Increasing Support for Evidence-Based Policing: A Complexity Theory Perspective on Organizational Change
Date of Submission
Doctor of Education
complex adaptive system, complexity leadership theory, evidence-based policing, organizational change, police culture, standard model of policing
Confidence in Canadian policing is at a critical juncture as demonstrated by public calls for increased oversight and accountability, social movements demanding police reform, political considerations to defund the police, and citizen dissatisfaction with outdated and ineffective policing strategies. This Organizational Improvement Plan focuses on a specific problem of practice that is currently being faced by many Canadian police agencies: a lack of evidence-based policing practices with specific focus on the Bluetown Police Department. Moreover, the problem of practice has led to an overreliance on reactive policing interventions that have prevented the Bluetown Police Department from achieving prescribed internal performance measures or significantly improve Bluetown’s Crime Severity Index score in more than a decade. These reactive interventions comprise the standard model of policing and involve three key activities: rapid response to calls, random patrols to deter crime, and reactive investigations. Over the past fifty years criminal justice scholars have been highly critical of this model as a stand-alone framework for reducing or preventing crime. In fact, the standard model has been described as a one-size-fits-all approach that applies generic crime reduction strategies across a community regardless of the degree of crime complexity. The current landscape of policing has become increasingly complex due to the economic and social factors impacting communities, advances in technological crimes, terrorism, organized crime, community expectations, political agendas, and most recently policing in a pandemic. These complex problems require evidence-based interventions that evaluate police policies and practices, integrate police experience, and use data and science to determine the effectiveness of crime reductions strategies.
Pearce, B. (2022). Increasing Support for Evidence-Based Policing: A Complexity Theory Perspective on Organizational Change. The Organizational Improvement Plan at Western University, 296. Retrieved from https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/oip/296