January 2011
Publication:
National Institute of Justice

In this paper Sparrow critiques the claims of the Evidence-Based Policy movement, and Evidence-Based Policing in particular, and urges practitioners to appreciate and embrace a broader range of scientific and analytical contributions from academia. The paper contrasts the modes of inquiry employed within the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences, and concludes the police profession needs to pursue a lot more of the former, and that the claims of social science and criminology to be the arbiters of “what works in crime control” should be moderated through a broader appreciation of diverse investigative, analytic, inquiry, and intelligence techniques more closely aligned with the practical and operational demands of the police profession.  This paper has relevance to many professions beyond policing, and should appeal to scholars and practitioners interested to understand the contribution and limitations of the broader evidence-based policy movement.