Evidence-based policing

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Evidence-Based Policing (EBP) is an approach to policy making and tactical decision-making for police departments. It has its roots in the larger movement towards evidence-based practices.

Advocates of evidence-based policing emphasize the value of statistical analysis, empirical research and ideally randomized controlled trials. EBP does not dismiss more traditional drivers of police decision-making, but seeks to raise awareness and increase the application of scientific testing, targeting and tracking of police resources, especially during times of budget cuts and greater public scrutiny.

Origins[edit]

Experiments had been used in earlier decades to find better policing methods, before Lawrence Sherman first outlined a definition of "evidence-based policing" in 1998.

The Police Foundation was founded in 1970 and in 1971-72 worked with the Kansas City Police Department to carry out a landmark study on car patrols. In the early 1980s, Sherman worked with Richard Berk and the Police Foundation to carry out the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment.[1] The study showed that arresting domestic violence suspects was a deterrent against repeat offending.[2] The study had a "virtually unprecedented impact in changing then-current police practices."[3] Sherman later worked with fellow criminologist David Weisburd for a 1995 study which showed the efficacy of focusing police crime prevention resources on small hot spots of crime.[4]

In a 1998 Police Foundation "Ideas in American Policing" lecture, Sherman outlined the concept of "evidence-based policing".[5] His core idea was that police practice can be made far more effective if tactics proven to work during controlled field experiments are prioritized. Angel Cabrera later described Sherman as being the "father" of evidence-based policing.[6]

In February 2000, Sherman co-founded the Campbell Collaboration's Crime and Justice Group, which has pursued the synthesis of research evidence on the effectiveness of policing and other crime prevention practices. In 2013 Sherman established the Cambridge Centre for Evidence-Based Policing[permanent dead link] as a global police training and research consultancy service for members, and in 2017 he launched the Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing as the membership journal of the Cambridge Centre. The Journal's priority is to publish original, applied research led by "pracademic" police officers, with many articles based on master's degree theses completed under supervision of Sherman and his Cambridge colleagues, Heather Strang and Sir Denis O'Connor, by police leaders who were mid-career, part-time students in the Cambridge Police Executive Programme.

The first professional Society of Evidence-Based Policing was founded at Cambridge University in 2010, and now has some 2,000 members from mostly UK police agencies.[7] In 2013, police in collaboration with the University of Queensland established the Australian-New Zealand Society of Evidence-Based Policing, which now has over 2000 members. In 2015, both Canada,[8] and the United States established their own branches of this learned professional society. The Police Foundation provided support for the establishment of the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing, as it once did to create the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).[9]

Scope[edit]

Evidence can be used in a number of ways to support policing:

Enforcement[edit]

Policy-makers may factor in the population-wide priorities in policing action. Freedom from violent coercion[10] is associated with happier populations, which may inform the use of force, or actions that nominally enforce laws but raise levels of community violence. Law enforcement may make enforcement decisions on the basis of flow-through effects in subsequent crimes. For instance, a 2011 meta-analysis[11] drug market disruption, such as seizures of illicit goods or arrests of organised crime figures, as with drug prohibition increases levels of community violence and associated crimes. This contraindicates certain drug control strategies. And, evidence from illicit distribution/trafficking networks suggest that gang membership isn't important[12] to the flow of resources between violent, competing groups. With community outcomes in mind, this would contraindicate bans on gang membership. The use of evidence in this manner sometimes leads to law enforcement decisions that contrast with popular intuition. For instance, gang members are not prohibited from joining the United States military.

Education[edit]

Police may also share evidence about the consequences of crime as a preventative measure. For instance, politically motivated groups that use violent methods, or escalate from nonviolent to violent methods[13] are less likely to gain the compliance of governments, suggesting that terrorism is less effective than civil action. And, bank robbery typically only returns around 15,000[14] UK pounds per person.

Sentencing[edit]

Evidence can also be used in sentencing. Certainty of punishment, and therefore consistency of sentencing deters crime far[15] more effectively than the imminence or severity of punishment.

