment
  • hot spots
  • implementation


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