Re-defining evidence-based policing

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This article re-defines evidence-based policing as ‘a decision-making process which integrates the best available evidence, professional judgement and community values, preferences and circumstances’.

The article argues that this definition serves to position evidence-based policing more clearly as a research-informed, practitioner-centred, and community-oriented approach to policing practice. It moreover advances links between evidence-based policing and related concepts—such as evidence-based medicine—which, in turn, promises to address misunderstandings in (and streamline) debates about evidence-based practice across disciplinary lines. The article provides an in-depth discussion of each key element of its proposed three-pronged definition—best available evidence, professional judgement, and community values, preferences, and circumstances—through a review of ongoing discussions about evidence-based policing in the field of criminology and evolving discussions (and conceptualizations) of evidence-based practice across other disciplines. Finally, the article outlines how its proposed definition—and its three integral elements—can guide the future development of an evidence-based policing agenda.

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