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Redefining Success in Policing: Policing in America is at a turning point. For two decades the emphasis in many departments has been on relentlessly driving down reported crime rates, often using technical means, aggressive street-order maintenance tactics, and huge numbers of arrests. While effective crime control still counts, recent events have highlighted the importance of paying attention as well to means, moderating policing styles, respecting constitutional rights, eliminating bias, using no more force or coercion than necessary, and engaging effectively with communities.
In this timely paper Sparrow addresses one of the key obstacles to progress: The police profession has long used narrow definitions of success which place inordinate emphasis on a very short list of quantitative indicators--reported crime rates, arrest rates, clearance rates and response times. Police executives, he says, now need a much broader conception of the policing mission, a more expansive view of the range of community problems they can affect, and a clear understanding of the different types of work that must be integrated within one organization (functional work, process-based work, risk-based work, and crisis-response). Police executives need to become sophisticated users of a significantly broader range of indicators, and they will need some discrete frameworks to help them gauge and manage the multiple dimensions of their departments' performance.
In this paper Sparrow demonstrates how the two classes of metrics that still seem to wield the most influence in many departments--crime reduction and enforcement productivity--would utterly fail to reflect the very best performance in crime control. Real success in crime control, he says, would mean spotting emerging problems early and suppressing them before they did much harm. This performance depends on vigilance, nimbleness in response, and skill. Curiously, success of that type would not produce substantial year-to-year reductions in crime figures, because genuine and substantial reductions are available only when crime problems have first grown out of control. Neither would best practice produce enormous numbers of arrests, coercive interventions, or any other specific activity; because skill demands economy in the use of force and financial resources and rests on the production of artful and well-tailored responses rather than extensive and costly campaigns.
How to define success in a more appropriate, more comprehensive and more balanced way; and then how to measure it. That's the puzzle Sparrow tackles here. As he says in the paper:
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who recently co-chaired the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, commented:
Malcolm K. Sparrow's paper, "Measuring Performance in a Modern Police Organization" is his 4th and final paper in the current Perspectives Series, which is a product of the second "Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety," a 6-year collaboration between NIJ and HKS' Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management.
The paper is available as a free pdf here, from the National Institute of Justice, or from the Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management.
Professor Sparrow will deliver a 1-day workshop hosted by the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). This program will introduce participants to the concept of risk-based regulatory practice, and will also examine the manner of constructive interaction between professional regulators and red-tape reduction and deregulatory movements. See the ANZSOG Modern Regulator website for information and registration.
Professor Sparrow will deliver the Keynote Speech at the upcoming International Conference for Dental Regulators, to be hosted by the American Dental Association (ADA) on 16th September 2015in Boston. See the ADA conference website for details.
SMREA is a one-week executive program focusing on the distinctive strategic and managerial challenges that surround government agencies' regulatory and enforcement functions. The course will be offered (for the 29th time at Harvard) from Sunday 27th September to Friday 2nd October 2015. Professor Sparrow chairs the program, and other faculty teaching include Professors Mark H. Moore and Rob Stavins.
Here you may view Course Details & Description, download Brochures, and/or Apply Online.
Professor Sparrow will be chairing an executive program offered by the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) in October 2015.
Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance, a one week program, will be delivered In Brisbane from 18th to 23rd October, 2015.
(The next offering of the course after that will be in February 2016 in Melbourne, Victoria). Visit the ANZSOG course website for a course description, brochures, online registration, and an explanatory video.
Professor Sparrow chaired the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) 1 week executive program Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance in Coogee Bay, near Sydney, Australia. This marked the 20th time this course has been offered by ANZSOG in Australia & New Zealand since it was inaugurated in 2006. During this visit to Australia, Professor Sparrow also conducted seminars for the Queensland Department of Natural Resources & Mines; Australian Communications & Media Authority; Victoria Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation; Australian Department of Immigration & Border Protection; New South Wales Department of Trade & Investment; New South Wales Safety, Return to Work, & Support; and the Australian Capitol Territory Government.
Malcolm K. Sparrow's paper, "Managing the Boundary Between Public and Private Policing" offers a unique opportunity for police executives to explore the critical issues that arise in collaborative provision of security.
Being in some general sense "for" or "against" private security is not helpful, as such views are inadequately nuanced or sophisticated given the variety of issues at stake. The motivations of private parties will rarely, if ever, be fully aligned with public interests. As public police engage in partnerships and networked relationships involving private and not-for-profit organizations, they become less the deliverers of security and more the orchestrators of security provision. Public police need to understand clearly the motivations and capabilities of each contributor, develop an understanding of the whole system and what it provides, and do their utmost to make sure that overall provision of security squares with their public purpose.
The paper provides a decision framework that police executives can use to help navigate these issues. Executive Committee Member and Former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis commented, "Police chiefs now have to handle these issues almost every day. All of the scenarios Sparrow describes in this paper had their analogues in Boston. I think the decision framework he has laid out here provides a lot of clarity in a very complex arena."
"Managing the Boundary Between Public and Private Policing" is published as a product of the second "Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety," a collaboration of NIJ and HKS' Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management.
The paper is available as a free pdf either from the National Institute of Justice, or from the Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management.
Professor Sparrow delivered the Keynote Address at the Biennial Conference of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) held in London on September 9th-12th, 2014. The 2014 conference was hosted by the UK General Medical Council. For program details and handouts, see the IAMRA conference website.
