Evidence-based policing (EBP) is an approach to policing and policy-making where evidence is used as a primary tool in the development and enforcement of law and policy. EBP does not discount traditional policy-making approaches, but advocates of EBP encourage individuals in policing and policy-making to apply scientific testing to police enforcement activities and law-making to improve outcomes.
The main idea behind EBP is that police officers and policy-makers need knowledge and information, not just weapons and equipment. While the traditional tools, laws, procedures and protection associated with policing are necessary for police officers to perform their job effectively, tactics and strategies — derived from research and analysis — are just as important. They allow officers to make good decisions and understand what works and what doesn’t in the field. EBP focuses on knowledge and centralizes the role of crime analysis in everyday policing. For example, EBP supports the idea that circumstances affected by geography, chronology, the environment and situational factors can increase the opportunity for criminal activity. This can help police service members be proactive rather than reactive, and policy-makers can enact prudent and forward-looking laws and regulations.
As the trend toward EBP continues to gain momentum, multiple organizations focused on advocating for EBP have formed. For example, in Canada, The Canadian Society of Evidence Based Policing (CAN-SEBP), an affiliate of the UK-based Society of Evidence Based Policing, launched in April 2015 to mobilize efforts to make EBP a cornerstone of policing in Canada. CAN-SEBP is organized as a collaboration between police practitioners and academic researchers who have a shared goal of using research to guide public safety training, education, policy and practice. Membership consists of police officers, researchers, civilians and representatives from a variety of safety-focused and law-enforcement groups. Executive-level partners and other guiding collaborators at CAN-SEBP typically come from various Canadian police services and universities.
Policing is subject to high levels of scrutiny worldwide, making well-rounded education and training more important than ever. At Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier), we offer a 100% online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Policing program that is unlike any other in Canada. A wide range of theories, philosophies and topics are covered, including EBP which continues to gain momentum in the field. Other study areas include the historical, social and political contexts surrounding police response strategies; communication skills; intercultural communication; police psychology; qualitative and quantitative research methods; policing complex and diverse communities; the role of media and social media in crime; and much more. The online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Policing program at Laurier helps police officers and policy-makers develop the necessary skills needed to effectively do their job and advance in their career.
If you’ve been thinking of pursuing a policing degree and are interested in enhancing your education to support you role in the police service , now is a perfect time to explore Laurier.