Journal Article

Not Fit for Purpose! The (Ab-)Use of the British Crime Survey as a Performance Measure for Individual Police Forces

Martina Yvonne Feilzer

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 3, issue 2, pages 200-211
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online May 2009 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/police/pap009
Not Fit for Purpose! The (Ab-)Use of the British Crime Survey as a Performance Measure for Individual Police Forces

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This paper summarizes research exploring the use made of British Crime Survey (BCS) data in performance management of local police forces. The research responded to concerns voiced by representatives of North Wales Police over the validity and reliability of the data collated through the BCS in assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of individual police forces. In line with other public services, the police have found themselves under pressure to provide a more cost-effective, efficient and better valued service to the public. The Government attempted to achieve this goal by measuring police activity on a number of levels and setting ambitious targets for improvement. The research was based on the secondary analysis of BCS data looking at two aspects of police performance measures: perceptual measures and crime estimates. The question at the heart of this research was whether data collated through the BCS can be considered as valid and reliable indicators of local police performance. The analysis showed that the perceptual measures included in the BCS and used as performance measures are under-conceptualized, invalid, context dependent, strongly correlated with socio-demographics and unreliable.

Journal Article.  6232 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Policing

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