Basic issues in police performance

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U.S. Dept. of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 1982 - Fiction - 203 pages
Since the complexity of police services does not lend itself to standardized performance measures, measurement techniques should be designed to inform more about what police do and how they affect their communities. This report reviews conventional police measurement practices and offers ways to improve the management value of performance information. Traditional performance measurement has emphasized the measurement of individual departments' effectiveness in preventing crime. This approach fails to consider the broad range of other police duties, citizens' expectations of police, and how police activities produce social change. Police can be evaluated in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, equity, and accountability, but citizens disagree about which of these performance criteria are the most important because community/police problems are too diverse. Instead of developing uniform, inflexible performance standards to apply globally to entire departments, evaluators should ask more detailed questions about common police processes and their results. Sketchy knowledge of how policing works now produces many hypotheses, but rarely standards worthy of emulation. Evaluators should develop better theories about police functions, obtain more reliable data, and control data collection costs with the aid of police managers so that measures inform departmental policymakers. Tables, diagrams, and 197 references are given. Appendixes include police services study data and a list of problem codes.

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