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 Frequently asked questions

What is evidence-based policing?

Evidence-based policing is an internationally-recognised approach to making decisions around “what works” in policing. It’s about ensuring policing strategy, operations and tactics are based on the most current and best available research.

Find out more about evidence-based policing

What are the benefits of evidence-based policing?

Evidence-based policing is about testing how effective actions, approaches and strategies are, and researching emerging issues or trends to develop new approaches to how Police serve New Zealanders.

Making informed decisions will help improve Police performance, leading to increased public trust and confidence. Evidence-based policing will contribute significantly towards Police’s goals of preventing crime and victimisation, targeting and catching offenders, and delivering a more responsive police service.

What is the Evidence-Based Policing Centre?

Established in December 2017, the Evidence-Based Policing Centre is a joint research partnership between New Zealand Police, the University of Waikato, ESR, and New Zealand Police’s strategic partner, Vodafone New Zealand.
A centralised hub, the Centre enables multi-organisation collaboration on research projects designed to make a real and practical difference to frontline policing, helping make New Zealand the safest country.
Based in central Wellington, we are staffed by the Police National Evidence-Based Policing team, and researchers from ESR and the University of Waikato.
We use practitioner-based research, information, crime-science, theory and problem-solving methods to inform practice, implement measures to prevent crime and improve the allocation of police resources to better protect the public.

Police have considerable practical knowledge and collect vast amounts of data on everything – from burglary events and car crashes to incidents of domestic violence – this is shared with expert researcher collaborators to build a deeper understanding of crime.

Our work helps ensure Police understand what works, what doesn’t and what matters in making our communities safer and deploying our resources for the best outcomes possible.

Don't Police do evidence-based policing already?

The practice of using evidence in policing has always existed, where it is known and available.

What evidence-based policing does is extend what has traditionally been done by combining existing skills, knowledge, and experience of police staff with expert researchers in the social and physical sciences, providing police with evidence to help them make the right choices when on the frontline.

What will be different?

Increasingly we can expect to point to evidence that drives police actions; this will be especially evident in situations where action is not ‘intuitive’ in appearance, but has been driven by research and evaluation relevant to the situation.

Why haven't you partnered with existing government research and evaluation teams?

The Centre partners have strong existing relationships with other government agencies and research organisations and will continue to work with these partners to support evidence-based policing.

What will be the research priorities?

We will undertake research across a wide range of endeavours, with the aim of progressing evidence-based improvements to policing. Four key research themes have been established to guide our initial direction. These themes will help us focus our research on opportunities that will advance how police respond to family harm, mental distress, organised crime and making a tangible difference to the frontline.

I thought Police data was confidential, how can non-Police staff access it?

All researchers working with Police data are required to obtain security clearance and all data is tightly monitored for privacy purposes. Project proposals are rigorously reviewed to ensure the research questions are relevant and of value to New Zealand. Researchers agree to adhere to ethical and data security standards.