In forensics[edit]

There is a growing movement for the use of blinded procedures in lineups in which the officer who shows the photos to the witness does not know which photo is of the suspect. The use of such blinded procedures may reduce false identification of suspects.[16][17]

United Kingdom[edit]

In 2008, Sherman made EBP the core of the Police Executive Programme at Cambridge University, a part-time course of study for senior police leaders from around the world to earn a Diploma or Master’s in applied criminology. In that year, the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) funded the first international conference on EBP, which was attended by police executives from Asia, Australia, Europe and the US. Since then the conference has been held each July, with the 10th International Conference in 2017 attended by over 300 police and scholars from six continents.

In 2010, a group of UK police officers founded the Society of Evidence-Based Policing, and elected Sherman Honorary President, along with Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of the UK's Greater Manchester Police; as of 2015 the Society has over 2,800 members, including its 750-member Australia-New Zealand affiliate,[18] consisting primarily UK police officers but with membership from Australia to Argentina and North America.[19] The Society's twice-annual UK meetings have attracted over 200 attendees per meeting (including 2015), as well as press coverage.[20][21]

In 2012, the UK Home Office founded the College of Policing, which took over many of the responsibilities of the National Police Improvement Agency (formally abolished in 2013). One of the College's five strategic objectives is "identifying, developing and promoting good practice based on evidence". The College is committed to identifying and sharing with police practitioners "what works".[22] In 2013, the UK's largest police force, London's Metropolitan Police Service committed to "crime fighting based on what we know works".[23]

What Works Center For Crime Reduction Toolkit[edit]

The What Works Centre for Crime Reduction is part of a network of What Works Centres created to provide easy access to robust and comprehensive evidence to guide decision-making on public spending. The Crime Reduction Toolkit is an online tool that allows users to weigh up evidence on the impact, cost and implementation of different interventions and use this to help shape their crime reduction efforts. The What Works Centre Crime Reduction Toolkit currently includes 35 evaluations of interventions and has identified over 300 systematic reviews covering 60 different interventions.[24]

Intervention Effects Evidence
Aftercare programmes for young offenders No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease and or an increase) Strong quality
Alcohol tax and price policies A decrease in crime Strong quality
Alternative education programmes No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease and or an increase) Strong quality
CCTV Decrease in crime Strong quality
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Decrease in crime Strong quality
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Domestic Violence No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease) Strong quality
Correctional boot camps No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease and or an increase) Very strong quality
Criminal sanctions to prevent domestic violence No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease) Limited quality
Drunk driving (DWI) courts No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease) Strong quality
Drug courts A decrease in crime (but some studies suggest an increase) Very strong quality
Educational interventions to prevent relationship violence in young people No impact on crime Very strong quality
Electronic monitoring No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease) Moderate quality
Environmental design to prevent robbery No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease) Limited quality
Firearm laws Decrease in crime (but some studies suggest an increase) Strong quality
Hot spots policing Decrease in crime Very strong quality
Increased police patrols to reduce drunk driving No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease) Strong quality
Juvenile curfew laws No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease and or an increase) Moderate quality
Mass media campaigns to reduce drunk driving No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease) Limited quality
Mental health courts A decrease in crime (but some studies suggest an increase) Very strong quality
Minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease and or an increase) Limited quality
Moral Reconation Therapy Decrease in crime Strong quality
Multisystemic therapy No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease) Strong quality
Music making interventions No impact on crime Limited quality
Neighbourhood watch Decrease in crime Strong quality
Policies on hours and days of alcohol sales No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease and or an increase) Moderate quality
Restorative Justice (RJ) conferencing Decrease in crime Very strong quality
Retail tagging to prevent shop theft No impact on crime Strong quality
"Scared Straight" programmes Increase in crime Very strong quality
School-based programmes to reduce drunk driving No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease and or an increase) Moderate quality
Second responder programmes to prevent domestic abuse No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease and or an increase) Strong quality
Sobriety checkpoints Decrease in crime Very strong quality
Street lighting Decrease in crime Very strong quality
Temporary release from prison No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease) Limited quality
Training probation officers in core correctional practices Decrease in crime Strong quality
Transferring youths to the adult criminal justice system Increase in crime Limited quality
Victim Offender Mediation Decrease in crime (but some studies suggest an increase) Strong quality
Wilderness challenge programmes No impact on crime (but some studies suggest a decrease) Strong quality

