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‘We can read and write you know!’ Selling the idea of research Professor Jenny Fleming University of Southampton/Institute of Criminal Justice Research.

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Presentation on theme: "‘We can read and write you know!’ Selling the idea of research Professor Jenny Fleming University of Southampton/Institute of Criminal Justice Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘We can read and write you know!’ Selling the idea of research Professor Jenny Fleming University of Southampton/Institute of Criminal Justice Research SIPR-GMU Symposium, Scotland 2014


3 Focus Groups Ryton Pilot Sussex Northern Ireland Scotland Hampshire May – July 2014 All ranks (where possible)

4 Questions What do you understand by evidence-based policing? How would you characterise the attitude/approach of your force to the use of research evidence in decision-making? What do you see as the greatest challenges in engaging with research evidence and adopting evidence based policing in practice? In encouraging greater engagement with research, what type of programme/training might be most useful and who should it be aimed at? Do you see a role for such a professional development programme in your force and how would it fit with existing provision (if any) in this area? What would the key ingredients be to ensure such a programme/training made a difference (is it about content, delivery, context for example)? Who is key to making this happen? To translate these ideas into practice?

5 Presentation Outline Participants/Process Coding Themes understanding of EBP awareness of evaluation challenges culture resources/capacity time Concluding thoughts

6 What do you understand by EBP? When I received the email for this it was the first time I’d heard the term mentioned here … (Ins) …its probably a new buzz term for a lot of what we’ve been doing informally for years (Ins)..this is the College reinventing an old concept and giving it a 2015 feel …(Ins) …difficult to say if its something you are already doing … maybe I do know, I just don’t know it by that term (Ins) Don’t you mean intelligence-led? (Ins) Evidence based policing, is that based on statistics? (Ins)

7 What do you understand by EBP? I understand it in two ways – as an application of an empirical basis for police practice and approaches and …. the latest generation of fads (ACC1) … one that’s had evaluation and is subject to evaluation and updating (Ins) … a philosophy of the College which basically states if you are going to utilize expensive public resources you should be using ways which are likely to achieve success rather than relying on instinctive ways of doing things … (ACC2)

8 What do you understand by EBP? I think its actually a realisation that there are some practices and initiatives … that are proven to work through very rigorous scrutiny, rigorous examination by academics and then we apply those to how we are going to operate in the future … we’ve got to do more with less [and] be more effective with what we’re doing rather than trying the same old things over and over again (Ins) A mixture of academic research and practical application and then a mixture of the two to providing recommendations of how best to approach and problem solve a particular thing (Ins)

9 What do you understand by EBP? A mixture of academic research and practical application and then a mixture of the two to providing recommendations of how best to approach and problem solve a particular thing (Ins) Or is part of SARA? The A at the end is for analysis to see if it works... we do the S, A and R rather than the assessing bit … [to see] if it does work and [we are] doing it properly (Ins)

10 What do you understand by EBP? To build an evidence base it needs to have an evaluation at the end … a lot of people will say that what they’ve implemented has been a great success but they don’t have sustainability and rely too heavily on individuals driving it, when they leave, it either fails or you start to see the weaknesses in it. EBP for me is one that’s had evaluation and is subject to evaluation and updating (Ins) We can’t keep doing all the same things because we haven't got the resources, EBP is our opportunity – it should be able to tell us which things we can stop doing without crime going up (Ins)

11 Evaluation Most police officers are not good at doing evaluations because we’re not trained in statistical analysis techniques etc. etc. What we’re trained at is, you’ve been asked to go and do something, go and deliver it, we don’t try and analyse it, we’re hopeless at it (Ins) That goes back to the evaluation thing, once the problem’s solved we move on we don’t look back at why that worked (Ins) No one is going to tolerate a culture of failure (Ins) All pilots are successful there’s never been a pilot failed in the legacy of ….(Div. Commander) Our stuff is always ‘doomed to success’ (Ins)

12 Evaluation I think as an organisation we don’t reward proper evaluation either, if you’re gonna do a pilot the person who takes it on is someone who is enthusiastic and normally wants promotion and you don’t get any brownie points at all by going to a board and saying ‘I ran this pilot and it didn’t work and these are the reasons. It’s always successful and I can’t remember any pilot in XXX Constabulary that wasn’t successful, everything we do always works (Ins)

13 Evaluation We’re good at one element of EBP – the operational bit but the bit that is missing is that academic bit, the research part … because something works we just apply it … and you know the reality of it is, different places, different demographics require different tactics and approaches but [we need to get] beneath the surface to say there is a correlation between stop searching and a reduction in crime [but] we’ve never drilled into that (Div. Commander)

14 Evaluation I am a Chief Inspector. I should be stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, but I haven’t got time for the evaluation side and actually I don’t really know where to start, how am I going to evaluate if that works because that wasn’t the only thing I was doing? You get to the end of it and you think ok, we locked somebody up, great, let’s move onto something else (Chief Ins) I’ve no seen any evaluation of anything and it’s very much needed, it’s knee-jerking and when they kneejerk at the top I can assure you the pressure that’s put upon us to provide solutions and good news stories, it’s quite significant that pressure, we’re getting it at the moment (Div. Commander)

15 Evaluation M: I would be interested, but you would ask me I’m guessing to record everything that we’re doing by spreadsheet or whatever, that’s when my interest would wane. F: We would love you to give us the plate with the answer on it. M: I don’t think we’re that far off. M: I think in an ideal world to have a bit of evaluation in what we do, even something simple, half an hour run through of what we did, if you got on top of things to do that or had training or focus on how to evaluate, just learn basic principles, it might attract cynicism in first place but in the longer term you might not spend so much time and waste resources on things that don’t work.

