Theorising evidence based policing: a discourse analysis

Betts, P. R. (2021). Theorising evidence based policing: a discourse analysis. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines the rise of evidence-based policing (EBP) in the UK over the last two decades. EBP is a ‘what works’ initiative, claiming to offer benefits to policing policy and practice based on scientific research graded as ‘evidence’. EBP has exerted growing influence in British policing in parallel with attempts to 'professionalise' policing through the development of the College of Policing, imitating the medical ‘royal colleges’ model. The College is but one example of observable institutional changes occurring to take account of, and so reinforce, the EBP project.

The burgeoning hegemonic status of EBP is met with almost no challenge, despite fierce debate about ‘evidence-based policy’ in other fields. Drawing on post-structural theoretical perspectives after Foucault, this thesis reports discourse analytical research into selected EBP texts illuminating its ‘smaller practices’ to reveal relations of power, presented around story-lines, subject positionalities, and institutional modification. This thesis interrogates EBPs central claims of being a neutral, science-based producer of ‘knowledge’ as a force for ‘policing improvement’. EBP is repositioned as doing political work, sharing genealogical heritage with other socio-political projects of late modernity, particularly managerialism and neoliberalism.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Government, Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JC Political theory


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