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Governing Science

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2011
36 pages

This paper examines the underlying assumptions that policing should be evidence-based and that it is not known what works unless scientific research is taken seriously.


David Weisburd and Peter Neyroud wrote a paper suggesting that police take charge of the research agenda and govern science. It is seen that the police should align closely with the foundations of the evidence-based policing (EBP) movement. This paper examines the underlying assumptions of that broader EBP movement, as what EBP proposes requires some counterbalance and caution, particularly at this time in the development of policing. The champions of EBP propose that police should subsequently limit themselves to using only those programs that the scholarly community has been able to establish as effective. In other words, science should govern policing. EBP is the use of the best available research on the outcomes of police work to implement guidelines and evaluate agencies, units, and officers. EBP uses research to guide practice and evaluate practitioners. Reasons are presented as to why the police profession should work particularly hard to govern science. 72 endnotes

Date Published: January 1, 2011