Trending Topics

The science behind the badge: Jerry Ratcliffe on embracing evidence-based practices in law enforcement

A deep dive into the evolution of policing strategies through the lens of evidence-based methods, highlighting the shift toward more analytical and outcome-focused practices in law enforcement

Sponsored by

Download this week’s episode on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, Spotify or via RSS feed, and watch the video version on Police1’s YouTube channel.

The concept of evidence-based policing has increasingly become a focal point in discussions about law enforcement reform and innovation. At its core, evidence-based policing seeks to bridge the gap between scientific research and policing strategies, utilizing the best available evidence to inform, challenge and ultimately enhance the decisions, policies and practices within the law enforcement community.

This approach not only aims to improve the effectiveness of policing methods but also strives to foster a greater degree of accountability and transparency within the field. By grounding decisions in empirical evidence, the law enforcement community can more confidently address complex challenges, ranging from crime prevention to community relations, in an increasingly data-driven world.

In this episode of the Policing Matters podcast, host Jim Dudley sits down with Dr. Jerry Ratcliffe, a leading figure in the realm of evidence-based policing. With a career that began in the UK before transitioning to an academic role at Temple University, Ratcliffe brings a unique blend of practical experience and scholarly insight to the conversation. The author of “Reducing Crime: A Companion for Police Leaders” and “Evidence-Based Policing: The Basics,” and host of the Reducing Crime podcast, Ratcliffe’s perspectives shed light on the critical role of evidence-based practices in shaping the future of law enforcement, advocating for a policing model that is not only responsive but also anticipatory, driven by data and committed to continuous improvement.

About our sponsor

This episode of the Policing Matters Podcast is brought to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit

Memorable quotes

  • “Evidence-based policing is about moving away from random experience, opinion and hunches. It’s where police officers and staff create, review and use the best available evidence to inform and challenge policies, practices and decisions.”
  • “I used to tell Chuck Ramsey, the former police commissioner, ‘Look, if I find something bad, I’ll tell you. If I find something good, I’ll tell everyone.’”

Key takeaways

  1. The definition and importance of evidence-based policing: It emphasizes using the best available evidence to inform law enforcement strategies, challenging traditional practices with data-driven insights.
  2. The role of law enforcement professionals: Police officers are not just implementers but also developers of evidence-based strategies, highlighting the evolving role of policing in embracing scientific methods.
  3. Challenges in adoption: Overcoming resistance to change within the law enforcement community is a significant hurdle, necessitating a balance between experience and empirical evidence.
  4. The impact of problem-oriented policing: This strategy remains a cornerstone of effective law enforcement, focusing on addressing the root causes of problems to prevent crime.
  5. The necessity of continuous learning and adaptation: As policing faces new challenges, evidence-based practices offer a path toward more responsive, effective, and just law enforcement in the 21st century.

Rate and review the Policing Matters podcast

Enjoying the show? Please take a moment to rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. Contact the Policing Matters team at to share ideas, suggestions and feedback.

Policing Matters law enforcement podcast with host Jim Dudley features law enforcement and criminal justice experts discussing critical issues in policing