Evidence Based Policing: What’s the problem?

Dr Sarah-Jane Lennie1, Mrs Jenny  Norman1

1The Open University, Milton Keynes, England


‘As current authors writing for the British Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship at The Open University, and as academics and a previous Strategic Police Researcher and an officer, we wish to critically draw attention to what we perceive as a potential ‘evidence’ gap in the current Evidence Based Policing (EBP) approach.  We will examine the current Police Education Qualification Framework and how EBP is interwoven into the curriculum through a ‘What Works’ perspective. We will highlight how the current realist/positive perspective overlooks and, worse still, diminishes the value and contribution of phenomenological and interpretivist research. We argue that to focus and value alone a realist philosophy fails to acknowledge the multiple perspectives inherent within our communities and this reductionist narrative implies a binary truth.  In doing so many issues studied via the EBP lens are often singular and excluded of context and nuance invaluable to the research of inherently sociological problems.  Without understanding the lived experience of communities and underlying motivation to behaviour we are unlikely to truly identify ‘What Work’s’ and we argue that we need to adopt a pluralist approach to police research and begin by identifying ‘What is The Problem?’.  In doing so, not only will we strengthen our problem solving approach to policing by better understanding the issues and challenges at hand, we also provide our apprentice officers with the skills to better understand their communities and foster a humanist approach to police work currently demanded by society.’


Bio to come.