Assessing the appetite for Evidence Based Policing: A UK based study

Palmer, Ian, Kirby, Stuart and Phythian, Rebecca orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6423-2116 (2019) Assessing the appetite for Evidence Based Policing: A UK based study. International Journal of Police Science and Management, 21 (2). pp. 91-100. ISSN 1461-3557

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Whilst Evidence Based Policing (EBP) has emerged as a police approach in Europe, Australasia and the Americas, its level of implementation has received little scrutiny. In this study, a questionnaire completed by 625 police staff, employed by a major UK police force, examines how police employees both view and use evidence based practice. The study found that whilst the term EBP was widely recognized, its use was less apparent. The findings specifically distinguished lower ranked officers from senior police officers, as well as discriminating between warranted (sworn) officers and non-warranted (unsworn) civilian staff. It showed that lower ranking officers (Constables) were more likely to value experience over academic evidence and collaboration, whilst senior ranks were much more likely to embrace EBP principles. Further, civilian staff were less likely to view new ideas as a ‘fad’ and be more open to research experimentation and evaluation, albeit they had fewer internal avenues to pursue professional development. In summary, it is argued that to develop an environment where EBP can thrive, explicit implementation plans which consider such issues as organizational culture, are helpful.

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