The policing evaluation toolkit

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About this toolkit

The policing evaluation toolkit brings together evaluation design and implementation strategies that can be used by practitioners and researchers alike to ensure evaluations are designed in such a way that strong statements of causal impact can be made.

Evaluation and evidence-based policing
Evaluation is a key component of an Evidence-Based Policing (EBP) approach in which police officers and staff create, review and use the best available evidence to inform and challenge policies, practices and decisions.  The College provides a range of resources to support people across the service to understand and use evidence-based approaches.

What is evaluation?
Evaluation is a set of methods and tools which enable officers and staff to answer the questions 'Did it work?', 'To what extent did it work?', 'Why and how did it work?' But not all evaluations are the same: the quality of design and execution matters.

Rigorous planning and execution are two of the hallmarks of effective evaluation. In this toolkit, you'll learn the methods of evaluation and how to apply them in your own context. By using this toolkit, police forces around the country will be better able to create, share and use evidence of what works, and test out new, evidence-based initiatives with a robust evaluative framework in place.

So how can the evaluation toolkit help me?

  • The toolkit provides a framework for knowing whether an intervention is effective or not, and for assessing strength of the impact.
  • Effective evaluation can save time, resources and money. By using the evaluation toolkit to test new interventions, policies or tactics locally, knowledge of effective practice can be built up and used to inform decision-making.
  • Effective evaluation guides future action; the investment of time and effort in designing and running an evaluation pays off repeatedly in better decisions about the deployment of resources for maximum public benefit.


Project review checklists

An accompanying document has been
developed to provide guidance to those reviewing project or programme specifications, or funding bids. The project review checklists aim to set out what you should be looking for in a project specification or bid to ensure that suitable plans have been made for a robust evaluation. 

Three checklists have been developed and are described below: 

The project quality checklist (PQC)

​The project quality checklist (PQC) aims to help those without research training identify whether a proposed project or programme has been designed appropriately. The checklist will help you to assess the quality of evaluation plans attached to any proposed project or programme.

The project potential checklist (PPC)

The project potential checklist (PPC) aims to help those without research training understand the potential of a project or programme to generate evidence of effectiveness. The checklist will help you assess the likelihood that the proposed project or programme can be evaluated to assess its impact.

The project quality checklist and the project potential checklist can be used together or individually, depending on need. Ideally, they would be used in tandem and in the order presented here.


The system change checklist (SCC)

​The system change checklist (SCC) aims to help those without research training understand the quality of a proposed system change project (such as the introduction of a new IT system). System change projects often lack suitable comparison and control groups. Comparisons and controls are key parts of robust evaluation design, meaning some system change programmes should be assessed against a different set of criteria.


We're keen to receive feedback from users of the toolkit to help us develop the content and ensure it is as useful as possible. If you have any comments, please get in touch with us via email: research@college.pnn.police.uk 

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