Police reform often comes under the remit of broader security sector reform (SSR). The two are increasingly promoted in post-conflict, transitional and fragile states as a means of providing a stable environment within which wider social, economic and political development can take place. Despite this, however, researchers and practitioners argue that there is very little adequate monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of security sector reform processes.
Consequently, few instances of ‘successful evaluations’ that provide examples of how to proceed with the M&E of police reform exist. Lessons can be learnt, however, from examining the challenges that faced previous evaluations. The report particularly focuses on efforts to measure social outcomes.
The research highlights key aspects for designing police reform evaluation. These include:
- Ensure that a baseline survey is undertaken at the beginning of the programme’s implementation against which evaluators can subsequently assess findings.
- Clarity and purpose: Ensure that higher level indicators are broken down into specific, measureable elements.
- Local ownership and participation: The inclusion of beneficiaries and stakeholders external to the programme in the design and conduct of evaluations is critical to their success.
- Provide adequate time and resources: Plenty of time needs to be built in for gathering evidence and reviewing the programme, particularly when the programme has a wide scope.
- Public opinion polling is a valuable M&E tool, especially for measuring the development of a population’s sense of security. Such surveys can offer quantitative ‘proof’ as to whether observed changes in one area are attributable to programme activities, through a comparison with ‘control’ areas.
- The gender dimensions of policing are an important, often overlooked, aspect. Evaluations should consider the programme’s impacts on gender roles, expectations and outcomes, including matters such as domestic violence and sexual abuse.