The Effectiveness of Police Expenditure
The last three chapters have examined a number of theoretical and empirical questions, such as what is the optimal provision and allocation of police services, what is the relationship between police inputs and various indicators of police output, and what factors determine the geographical variation in police expenditures? In this chapter we consider another important question, i.e. how efficiently are police protection services in fact provided? Economists will be familiar with various techniques for judging the efficiency with which resources are allocated, e.g. cost-benefit analysis (CBA), cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), planning, programming budgeting systems (PPBS) etc. In this chapter we consider how such techniques might be applied to an analysis of police service provision and the problems that confront such an application. We then consider a number of attempts to apply these techniques to the evaluation of particular aspects of law enforcement, such as methods of preventing aircraft hijacking, methods of beat-patrolling, traffic-policing etc. As yet, the application of such techniques is in its infancy. This can partly be explained by the relatively recent incursion of economists into the subject, by the complexity of some of the issues involved (e.g. the evaluation of human life and suffering) and by the often inadequate costing data that is available.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.