Lost in translation? The strategic governance and application of evidence based policing in UK police forces

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Leeds

Principal Researcher

Antony Evans

Level of Research


Project Start Date

December 2019

Research Context

​This is a small scale dissertation project as part of year two of a part time MSc in Criminal Justice and Criminology due to be completed in September 2020.


To critically explore the strategic governance and application of evidence based policing (EBP) in selected police forces in the UK. This will be addressed through the following sub-aims/objectives:

  • A critical assessment of the relevant academic and professional literature to identify what is currently known about how EBP can be embedded effectively in police forces and implications for this resulting from the debate over what counts as ‘evidence’.

  • With reference to documents and interview responses, to map the structural adoption of EBP in each police force in the sample in order to identify similarities and differences in approaches.

  • To identify gaps in current knowledge with reference to good practice, challenges and other factors that may encourage, facilitate or inhibit the embedding and use of EBP at a local level.

  • To identify any implications for forces in adopting effective approaches to the practical use and governance of EBP and/or recommendations and opportunities for further research.

Research Methodology

First stage - Literature review – to:
Demonstrate clear understanding of the definitions of and expectations of the concept of EBP. Use these to formulate own understanding and definition.
Summary of research on the embedding of EBP into practice at force level, with reference to relevant national policy and practice from College of Policing.

Second stage - small scale empirical qualitative research, originally intended to be conducted through semi-structured interviews, but became a written questionnaire based survey using open questions due to issues arising from Covid-19 crisis. This involved:
A purposive sample of three police forces in England known to be engaged in and promoting EBP and therefore able to make a significant contribution to addressing the research question.

The research will aim to generate useful findings on what is working well and challenges that remain in terms of the strategic governance and embedding of EBP, with a view to this being shared with the College of Policing as well as participating forces.

Date due for completion

October 2020
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