Professor Sparrow's Conference Blog, "Risk-Based Regulation and the Sabotage of Harms" is posted by the GMC.
August 17, 2014: Washington Post: "A Medicare Scam That Just Keeps Rolling" David Fahrenthold
Professor Sparrow presented the Opening Keynote Address, which is available to AELERT members through the AELERT website.
The following brief video segments are taken from an interview taped during the conference, in which Professor Sparrow answers some specific questions about developments in regulatory practice:
(1) Why do you describe regulatory practice as a "craft"? video
A new version of the GRumbler, designed to be compatible with Macs as well as PCs, is available on "The GRumbler" page of this website. It has not been extensively tested in a Mac environment, although all macros now seem to run without problems on Mac installations of Excel 2011. Thanks to Andy Faulkner, my programming wizard friend in Maidstone, England, for his help unravelling all the curious ways in which Mac implementations of Excel misbehave.
Mac users: please let me know whether this file works for you or not, and what version of Excel your Mac is running.
The GRumbler remains compatible with Excel 2003, Excel 2007, and with both 32-bit and 64-bit installations of Excel 2010.
The GRumbler Instructions file has not been updated, as the functionality is unchanged. Please report any further compatability issues to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, and Happy GRumbling.
Professor Sparrow presented the Opening Keynote Address at a conference on financial supervision hosted by the Dutch National Bank in Amsterdam on Friday 13th December 2013. The conference was held in part to celebrate the publication of the book "Financial Supervision in the 21st Century," Kellerman, de Haan, de Vries, eds. (Springer Verlag, 2013) and to explore the challenges of risk-based supervision (regulation), particularly at the European level.
Professor Sparrow chaired the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) 1 week executive program Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance in Brisbane, Australia, and conducted seminars for New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs, Queensland's Department of Health, the New South Wales Environmental Protection Agency, Victoria's Department of Environment & Primary Industries, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and the Australian (Commonwealth) Department of Health. He also presented the Opening Keynote Address at the annual conference of the Australasian Environmental Law Enforcement and Regulators Network (AELERT), held in Melbourne on November 13th-14th, 2013.
On-line version of the Impact article, written by Robert O'Neill, is available here. Download pdf of the printed article here.
See publisher's information about the book here.
The keynote address, titled "The Art of Harm-Reduction: Lessons from the World of Regulatory Practice,” was aired via live webcast beginning at 8:30a.m. Eastern Time.
Read Ralph Nader's Letter to the President, March 18th 2013.
In February Professor Sparrow delivered a series of seminars sponsored by ANZSOG in Australia and New Zealand. Host agencies included the New Zealand Internal Revenue Department, New Zealand Commerce Commission, the Australian Clean Energy Regulator, the Australian Medicare Program, and the Victoria Environmental Protection Agency.
In January Professor Sparrow chaired a 3-day workshop/seminar for the South African Department of Trade and Industry. The visit was sponsored and hosted by the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission.
Professor Sparrow's Keynote presentation slides are available as a pdf file here. All conference presentations will also be posted in due course on the POP Center website. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
This book examines the efforts of the U.S. Coastguard, working with industry and a broad range of other agencies, to increase the security of U.S. ports in the wake of the terrorist attack of 9/11/2001. Malcolm Sparrow's analysis (Chapter 3, pages 25-54) uses an Operational Risk-Management perspective to assess what these efforts are likely to have accomplished and what work still remains to be done. His essay draws a sharp conceptual distinction between "improving security systems" and "improving security" and shows how progress on the former does not necessarily guarantee progress on the latter.
The book is available through Brookings Institution Press.
Download pdf here.
The Character of Harms is featured by ESADE, Institute of Public Governance & Management, in their March 2012 newsletter. In an accompanying essay, Professor Sparrow makes the case that the field of public management scholarship needs to take note of the sabotage of harms as an emerging professional art-form, full of promise but surely in need of development, formalization and refinement.
Extract...."Roughly half the work that governments do involves the control of harms. Law enforcement, security, intelligence and social regulatory agencies all exist primarily to protect citizens from harms of one type or another. True, they deliver services too, and the public management literature has a great deal to say about how to do service-delivery well. But their core task is to identify “bads” (hazards, risks, threats, problems, or harms) and to control them effectively, thereby making citizens safer, healthier, and more secure. Little guidance has been available to public officials on the issues peculiar to the risk-control business, even as a series of disasters (quickly dubbed “regulatory failures”) unfold. Practitioners need the field of Public Management to pay much more attention to the distinctive challenges associated with this type of work."
Read the full essay here on the ESADE website: English version, Spanish version, or Catalan version.
Professor Sparrow visited Edinburgh, Scotland, 27th February through March 9th as a guest of the Scottish EPA. He delivered workshops on "Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance" for senior regulators. Participants included environmental regulatory managers from Scotland, England & Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland; as well as representatives of several other European regulatory agencies including the Scottish Executive; Scotland Water; Scotland's Health & Safety Executive; Scotland's Food Standards Agency; Audit Scotland; Healthcare Improvement Scotland; Ayr Animal Health Office; Marine Scotland; the Isle of Man Agency for the Environment, Food and Agricutlure; and the Netherlands' Authority for Financial Markets.
Paragraph 1606 of the Health Security Act (February 2012) ("Purpose of the Health Security Act") requires: