Historically, legislators and police officials have evaluated police effectiveness using known police measures such as crime rates and clearance rates. Indeed, the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) were created particularly for this reason in the early 1900s. However, it is now understood that these types of measures alone are not sufficient to evaluate officer success because they do not take into account many other factors that may affect the rate at which officers arrest suspects or determine whether suspects should be charged. For example, officers' efforts may be hindered by crimes that are not reported to police agencies nor recorded in the UCR. They may also avoid certain areas of town where there are likely to be problems with crime or violence.
In recent years, law enforcement agencies have begun to collect data on a variety of factors that may influence an officer's decision to make an arrest. This includes data on arrests made by officers who work within their departments but are from other agencies; this type of arrest is referred to as "cross-trained" arrests. Officers may decide not to make an arrest if they believe doing so would be inappropriate under the circumstances. Finally, agencies may record incidents in which no arrest is made even though evidence exists to support one; officers may lack probable cause or may choose not to file charges for administrative reasons.
Crime rates, the number of arrests and penalties issued, clearance rates, and call for service response time are all frequent direct measurements of police success. Surveys, direct observations of social behavior, situational studies, and independent testing are all examples of indirect measurements of police performance. Crime statistics are collected by law enforcement agencies across the country.
Basis for determination: Police efficiency is determined by measuring crime rates, the number of arrests and penalties issued, clearance rates, and call for service response times. Survey data on public perceptions of policing also play a role in evaluating officer effectiveness.
Police departments use many different strategies to increase traffic ticket and conviction rates including plain-clothes officers targeting specific types of drivers with special equipment, such as radar detectors, undercover vehicles, and GPS tracking devices. These strategies can be effective tools for increasing compliance with traffic laws.
Clearance rates are measures of how quickly officers can respond to calls for assistance. Response time is one measure of police efficiency that includes both officer arrival at the scene of the crime and departure after making an arrest. Short response times are important because they allow officers to prevent or reduce the severity of crimes before they happen.
Call volumes vary significantly from department to department, but on average, cities see about 100 crime scenes per year. This means that officers must make decisions very quickly in order to accurately assess and address crime trends throughout the city.
Despite the fact that variables well beyond a police agency's control can have a significant impact on crime in a specific neighborhood, crime rates tend to be the go-to indicator for departments to assess performance...
Since crime rates are so sensitive to changes in local conditions, they're not a very reliable way to judge the quality of law enforcement services. For example, two cities may have similar crime rates, but one might have a strong police force and effective policing practices while the other has an understaffed department that works with fewer resources.
Furthermore, because crime rates are influenced by many factors outside of police agencies' control, such as the number of tourists in a city, the health of the local economy, and the prevalence of drug trafficking organizations, it is difficult to attribute changes in crime levels to specific police initiatives. For example, if crime rates rise after a police officer uses deadly force, then it could be due to something more than just the presence of officers on the street; perhaps there was a change in the culture of policing resulting from this incident. But without further evidence, it would be hard to know for sure.
Overall, crime rates are a useful tool for comparing the amount of violence being committed in different neighborhoods, but they should not be used to judge individual departments' performance.
Officer Performance Evaluation Reductions in the number of significant crimes recorded are most typically given as local comparisons to the previous time period. Rates of Clearance Time to response Productivity in law enforcement (number of arrests, citations, stop-and-search frisks, etc.) Per capita crime statistics are also used to measure success.
These and other measures are used by police departments to assess their own performance as well as that of others. The accuracy and reliability of these assessments depend on how crimes are defined and reported, how clearances are calculated, and many other factors. Also important is the availability of resources such as staff and equipment. For example, a small department with few officers may be able to reduce clearance times by working cases together. Large departments with little accountability for their officers may have problems assessing their performance accurately since they do not know what tasks each officer is responsible for performing.
In addition to these internal evaluations, departments often receive objective data about their crime rates and other factors via the National Crime Statistics Program from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These reports provide information on a national level that can help guide decisions about resource allocation within the department as well as with other agencies or jurisdictions.
Finally, departments may choose to hire independent contractors to perform these assessments. This allows them to use experts in different areas to make sure that all aspects of policing are being considered when making decisions about clearance times, arrest rates, etc.
According to Shah, researchers discovered that CompStat and comparable tools may assess community policing in addition to crime, such as by tracking complaints against police, use of force, and fear of crime. They also examine whether these activities are associated with changes in crime rates.
Community policing involves activities designed to build trust between the police department and the public. These activities include: patrolling neighborhoods, responding to crimes in progress, making traffic stops, and performing other duties as assigned. Community policing can also involve efforts to reduce crime by providing programs or services to at-risk people or groups.
In order to measure community policing, researchers often look at how much time officers spend on these activities. For example, one study found that officers who participated in a training program that included components related to community policing spent more time working with community organizations than officers who did not participate in the program. The authors of this study concluded that this increase in time spent working with communities was likely due to the training program helping officers identify opportunities to work with community organizations.
Another way researchers measure community policing is by asking officers about their experiences with this activity. If so, they would record an "yes" or "no" answer for each opportunity they discussed.