Simulation combined approach to police patrol services staffing

Motivated by the squeeze on public service expenditure, staffing is an important issue for service systems, which are required to maintain or even improve their service levels in order to meet general public demand. This paper considers Police Patrol Service Systems (PPSSs) where staffing issues are extremely serious and important because they have an impact on service costs, quality and public-safety. Police patrol service systems are of particularly interest because the demand for service exhibits large time-varying characteristics. In this case, incidents with different urgent grades have different targets of patrol officers’ immediate attendances. A new method is proposed which aims to determine appropriate staffing levels. This method starts at a refinement of the Square Root Staffing (SRS) algorithm which introduces the possibility of a delay in responding to a priority incident. Simulation of queueing systems will then be implemented to indicate modifications in shift schedules. The proposed method is proved to be effective on a test instance generated from real patrol activity records in a local police force.