DailyPost 766


It seems strange but true that there is a valid belief that policing remains unconnected to hard research. It is primarily being done on intuition, generally being in the reactive mode and over dependent on SOPs, procedures and processes to the exclusion of any outside research based intervention. Empirical research complimenting day to day activities does not happen and if some happens, it does not finds its way into police for it’s improvement. Herein, evidence based policing makes an entry. Evidence based policing has by now become an established system of study since Lawrence Sherman first outlined a definition of “evidence-based policing” in 1998.

The seminal work in this direction was done by The Police Foundation  in 1971-72 in Kansas City – a landmark study on car patrols, in 1980s, later carried out the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment & also by now famous 1995 study findings to focus police crime prevention resources on small hot spots of crime. These experiment / researches / studies established the utility of evidence based policing. Evidence-Based Policing (EBP) thus is ” an approach to policy making and tactical decision-making for police departments.” It is an extension of evidence-based approaches to medicine, management & policy.

Sherman emerged as the father of this school of thought and institutional support, creation of courses, associations, large numbers of Police personnel getting associated; all happening in two decades post it’s outline definition in 1998. All this was possible with researches happening and conclusively proving it’s utility and that only intuition and convention based approaches have a limited utility.

In the world both of exponential change and of criminals / adversaries being one of the best adopters of all technology, can we manage to run a police bereft of research? Evidence-Based Policing is undeniably the way forward. With Big Data, Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence adding a totally new and exponential dimension to research, learning and operations, its high time Police changes gears and integrates research into it’s strategic planning & decision making.


Sanjay Sahay


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