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Home > Research & Publications > Measuring the Performance of Criminal Justice Systems > Indicators in Development: Safety and Justice > Indicators Under Development > Country-Led Indicators > Response to Crime
In the face of rising concerns about violent crime and growing demands for respectful policing in Jamaica, leaders of the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF) and Ministry of National Security (MNS) have been trying improve and then demonstrate the results of law enforcement actions.
Dissatisfied with “clearance rates” as a measure of police performance, which ignore what most police officers do most of the time (try to prevent crime through patrol and other means), a team from the JCF, MNS, and Harvard reviewed two sources of police statistics that are routinely collected but never analyzed together at management meetings:
The result was a scatter-plot that maps the location of each of the Constabulary’s 19 division’s output along two axes, one for “searches” and one for “hits.” The plot shows that some police divisions generate relatively high numbers of “hits,” while others yield fewer than a thousand such hits in the course of more than a quarter million searches. Justice officials in Jamaica and other countries debate whether searches and raids and stops without a hit have any value for policing and public safety, but they know such actions consume scarce resources and may alienate the public.
Noticing the potential of this indicator to incentivize more carefully planned police action, especially in divisions with low hit rates or troubled community relations, the Commissioner of the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF) asked that we test a revised version of the indicator in one of the five police areas in the fall of 2010. The results of this test, and the evolution of the indicator, including plans to implement it across the island, are described in a case study of indicators in development (forthcoming).
Intrigued by the findings and promising results of the work in the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP), the director of the Lagos, Nigeria State Police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) asked for support developing a measure of the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of police investigations. The director of CID was confident that investigations were being completed in a more expeditious and professional manner since he had introduced regular trainings and a new system of case review, but there was no evidence or data that could be used to generate an indicator of police performance.
Using a small sample of cases for which we could find complete dates, we learned that police investigators in 2010 required less than half as many days as they did in 2009 to send a completed homicide case to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). In 2009, 107 days elapsed on average between an arrest and the sending of a completed homicide investigation to the DPP, but only 43 days had elapsed in cases CID sent to the DPP in 2010. We are now working with CID to improve the information systems on which an indicator of the efficiency of police investigators can be regularly produced.