Evidence-based policing and self-regulation within a profession: the example of domestic violence policing

Close up of police badge

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 01 December 2016


Seminar Room 1.13, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Lawrence Sherman and Heather Strang


+61 (0)2 6125 3948

Evidence-based policing is a method of making decisions about “what works” in policing: which practices and strategies accomplish police missions most cost-effectively. In contrast to basing decisions on theory, assumptions, tradition, or convention, an evidence-based approach continuously tests hypotheses with empirical research findings. The application of research to police practice has achieved major significance in the past two decades, especially for three tasks that make up the “triple-T” (Sherman 2013) strategy of policing: targeting, testing, and tracking.

An important dimension of police research concerns the increasing focus of many police agencies on conducting their own research on topics of primary interest to the communities they serve. In the Cambridge Police Executive Programme the Master’s degree course, led by Larry and Heather, seeks to provide the kind of education and training in the conduct of research that is based on the ‘triple-T’ principles.

Lawrence and Heather will discuss two examples of the application of evidence-based policing by British police agencies to a topic of primary importance in both the United Kingdom and Australia – the policing of domestic violence. Both these examples demonstrate the virtues of ‘coalitions for a common purpose’ (Strang 2012) where successful partnerships between academics and practitioners can lead to the production of knowledge of great operational and policy value for police ‘pracademics’.

About the Speakers

Lawrence Sherman is Chair of the Police Executive Programme at Cambridge University, where he is also the Wolfson Professor and Director of the Institute of Criminology. He has conducted field research and experiments in over 30 police agencies across the US, as well as in Australia, the UK, Trinidad and India. In 1981 he led the first controlled trial in police discretion to arrest for any offence, in the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment. Since then he has worked with colleagues to conduct experiments showing the effectiveness of police patrols in high-crime hot spots, of stop and search patrols in high gun crime areas, and of covert surveillance of serious offenders recently released from prison. From 2001-2005 he directed the Justice Research Consortium-UK, which completed seven controlled experiments in police-led restorative justice in UK agencies. As Director of the Jerry Lee Centre for Experimental Criminology at Cambridge, he is in partnership with ten different police experiments underway in the UK.

Heather Strang is Director of the Police Executive Programme and Director of Research, Jerry Lee Centre for Experimental Criminology, at the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University, UK. She previously served for ten years as Director of the Centre for Restorative Justice at the Australian National University and is internationally recognised for her British and Australian experiments on restorative justice conferences as both a supplement and alternative to prosecution. In 2013 her research team published the highly cited Campbell Collaboration Systematic Review of the Effects of Restorative Justice Conferences on Offender Recidivism and Victim Satisfaction.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet