Should the police be assessed using crime statistics?


Using crime statistics as an indicator of police performance is problematic. Many variables influence increases and decreases in crime rates that cannot necessarily be attributed to police performance. This policy brief argues that crime statistics should be used for strategic, operational and tactical purposes and not necessarily to measure police performance.

About the authors

Johann Schnetler is a social science researcher and has worked at the strategic management and research component of the SAPS. He co-ordinated and facilitated all research in the SAPS and the strategic plan, annual performance plan and annual report. He is now an independent consultant.

Lizette Lancaster manages the South African Crime and Justice Information and Analysis Hub of the ISS Justice and Violence Prevention Programme. She focuses on collecting, analysing and disseminating data and information to promote evidence-based crime and violence reduction policies and strategies.

Picture: brett_robertson/Flickr

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