United States[edit]

EBP is acknowledged by some senior police leaders as a valuable approach to improve policing.[25] The FBI Academy offers a course on EBP.[26]

EBP has become the subject of debate in research journals, deliberating the extent to which policing should be guided by experimental criminology.[27][28][29][30] But there is consensus that more needs to be done to bridge the 'translation gap' between frontline police officers and academics.[31][32][33]

Academics from the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University launched the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy in 2008.[34] Their Evidence-Based Policing Matrix records, orders and rates scientific evaluations in policing and seeks to enable police departments to access and assess existing evidence.[35]

In 2015, a group of working police officers and crime analysts formed the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing (www.americansebp.com). This organization was formed with the intent of educating police officers about the concept of EBP, advocating for the use of best available research to drive policing strategies and tactics and facilitating the creation of new research findings by connecting researchers and practitioners. Membership is open to all serving police officers, civilian staff members, researchers and academics. The first annual ASEBP conference will be held on the campus of Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona on May 22nd and 23rd, 2017 with conference attendees and panelists representing the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Australia[edit]

The Australia & New Zealand Society of Evidence Based Policing[18] (ANZSEBP) was formed in April 2013 in Brisbane, Australia. The ANZSEBP is a police practitioner-led Society.[36] The mission of the ANZSEBP is to develop, disseminate and advocate for police to use scientific research (“the evidence”) to guide best practice in all aspects of policing.

The Society comprises both full members (current, serving police officers in Australia and New Zealand) and honorary members including police staff members (non-sworn), research professionals and others who aim to make evidence-based approaches part of everyday policing in Australia and New Zealand.

The ANZSEBP held its inaugural conference at the Australian Institute of Police Management,[37] Sydney, Australia in March 2015. The Society was fortunate to secure Professor David Weisburd (George Mason University), Mr Peter Neyroud (Cambridge University), Professor Lorraine Mazerolle[38] (University of Queensland), Chief Superintendent Alex Murray West Midlands Police (Chair of the UK SEBP) and Assistant Commissioner Peter Martin[39] (Chair of the ANZ SEBP) to present at the conference. Further to that six short shot presentations were made that highlighted experiments or research throughout Australasia.

Canada[edit]

The Canadian Society of Evidence Based Policing[40] (CAN-SEBP) was launched in April 2015 in Manchester, UK, as an affiliate of the UK-based Society of Evidence Based Policing, as well as ASEBP and ANZ-SEBP. CAN-SEBP is a collaborative effort between police practitioners and academic researchers aimed at generating actionable research to inform policy, practice, education and training in the field of public safety. Partners in the Society - who maintain executive-level steering and oversight functions - include representatives from several Canadian police forces and universities. Other agencies and researchers serve as active collaborators.

CAN-SEBP's membership consists of active and retired police officers, civilian police members, applied policing researchers, graduate researchers and representatives from provincial, federal and municipal community safety groups.

