More explicit leadership from government and better planning at local and national level for climate change impact, are two of four themes which came out of a scoping study by Principal Lecturer Dr Katja Hallenberg and Senior Lecturer Dr David Lydon in the School of Law, Policing and Social Sciences.

The internally funded study interviewed police and public sector partners and agencies within the police, local authorities, utility providers, specialist government contractors, Environment Agency, Ministry of Defence and the National Preparedness Commission.

The team analysed data at strategic, tactical, and operational levels of risk assessment on climate change preparedness. The authors revealed key recommendations under four themes which include climate change impacts, why should the police care, prioritization and preparation, as well as enabling and impeding factors, which suggest future research opportunities and areas of concern.

The participants interviewed highlighted the short-termism of the planning cycle, which has a narrow focus, and raises concerns about the state of longer-term planning and preparedness for multiple and cascading threats and consequences of climate change beyond flooding, drought, and extreme weather events.

It found a lack of awareness of climate change impacts at societal level, beyond the purely environmental consequences, and that ‘The College of Policing should review the internal and external marketing and dissemination of its 'Future Operating Environment 2040’ review report’ as there is some awareness of its existence, but knowledge of the detail is lacking.

It also said The National Police Chiefs’ Council may have a role in preparing for climate change by championing ‘policing futures’ beyond issues confined to protest, electrification of vehicle fleets and ‘greener’ estates. The authors note this will be required not only for policing moving forward, but also for partners where they are engaged in multi-agency planning and response.

The team plan to expand the study with follow-up interviews and hope to work with other local public sector organisations to tackle issues in preparing for climate change impacts.