Putting the evidence base into policing

Police officers and staff from across the country have joined forces to review academic research in a five-day "evidence base camp".

The camp is part of our work to train officers and staff about the principles of how to undertake evidence reviews.

The group examined more than 5,600 pieces of academic research and identified just over 100 useful studies within five priority areas.

The mapping techniques look at what interventions have shown to be effective in:

  • preventing or reducing theft from the person
  • supporting individuals during an acute mental health crisis
  • responding to prostitution
  • supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace
  • tackling barriers to career progression experienced by under-represented groups

The groups unveiled their findings to senior police leaders at an event in Bramshill last month, and their results will help identify where the police service can work with academics to develop new research.

Levin Wheller, Principal Research Officer at the College of Policing who led the evidence base camp, said:

"There's a real buzz around evidence-based policing at the moment and how it can help improve our efficiency in the police service. Without these delegates, it would have taken the research team up to 15 months to understand the evidence in these five priority areas for the service."

Rachel Winbow, Strategic Analyst at Dorset Police, said:

"This event has shown what can be achieved when forces work together and build on each other's work to improve the knowledge of the entire service. It is surprising how little evidence there is about what works within policing and there is now a real opportunity for all of us - officers and staff - to help build the evidence base by employing the techniques learnt at this event."

Assistant Chief Constable Phil Kay, representing the national police working group for mental health at the event, said:

"Every police officer and member of staff has a responsibility to build the evidence base, and the level of work that these delegates have delivered to understand the evidence on this important area for police work is impressive.

"In terms of next steps, I am hopeful that this group can help the national police business area work with academics to design research and fill the gaps in our knowledge, to ultimately help us deliver a better service to the public."

The findings from these mapping exercises are available on our Evidence base camp page.

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