Evidence Cafés and Practitioner Cafés supported by online resources: A route to innovative training in practice based approaches

Clough, Gill; Adams, Anne and Halford, Eric (2017). Evidence Cafés and Practitioner Cafés supported by online resources: A route to innovative training in practice based approaches. European Police Science and Research Bulletin: Special Conference Edition No. 3(3) pp. 115–122.

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Current radical changes in the Police service internationally and in England and Wales are being driven by movements to adopt an Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) approach to policing. However this poses a challenge as early adopters have experienced resistance to EBP, a relatively unknown, and more importantly misunderstood approach for policing (Sherman, 2015). This resistance is not limited to police with international research highlighting implementation issues for evidence based medicine (Altman, 1996; Fairhurst & Dowrick, 1996; Murphy and Adams, 2005), evidence based management (Adams & Sasse, 1999; Rousseau, 2012), and evidence based teaching (Beista, 2007, Perry & Smart, 2007; Adams & Clough, 2015). One reason is the lack of training in EBP, which is coupled with recent concerns over the general quality of training and level of professionalism within UK police organisation (Davies et al, 1996). There have been international initiatives aimed at increasing learning around evidence based practice (Rousseau, 2012; Hall and Roussel, 2014). Some UK police forces have adopted approaches from other domains to counteract these problems (e.g. champions, enquiry visits). Mapping clear pathways that link training, experience and evidence-based practice is crucial to developing the capacity for an evidence-based workforce. This paper presents evidence from recent research that used Evidence Cafés and Practitioner Cafés connected to online resources as a route to increase understanding and awareness of evidence based practice amongst frontline police officers. Evidence Cafés are coordinated by a knowledge exchange expert with an academic and a police practitioner who facilitate the translation of research into practice. This paper presents evidence of the benefit and limitations of these events. Analytics and learning analytics of events’ online resources also provide insights into these approaches and identify triggers for increased engagement across a wide geographical context.

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