ABSTRACT

In 1999, the UK Home Office Police Research Group claimed in their report “Applying Economic Evaluation to Policing Activity” that there was “a growing need for the police to make resource allocation decisions transparent, to evaluate outputs and outcomes, and to demonstrate that resources are being used to generate the best returns” (Stockdale, Whitehead, & Gresham, 1999, p. v). As the researchers have alluded, it is important that a value is assigned to an agency’s inputs, outputs, and outcomes. To enable police to be able to assign a measurable value to its service delivery inputs, outputs, and outcomes, Stockdale et  al. (1999) suggested three processes. The processes referred to are determining performance indicators, costeffectiveness analysis,* and cost-benefit analysis.† These processes provide a practical framework that will make resource allocations transparent, enable outputs and outcomes to be evaluated, and demonstrate that resources are being used to generate the best returns. However, there is a limitation to this approach. An accurate economic evaluation cannot be applied to any change in the functional areas of police service delivery as it cannot take into account all of the variables that are involved in evaluating a police service, and therefore, as a consequence, an accurate measurable value cannot be assigned.