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Okay, we’re sold. But now what? (Question asked by a police chief)

About 20 years ago, Lawrence Sherman (1998) wrote an article for the National Police Foundation in the USA that set out two important challenges:

  • For police agencies: to participate in the creation and use of high-quality research to guide the development of evidence-based policy, programs and practices.

  • For researchers: to craft scientific work that can be readily understood and used by police services.

The rationale? To learn from what the combination of science and police expertise can tell us ‘works’ (and what doesn’t) in relation to various aspects of public policing, from reducing burglaries to deterring gun violence.

Since Sherman’s famous challenge, we’ve seen the global growth of evidence-based policing (EBP) into a movement of sorts that has spawned four Societies of Evidence-Based Policing (in the UK, Canada, the USA, and Australia and New Zealand) numbering thousands of members. There are annual conferences, training seminars, books, articles, and various tools and resources to help the budding EBP practitioner. But so far, despite various attempts at laying out some general ideas and principles (see Martin, 2018), what no one has been willing to tackle is the dreaded question posed to us after nearly every presentation or training session we’ve led: ‘How do you actually do this stuff?’

In this book, we tackle this question in a practical, nuts and bolts sort of way, offering ideas and suggestions drawn from both our own research into embedding EBP and from the broader research literature.

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