– This paper aims to take stock and to increase understanding of the opportunities and threats for policing in ten European countries in the Political, Economic, Social, Technological and Legal (PESTL) environment.
– This study is part of the large EU‐funded COMPOSITE project into organisational change. A PESTL analysis was executed to produce the environmental scan that will serve as a platform for further research into change management within the police. The findings are based on structured interviews with police officers of 17 different police forces and knowledgeable externals in ten European countries. The sampling strategy was optimized for representativeness under the binding capacity constraints defined by the COMPOSITE research budget.
– European police forces face a long list of environmental changes that can be grouped in the five PESTL clusters with a common denominator. There is also quite some overlap as to both the importance and nature of the key PESTL trends across the ten countries, suggesting convergence in Europe.
– A study of this magnitude has not been seen before in Europe, which brings new insights to the target population of police forces across Europe. Moreover, policing is an interesting field to study from the perspective of organisational change, featuring a high incidence of change in combination with a wide variety of change challenges, such as those related to identity and leadership.