CPRL vice-chair and PhD student Chief Superintendent Phil Davies is being published in the forthcoming text ‘A Research Handbook on Public Management and Covid-19’ developed through a collaboration with the University of Melbourne and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG).
Phil’s chapter, which follows a similar method to his draft PhD thesis on Neighbourhood Policing models, sought to explore the response to the pandemic through the lens of complexity theory. Fieldwork was undertaken with his network of contacts in policing who, like him, had a formalized role in pandemic organisational response and recovery.
The interviews uncovered a series of hypernetworks in police and partner action – human networks where the relationships between each connection were explicit and important to the work and could be expressed algebraically. He concluded that the current police practice of contingency planning focusing on the mechanics of major incident response, rather the human network, cannot cope with conditions of great uncertainty and complexity, and that ‘people get things done anyway’ through their ability to form relationships productively. A new method for contingency planning is proposed that includes interdependency and relationship mapping. Hypernetwork theory, within the framework of complexity science, provides formalisation to such a process.