16 Evaluation We make assumptions, if we introduce a new tactic and there’s a significant reduction in violent crime, we automatically assume its because of the new tactic without digging in to find out if it did make a difference and what it was about it that made a difference … lets take it apart and … see if it made a difference, if that was the actual cause or if it was some other profile or demographic or whatever that could have impacted and might have happened anyway … we just take the credit and that’s a problem (Div. Commander)

17 Culture as challenge I think the challenges are exclusively cultural - not only in the 'we know best' mode of police. But also in that police often have a negative view of academics and are dismissive of their attempts to come and advise. There has been stuff written about the relationship between academics and police as you probably know (ACC1) Police are task A focused - they are not good at reflecting and theorizing - they just want to get the job done (ACC2)

18 Culture as challenge We will need to address [culture] incrementally - cultural weaning is always a challenge but not insurmountable (ACC1) So we’ve got to get a change of culture from ACPO and when that starts to filter down the ranks to say ok we’ll give you some capacity to do this and if it doesn’t work you won’t be crucified and if it does and has been rigorously evaluated then go for it (Ins) When we talk about evidence based policing, that is one of the challenges because I think a lot of people will say the point of [EBP] is that it will build capacity because you’ll become a more efficient organisation but coming to where we are now to there, where it’s kind of engrained will be a cultural challenge (Ins)

19 Capacity as challenge We’d create a PIE plan, protection, intelligence and enforcement, throw out some resources for patrol, check what the analysts were doing to identify the MO … there’d be no other work or research because the commanders on the ground aren’t given the capacity to do that (Div. Commander)

20 Capacity as Opportunity/Challenge On October 6 th our new district structures kick into place, so you’ve got neighbourhood Chief Inspectors, … are going to be owning a lot of the longer term crime and disorder problems, so they’re the ones who are going to take the greatest interest in what works, what doesn’t work, how do I deploy resources effectively … so we’ve got an opportunity going forward where you could really sell evidence based policing but there has to be that recognition at senior level, ACPO, to say we will afford those people some of the opportunities to engage in evidence based policing, train them and obviously allow us to try and set up the projects to address the problems and have the resources to fully evaluate – without that capacity …..nothing is going to happen (Ins)

21 Capacity as opportunity We’ve cut so much money out of policing, when are we going to start stop doing things? We can’t keep doing all the same things because we haven’t got the resources to do it but evidence based policing is our opportunity to take it because that will be, should be, able to tell us which things we can stop doing without crime going up or causing harms to communities (Ins)

22 Time as challenge But again it’s time, resources, allocating a couple of days to suit, this is how you do evidence based policing, then you do it, you don’t sit there watching it, you’re involved in it and it takes time we haven’t really got (Ins) It’ll end up being E-learning – not something that we keep tabs on very well traditionally – no time to do it – no time to sign off on it (Ins)

23 Time as challenge The challenge though is to turn it into our everyday business and I don’t think we can go from where we are now to there without some sort of support. Some sort of toolkit if you like, how do I use academic research, do I generate academic research to solve the problem in relation to domestic abuse? Well if you were going to do that today that’s a hell of a lot of work, a lot of consultation with people, with academics, and actually I ain’t got time to do that (Ins) If I was to buy into this I would need to know the benefits of that to my time because I have bigger things that need to be fixed (Ins)

24 Training … because people do learn differently, there needs to be some science put in behind it to make sure you capture everybody. I do think there should be one to one and group sessions in line with divisions (Ins) A practical approach would be to take advantage of our briefing cycle and start the day off every single day and engrain it into that process. So, the briefing isn’t just about what happened in the last 24 hours and the next 24 hours, there is also a training segment within that and you deliver those messages in a sophisticated manner through that process. I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently because I’ve got to think how to get people to be omnicompetent (Ins)

25 Training There’s probably about eight training days a year, they’re not utilised they are used just to supplement shifts (Ins) In the first instance I think we would bring together some of our training people, our Chief Constable, myself and … to look at it and consider its wider utility - we would then think beyond that to whether or not it should be rolled out and to who (ACC2) In terms of the size of this organisation now and the geography of the country, to drag people down to a central point for training, I don’t think would be welcomed and it would restrict access to a lot of areas, you’d get lots of people coming from the central belt and that would be it, so think about an online solution (Div. Commander)

26 Training You could even have sessions at the Universities and say this is a four hour input but guess what the job will give you four hours back. So rather than having to do it on a training day and set this aside, we know there’s demands on responding, so you could say there’s a three hour session and we’ll give you four hours back, the job will give you four hours back, cause we do have time in lieu, there’s loads of opportunities (Ins)

27 Training It’s a bit of a blunt instrument if you’re going to deliver that to everybody, you want people who are motivated to use it or it’s specific to their role (Ins) I think it should be more role specific, there’s no point training an Inspector who’s on tactical stuff like a TSG, their role doesn’t require it but neighbourhood Inspector or commander, their role requires that sort of approach, that would be my approach (Ins)

28 Concluding thoughts The recognition of practice – how do we build in internal planning and evaluation practices? The policy context - is evidence use aligned with organisational values and culture? The practice context – do practitioners have the skills and autonomy to implement findings? What support is there for evidence-based change?

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