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A peek into the latest policing research from the SEBP - issue 19

Space constraints mean we could only provide the briefest summaries of some interesting and important research in the 19th issue of the SEBP newsletter. These do not do the studies justice, but have hopefully piqued your curiosity enough to bring you here.

What Factors Contribute to Differential Perceptions Toward Evidence-Based Practices? An Examination of Officer Role Orientation, Job Satisfaction, Confidence, and Skill Proficiency by Tamara Kang Balzarini and Jennifer Eno Louden

Multiple studies have demonstrated that probation officers who used evidence-based practices (EBP) can successfully reduce reoffending rates. However successfully implementing EBP can be challenging and can be hindered by a number of personal and organisational factors which affect how easy to use, useful, and effective at reducing recidivism the interventions are perceived as being. This study, published in Criminal Justice and Behavior examines these factors and what can be done to increase the likelihood that officers will put the skills from these training programmes into practice. 90 adult probation officers participated in a training based on the Risk-Need-Responsivity model and Core Correctional Practices, which are interventions that have been proved to reduce reoffending. They were surveyed to determine whether the type of role they did, their job satisfaction, and confidence and skill proficiency in using EBPs predicted their perceptions regarding the EBPs’ ease of use, usefulness, and perceived success at reducing recidivism on their caseload. Regression analyses showed that officers’ doubts regarding whether using EBPs would result in a reduction of recidivism (resulting in increased public safety) is partially explained by job dissatisfaction and their role orientation. Officers with more rehabilitative and balanced orientations and who felt they were treated with organisational fairness and procedural justice were more likely to report EBP as useful to their work.

Intervention Program Dropout Among Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence: A Meta-Analysis of Correlated Variables by Olga CunhaJéssica PedrosaBárbara Silva PereiraSónia CaridadeAndreia de Castro Rodrigues, Teresa Braga 

Intimate partner violence constitutes a serious public health problem impacting millions of individuals worldwide. Domestic abuse perpetrator intervention programs are commonly used to reduce the likelihood of recidivism and safeguard victims. However these courses can have high drop-out rates. This meta-analysis, published in Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, aims to examine sociodemographic, violence-related, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and external variables related to dropout. A search was conducted across six databases, encompassing studies published between 2010 and 2022 in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Thirty studies were included. The meta-analysis found that drop out rates in those studies varied from 9% to 67%. Bivariate analysis results indicated that younger age, non-White ethnicity, unemployment, substance abuse, presenting a personality disorder, engaging in problematic leisure activities, possessing a greater criminal history, and experiencing more adversity in childhood were significantly correlated with dropout. Results from multivariate analyses revealed that younger age, presenting a personality disorder, and experiencing more adversity in childhood, were significantly associated with dropout. It concluded the most effective treatments with the fewest drop-outs were ones which used Motivational Interviewing Techniques alone, or with cognitive behavioural therapy. This technique was found to promote treatment adherence, increase attendance rates, and reduce dropout rates - however findings have to be interpreted cautiously due to the small sample size.

Effectiveness of Community-Based Programs on Aggressive Behavior Among Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis by Shan JiangYinglin ChenLin Wang

Community interventions are often used as a way of tackling aggressive behaviour in young people. However the evidence on their effectiveness remains patchy. This meta-analysis sought to address this gap by undertaking a rigorous examination of the efficacy of community-based initiatives, drawing upon robust data derived from randomized controlled trials and quasi-experiments. A thorough search was carried out on 12 electronic databases and identified 16 relevant studies involving a total of 2,585 participants. The studies covered by the analysis examined interventions which: provided behavioural skills and training for adolescents, employed a problem-solving approach to address behavioural issues, offered psychological treatment, and emphasised community supervision. It found the most effective were the ones which took place over six months or more, with shorter term ones either having transient results or actually worsening youth violence. The results indicate that community-based interventions, characterised by their multidimensional approach encompassing family oversight, peer engagement, and school involvement, were most effective, especially if they had a sound theoretical underpinning. The meta-analysis, published in Trauma, Violence, & Abuse recommended that future research needs to delve deeper into community interventions, encourage communities to assess their risks and protective factors, and tailor services to the subtle needs of children and adolescents of different ages.

Neighbourhood policing is receiving renewed attention internationally as a means of responding to a perceived legitimacy crisis in police forces globally. However, with budgets still tight in the post-Covid environment, understanding which activities are most effective and efficient in supporting confidence and legitimacy is vital. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has a framework for public engagement which has appeared increasingly unusual nationally, as forces withdraw from formal community engagement structures. Each neighbourhood policing team (NPT) in London has Dedicated Ward Officers, including at least one Police Community Support Officer; and each ward also has a ‘ward panel’. These involve a largely stable group of local residents holding regular meetings, usually chaired by a volunteer, to determine local police promises and priorities. This article looks at the workings of London’s community-driven ward panel system, to explore how volunteer-led ward panels were able to support NPTs in sometimes unexpected ways, thus contributing to confidence and legitimacy. The fieldwork took place from 2016 to 2017 and took an embedded case study approach that allowed a focus on a single borough within which individual panels could be studied. It found ward panels, unlike wider public meetings, were able to develop their own autonomous identity, establish and reach out into wider networks, and to undertake low-level problem-solving in their own right, while facilitating the demonstration of procedural justice and local guardianship. However there was a risk of certain groups being excluded, and some voices dominating, particularly the ones that agreed with the police narrative. Nevertheless, the article, published in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, concluded ward panels or their equivalents should be seriously considered as part of the armoury for delivering effective and trusted local policing.


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