CAN-SEBP's international advisory group includes: Professor David Weisburd (George Mason University), Mr Peter Neyroud (Cambridge University), Professor Lorraine Mazerolle[38] (University of Queensland), Chief Superintendent Alex Murray West Midlands Police (Chair of the UK SEBP) and Assistant Commissioner Peter Martin[39] (Chair of the ANZ SEBP).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment | Police Foundation". Policefoundation.org. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  2. ^ Sherman, Lawrence; Richard Berk (1984). "The Specific Deterrent Effects of Arrest for Spouse Assault: A Field Experiment". American Sociological Review 49(2): 261-272.
  3. ^ Buzawa, E. S. & C. G. Buzawa (1990). Domestic Violence: The Criminal Justice Response. Sage. pp. 94–99. ISBN 978-0-7619-2448-7.
  4. ^ Sherman, Lawrence; David Weisburd (1995). "General Deterrent Effects of Police Patrol in Crime ‘Hot Spots’: A Randomized Study". Justice Quarterly 12 (4): 625–648.
  5. ^ "Evidence-Based Policing - Police Foundation". Policefoundation.org. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Ángel Cabrera on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ "sebp". sebp. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Canadian Society of Evidence Based Policing". Canadian Society of Evidence Based Policing. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  9. ^ "History | Police Foundation". Policefoundation.org. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  10. ^ Bruce Levine (30 August 2013). "Societies With Little Coercion Have Little Mental Illness - Mad In America". Madinamerica.com.
  11. ^ "Effect of drug law enforcement on drug market violence: A systematic review" (PDF). Hri.global. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  12. ^ Morselli, Carlo; Paquet-Clouston, Masarah; Provost, Chloé (2017). "The independent's edge in an illegal drug distribution setting: Levitt and Venkatesh revisited". Social Networks. 51: 118. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2017.04.003.
  13. ^ "Terrorism-is-not-about-Terror". Gwern.net. 2009-04-09.
  14. ^ "Economists demonstrate exactly why bank robbery is a bad idea". Arstechnica.com. 2012-06-14.
  15. ^ "Integrating Celerity, Impulsivity, and Extralegal Sanction Threats into a Model of General Deterrence: Theory and Evidence" (PDF). Ssc.wisc.edu. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  16. ^ Dittmann M (July–August 2004). "Accuracy and the accused: Psychologists work with law enforcement on research-based improvements to crime-suspect identification". Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association. 35 (7): 74.
  17. ^ Koerner BI (July–August 2002). "Under the Microscope". Legal Affairs. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  18. ^ a b "2018 4th Annual ANZSEBP Conference". Anzsebp.com. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ Brown, David (2015-05-04). "18C outside? Then it's the perfect day for a crime". The Times. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Ideal temperature for criminals is 64 degrees Fahrenheit". Dailymailc.o.uk. 2015-05-02. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  22. ^ "College of Policing". College.police.uk. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  23. ^ "One Met Strategy 2013/17" (PDF). Metropolitan Police Service. p. 6.
  24. ^ "Crime Reduction Toolkit | College of Policing". Whatworks.college.police.uk. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  25. ^ "Being Smart on Crime With Evidence-based Policing - National Institute of Justice". National Institute of Justice. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2018-04-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ Weisburd, David; Cynthia Lum and Anthony Petrosino (2001) "Does Research Design Affect Study Outcomes in Criminal Justice?" Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences vol.578, pp 50-70.
  28. ^ Sherman, Lawrence (2013) "The Rise of Evidence-Based Policing: Targeting, Testing and Tracking." Crime and Justice vol. 42, pp. 377-431.
  29. ^ Laycock, Gloria (2012) "In support of evidence-based approaches: a response to Lum and Kennedy" Policing 2012 vol 6, pp. 324-326.
  30. ^ Lum, Cynthia; Leslie Kennedy (2012) "In support of evidence-based approaches: a rebuttal to Gloria Laycock" Policing 2012 vol 6, pp. 317-323.
  31. ^ Lum, Cynthia (2009)"Translating Police Research into Practice" Ideas in American Policing, Washington, DC: Police Foundation.
  32. ^ Neyroud Peter; David Weisburd (2014). "Transforming the police through science: some new thoughts on the controversy and challenge of translation". Translational Criminology Magazine. 6: 16–19.
  33. ^ Lum, Cynthia (2014) "Policing at a crossroads" Policing vol 8, pp. 1-4
  34. ^ "Evidence-Based Policing Matrix - Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy". Cebcp.org. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  35. ^ Lum, Cynthia; Chris Koper and Cody Telep (2011) "The Evidence-Based Policing Matrix". Journal of Experimental Criminology vol 7(1), pp. 3-26
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  37. ^ "Executive Education - Australian Institute of Police Management". Australian Institute of Police Management. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  38. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-07. Retrieved 2015-05-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^ a b "Commissioner Darren Hine - Tasmania Police". Anzsebp.com. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  40. ^ "Canadian Society of Evidence Based Policing". Canadian Society of Evidence Based Policing. Retrieved 25 April 2018.

External links[edit]