Barriers and facilitators in multi-agency policing partnerships and the role of legal levers at the conceptualisation, formation and maintenance phase of these partnerships.

Mrs Margo Van Felius1, Professor  Janet Ransley1, Dr Lyndel Bates1, Dr Julianne Webster1, Dr Peter Martin1

1Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

Policing has dramatically changed since its inception. A shift from attempting to control crime to managing the risk of crime has taken place and engaging others to assist in managing that risk is progressively considered. Multi-agency policing partnerships to prevent and control crime have the capacity to be more successful than individual interventions. They are increasingly implemented, however, implementation of these partnerships and achieving partnership engagement that extends beyond a personal relationship to an organisational relationship faces many challenges. This research focusses on one type of multi-agency partnerships in particular: third-party policing. In third-party policing partnerships, the partner agencies have a regulatory framework or ‘legal levers’ available, which extend beyond those of the police. Through partnering with these agencies, the police have the potential to extend their capabilities to create a crime control or prevention capacity through accessing the legal powers of third parties.

This study aims to understand the organisational and cultural barriers and facilitators to the uptake of these partnerships, and in particular (1) explore the formal and informal support of police agencies to engage in third-party policing partnerships as a crime prevention and control strategy; (2) how they operate; (3) the knowledge, understanding and role of the legal levers in these partnerships; and (4) understanding to what extent the organisational structure, culture and frameworks facilitate or inhibit third-party policing partnership engagement.

The methodology of this research will be an international comparative case study analysis of three multi-agency policing partnerships to address crime and community problems. Findings of this study will provide and answer to how the uptake and operation of these partnerships can be improved.


After working as an economist in various government and non-government agencies in The Netherlands and Australia, Margo joined the Queensland Police Service, where she worked as a detective in child abuse, major and organised crime, Australian Crime Commission, anti-bikie taskforces, and various other squads. She left the police in 2016 to focus on her PhD for which she is  using an International comparative case study approach to  identify facilitators and barriers in multi—agency policing partnerships and the role of legal levers at various phases of the partnership. Since leaving the police, Margo has also been involved in various commercial projects with the Griffith Criminology Institute and Griffith International, such as developing and providing an investigative interviewing course on gender based violence for the Sri Lanka Police Service, the Child Protection Joint Response trial evaluation and project managed  the Integrated Response Trial/High Risk Team trial evaluation on domestic and family violence as well as worked as a data manager for the Queensland Parole System Review.


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