We improve our clients’ influence – building and delivering effective marketing and communications strategies, crafting compelling narratives, designing successful brands and helping our clients communicate change. 


We provide fresh insight – analysing and implementing the best evidence about what works well to cut crime and providing the tools to measure the performance of each part of the criminal justice system.


We provide the strategic and technical know-how to enable clients to turn insight into practice and deliver tangible change, even when there is less money available.

News and views

After 27 years, sorry is still the hardest word

As the week has unfolded journalists, commentators and families of those that have fought for justice since the tragic events of April 1989 have managed to find words to describe the indescribable. On Tuesday 26th April 2016 a fairly inconspicuous glass building in Warrington was the incongruous home to the Hillsborough inquest rulings that vindicated, emphatically, the families’ 27 year fight for justice

Why the rise in recorded violence matters

Today’s crime statistics show overall crime continuing to fall - down by a further 7 per cent - as measured by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). Despite the continuing omission of online crimes from the survey (which the ONS promise will eventually be addressed), there is little doubt that we are safer overall than we were 20 years ago, with crimes in nearly all categories continuing their historical downward trend. Moreover, public concern about crime has fallen to its lowest level in 25 years.

Breaking and entering public consciousness

Alarms. Dogs. Lights. Nosey neighbours. PR agencies have for years suggested different ways to scare off burglars in order to drum up business for their clients in security and insurance. Now the Home Office is having a go, hoping to market to a sceptical public one of its products as the latest scourge of the housebreaker. Introducing all new Police and Crime Commissioner elections…

Would you take advice from Abraham Lincoln?

Communications advisers who not only know how to deal with the inevitable issues and pitfalls but an agency that can spot them at a thousand paces and put in place a plan to deal with them before anyone else has finished their morning coffee.

Crest is recruiting

Crest is looking for a Policy Analyst to join its Strategy and Insight Team. Click on 'Crest is Recruiting' to find out more and get in touch.

The referendum debate: safer in or out?

On Sunday, the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, opened up a new flank in the ‘Brexit’ argument: that staying in the European Union (EU) would leave us vulnerable to Paris-style terrorist attacks. This followed several days of briefing from Number Ten and other cabinet ministers that the UK would be both ‘safer and stronger’ staying in the EU.

And the fact of the matter is…

Jon Clements, Director of Communications and Campaigns, on why mastering your data leads to better communications. Earlier this month the New York Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton, announced that his officers were going to stop people sleeping on the city’s subway system. Not rough sleeping, just sleeping – tired shift workers, exhausted parents dozing on the way home etc. It was a crime prevention measure, he said. It was an unusual enough move to make waves on this side of the Atlantic.

HMP Spin

Devising a ‘handling strategy’, particularly for a prime ministerial announcement is a test of anyone’s mettle. It stretches relations between journalist and adviser, and calls for a large amount of trust and a certain amount of luck. Like a complicated dessert recipe, its success relies on timing and the quality of the ingredients, and if you get it right you’ll be rewarded with the most delicious result.

A twenty year sentence – policy behind Cameron’s prison speech

Monday’s speech on prisons by David Cameron is a significant event in and of itself coming as it does two decades on from the last time a Prime Minister gave an address on this subject. Ever since a young Tony Blair tore into Ken Clarke for being ‘soft’ on crime, the subject of ‘prison reform’ has rarely been thought to be a vote winner...

If strategy is God, the Devil is still in the detail

The photocopied leaflet came through my letter box on Sunday morning. An appeal from my local police for witnesses to a rape committed half a mile away on New Year’s Day. The following thoughts went through my mind...

Why we need a different discussion about crime

Yesterday the latest set of crime figures were published, triggering a well established and familiar process. First out of the traps are the Home Office, publishing a press release welcoming the figures and heralding the success of the government’s programme of ‘police reform’/ ‘investment’ [delete as appropriate]. Soon afterwards follows Her Majesty’s opposition (who to be fair, have had 24 hours’ less time to prepare for the figures than the government).

How low will Gove go?

The Times splash yesterday on Michael Gove’s plans to review sentencing paints a picture of an ambitious and confident Justice Secretary, willing to make tough (and potentially unpopular) decisions for the long-term good of the criminal justice system. Could devolution solve Gove's conundrum - how to meet the costs of a rising prison population alongside finding £600m worth of additional savings by 2019?

Police cuts: no further action?

Mark Sedwill, the Home Office Permanent Secretary, took the stage at the first Police Chiefs and PCC Conference in Manchester just after George Osborne sat down having delivered the Spending Review and Autumn Statement. The timing could not have been better: PCCs and Chiefs were ‘getting up from the floor’ following the Chancellor’s announcement that police spending will be protected in real terms ‘when local precept income is taken into account’.

Getting tough on the causes of crime

As the fallout from the Paris attacks continues, the debate about police cuts has shot back up the political agenda, having barely featured during the General Election campaign. According to the Resolution Foundation, the Home Office is set to be one of five ‘big losers’ from the Spending Review, facing cuts of 30 per cent or more. Applying reductions on that scale to the Home Office’s budget would probably result in police officer numbers falling to levels last seen in the 1970s.

The Batman and Robin of criminal justice

Batman and Robin, Ant and Dec, Torville and Dean, Ben and Jerry, Thelma and Louise. Great partnership working makes it all look so easy. If only it was so easy for the rest of us. Partnership working is, normally, not that interesting. And so, the latest inspection of local criminal justice partnerships, ‘Working in Step?’, was pushed off the front-page by stop and search and President Xi’s visit.

Latest crime statistics: what the headlines aren’t telling you

Today’s figures should not be over-interpreted. We are still safer than we were twenty years ago. But the shift of crime online and the rise in complex violent offences is putting the criminal justice system under considerable pressure.

What to expect for policing and justice in the Spending Review

George Osborne’s Budget won him praise from across the political spectrum. Besides the positive headlines, the Chancellor also bought some important wriggle room, by smoothing the path of deficit reduction over the course of this parliament. Yet he has still left himself much to do in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

Cutting crime: the role of tagging in offender management

On any one day up to 25,000 people are subject to electronic monitoring (EM) in England and Wales, largely as part of a Community Order, Bail Order or post-release licence condition. In the last few years pilots have also been undertaken to test the impact of EM in tackling domestic violence, alcohol-related offending and prolific and priority offenders.

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