Selby, Helen (2018) Embedding Evidence Based Policing (EBP): A Case Study Exploring Challenges and Opportunities. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis examines the challenges and opportunities associated with embedding Evidence Based Policing (EBP) by using a case study of a single metropolitan police force. In order to achieve this aim, the thesis objectives are to examine: the sources that officers and staff draw upon to inform their decision making; how they understand EBP and research evidence; the extent to which they use research evidence; and their perceptions regarding the organisational challenges, and opportunities, to engage with, and embed EBP. A triangulation mixed methods design is used to explore this.

The thesis demonstrates the significance of role in relation to EBP and it is suggested that the heterogeneity of ‘policing’ should be more widely scrutinised by policy makers and scholars. Within the case study force, the thesis also identified variance in how the concepts of research evidence and EBP are understood, with no consistent understanding of the term. Consequently, ambiguity exists regarding the expectations of officers and staff in implementing EBP within their role. This thesis also highlights the necessity to build the capability of officers and staff in relation to EBP, in particular their skills for critical appraisal of research evidence and other knowledge sources, including professional experience. The thesis also reports that the nature of crime and demand was perceived to be changing and that the existing ‘evidence base’ was not perceived to reflect the nature of crime and demand that the police force deals with.

The thesis makes recommendations for a re-conceptualisation of EBP, to encompass a range of information sources including research evidence, with an emphasis on the importance of a shared understanding of EBP within the police force. The proposed model encompasses a range of information sources including research evidence, professional experience, organisational information, stakeholder views and national guidance. It also suggests a need to draw more heavily on public perception as an information source in police decision making. The term ‘Informed Policing’ is favoured, rather than EBP to better reflect the more inclusive conceptualisation and emphasis on the critical appraisal of knowledge sources.

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