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The effectiveness of evidence based policing

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(L-R) Dr Carly Lightowlers, Dr Aiden Sidebottom, Rachel Dyer, Stuart Kirby, Lancashire Constabulary Assistant Chief Constable Mark Bates, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham QPM, Roger Pegram, Dr Cheryl Simmill-Binning

Police and partner agencies team up with UCLan and national police research project

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has teamed up with the N8 Police Research Partnership to explore the use and effectiveness of evidence based approaches in policing.

The Assistant Chief Constable for Lancashire Constabulary Mark Bates and Mike Cunningham, Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, joined police colleagues and researchers from a number of other UK universities to share knowledge on best practice in evidence based policing at an event hosted by UCLan and run by the N8 Police Research Partnership, a collaboration of eight research-intensive universities in the North of England.

Evidence based policing uses systematic statistical analysis and other sources of data to help make effective decisions as to what approaches work best in policing. In recent years the reduction in public service budgets has put the police under significant pressure to make sure their services are based on what is proven to be the most effective. As such there is now considerable emphasis on identifying ‘what works’ in policing, bringing academics and operational police officers closer together.

In exploring the subject the UCLan gathering looked at a number of different methods that have been used. These included how the sex industry can be better researched using qualitative approaches and how the identification of repeat victims using quantitative approaches can be better understood.

We have ambitious plans with this work moving forward and look forward to how we develop our approach.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Bates said: “The challenges facing policing include a significant need to reduce vulnerability in the community and tackle ever increasing complex crime such as historic abuse, human trafficking and cyber-crime. This is against a contrast of falling budgets and increasing scrutiny and accountability. Our project in Lancashire is ground breaking in that it joins the public with policing professionals and audiences across the North West region and the N8 University partnership to ensure that policing solutions are sustainable, evaluated and effective.

“We have ambitious plans with this work moving forward and look forward to how we develop our approach.”

Professor of Policing at UCLan Stuart Kirby commented: “The feedback we received from the delegates at the workshop was really positive and we all obtained a much clearer insight as to how evidence based approaches can be integrated more effectively into policing. As well as the collaborations we made on the day, the information we obtained will be fed back into the N8 to help design future events that continue to play a part in improving policing.

“This is a quickly growing field and the facilities at UCLan allow an environment where police and academics can pass knowledge and understanding between themselves, as well as identify obstacles to progress.”

The feedback we received from the delegates at the workshop was really positive and we all obtained a much clearer insight as to how evidence based approaches can be integrated more effectively into policing.

More than 40 people attended the workshop which attracted delegates from police forces, academia, and other policing agencies. Exploring Evidenced Based Policing was part of a series of workshops aimed at developing research training and learning among police and partner agencies.  

Lyndsey Boardman | 23 March 2016