THE MEASUREMENT OF POLICE FORCE EFFICIENCY: AN ASSESSMENT OF U.K. HOME OFFICE POLICY
LEIGH M. DRAKE
Over the past 20 years, governments around the world have implemented strategies and targets to ensure that public services are efficient in the management of resources. In the United Kingdom this common agenda has led to the recent Police Reform Act 2002 in which consideration was given to how police forces can show value for money based on government strategic policy targets. This article presents a critique of the performance radar technique proposed by the Home Office in the United Kingdom as a new public policy objective to assess police force performance. Using an alternative and innovative nonparametric modeling strategy, the article shows that the use of the former approach can produce biased performance rankings and also demonstrate that environmental factors can have a substantial impact on the apparent efficiency of individual police forces. Finally, the results suggest that survey data (as used by the Home Office) should not be used as a basis to assess police performance. (JEL C14, L3, M2) Copyright 2005 Western Economic Association International.
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