Evidence-Based Policing (EBP) is a method of making decisions around “what works” in policing. It is about ensuring policing strategy, operations and tactics are based on the most current and best available research.
Rather than being guided by assumptions, tradition, convention, or subjective impressions, EBP combines the existing skills, knowledge and experience of police with research, crime science, problem-solving and testing. This is then used to guide and inform the choices of police decision-makers with approaches and tactics proven to reduce harm. EBP shows the evidence behind why, how, where and when police take specific actions.
The New Zealand Evidence-Based Policing Centre (EBPC) was established in December 2017 as a joint partnership between New Zealand Police, the University of Waikato, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), and New Zealand Police’s strategic partner, Vodafone New Zealand.
Police bring with them considerable practical knowledge and collect vast amounts of data from burglary events and car crashes to incidents of family harm and missing persons. Sharing this data with expert research collaborators enables our centre to build a deeper understanding of how to better prevent community harm and crime.
The EBPC uses practitioner-based research, data and information, crime science, theory, service design and problem-solving methods to inform police practice, implement measures to prevent crime, and improve the allocation of police resources to better protect the public, helping make New Zealand the safest country.
EBPC tests existing and proposed police practices to guide and inform the choices of decision-makers with approaches and tactics proven to reduce harm. An example of this is an evaluation of Te Pae Oranga, which is an Iwi/Māori-led alternative to prosecution that holds offenders to account and enables them to put right the harm caused by their offending.
EBP during COVID-19
During the Covid-19 pandemic, a need to collaborate and share information about what works in policing globally became extremely important.
Police staff, researchers and supporters of Evidence-Based Policing from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada came together to look at policing challenges impacting across the globe in a Covid-19 environment. More now than ever before, policing needs to be evidence-based to make strategic policy and operational decisions that are informed and underpinned by the best available evidence.
The aim of this collaboration is to share a selection of robust evidence that informed a conversation across countries on the impact of crime and social issues like family harm in the context of Covid-19.
New Zealand Police - Our Business
Be safe, feel safe
The work we produce provides police with a better understanding of what works, what doesn’t and evidence-based guidance for officers on the frontline. It is already leading to better, smarter and faster ways of working, and contributing toward meeting Police’s Goals.
SAFE HOMES Free from crime and victimisation
SAFE ROADS Preventing death and injury with our partners
SAFE COMMUNITIES People are safe wherever they live, work and visit
To ensure EBP is successful in New Zealand, we have developed a success criteria to measure our progress.
- Helps Police achieve “Our Business” goals.
- Is integrated into Police ways of working.
- Enables a culture of learning and innovation.
- Recognised for its contribution to crime science.