Policing is a complex endeavour and the complexity associated with policing is increasing with time and leading to immense challenges. A key challenge for police agencies is how to utilise the organisations assets in the best ways to garner efficient and productive outcomes. The use of finite resources such as personnel, motor vehicles, equipment and finances, are used in one domain and at the expense of other activities. This can be referred to as the ‘opportunity costs’ associated with policing. The challenge is therefore to use these resources wisely and in ways that add value.
Police practices have increasingly become the subject of scrutiny, both internal and external of police agencies. Media and academe have focused their attentions on what police do and how they do it. Increasingly though, police agencies are critically appraising their efforts in ways which enable them to determine whether they are achieving positive results from their efforts. Increasingly, police are joining with researchers to identify the research gaps and to undertake collaborative research endeavours and further to evaluate existing practices. These approaches which challenge the conventional thinking are leading to new learnings and therefore changing positively the way that policing is undertaken.
The Australia and New Zealand Society of Evidence Based Policing (ANZSEBP) is supportive of the approach which builds new learning through research. It supports partnership approaches between policing jurisdictions and with research partners to ensure that police practice is evidence-based and consistent with the best prevailing evidence of the day.
Despite the challenges contemporary policing confront, the commitment to new knowledge and the evaluation of existing practice benefits police officers, police agencies and the communities these agencies support.
Stephen Brown Deputy Commissioner, WAPol Chair, ANZSEBP