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Mega City Policing, Homeland Security, Predictive Policing, Smart Policing and now another method which has been trying to make it it to the sun is Evidence Based Policing. These are not different variants of policing but a value add for a specific policing function and more often than not, the differentiator is the potential use of technology. The future of the policing, needless to says is the pure hard core brick and mortar policing, with communication and other soft skills, must in the Information Age and appropriate use of cutting edge technology.

Though defined in the year 1998 by Lawrence Sherman, Evidenced Based Policing has been in vogue at least since 1980s in the west. Different field trials, breaking some standardised conventional myths, have been the beginning of it. Our understanding of evidence as in criminal cases, crime figures not necessarily all comprehensive data are base bottlenecks, EBP has been facing to this day. In simple terms Evidence Based Policing is the analysis of data for a specific problem statement, generating a solution, which needs to be implemented and then documented. Research is at it’s heart.

Randomised Field Trials, RCTs, is another way of testing the efficacy before going for large scale use. This owes its origins to Clinical Medicine as is the approach of Evidence Based Policing itself. This is core method of functioning in the medical world, there is no reason why it should fail here. The core of evidence based policing is data. It should have integrity, utility, quality and the owner should have capability to integrate datapoints, datafields and finally databases, throwing results which are out of the world. A paradigm shift in policing inputs.

In the age of machine learning and artificial intelligence, data and its latent use can be the only differentiator. Understanding data as raw crime figures is outdated. EBP would now be the backbone of all policing initiatives in some form or the other. On our capability to conduct research and use it’s result proactively depends the fate of Evidence Based Policing. Mindsets need to change and ecosystem needs to develop.


Sanjay Sahay

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