Dealing with Uncertainties in Policing Serious Crime

Dealing with Uncertainties in Policing Serious Crime. (2010). Gabriele Bammer (Ed.), ANU Press: Canberra. The book is available from the ANU Press as a free downloadable e-book or a moderately-priced hardcopy. A flyer is also available.


Brief overview

Grappling with uncertainties is at the heart of investigating serious crime. At a time when such crime is becoming more complex and resources are increasingly stretched, this book draws together research and practice perspectives to review fruitful approaches to uncertainties and to chart the way forward. Scene setting chapters describe the consequences of globalisation and the spread of sophisticated information technologies (Sue Wilkinson), as well as advances in understanding and managing uncertainty (Michael Smithson). Ways of enhancing responses from statistics (Robyn Attewell), risk analysis (Richard Jarrett and Mark Westcott) and the psychology of decision making (Mark Kebbell, Damon Muller and Kirsty Martin) follow. These are complemented by insights from law (the Hon. Tim Carmody SC), politics (the Hon. Carmen Lawrence) and business (Neil Fargher), which all have significant intersections with policing. Synthesis is provided by the four final chapters which present the outlooks of the investigating officer and investigation manager (Peter Martin), the provider of policing higher education (Tracey Green and Greg Linsdell), the capacity-building consultant (Steve Longford), and the leader of a law enforcement agency (Alastair Milroy).


Contents of Dealing with Uncertainties in Policing Serious Crime:

  1. Preliminary pages
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Preface (Simon Bronitt)
  4. Introduction (Gabriele Bammer)
  5. Setting the Scene
    1. The Modern Policing Environment (Sue Wilkinson)
    2. Understanding Uncertainty (Michael Smithson)
  6. Enhancing Accepted Approaches
    1. Can Statistics Help? (Robyn G. Attewell)
    2. Quantitative Risk (Richard Jarrett and Mark Westcott)
    3. Understanding and Managing Bias (Mark R. Kebbell, Damon A. Muller, Kirsty Martin)
  7. Insights from Adjunct Areas
    1. Criminal Law (Hon. Tim Carmody SC)
    2. Politics (Hon. Carmen Lawrence)
    3. Business (Neil Fargher)
  8. Commentaries from Practice
    1. The Investigating Officer and the Investigation Manager (Peter Martin)
    2. Higher Education in Policing (Tracey Green and Greg Linsdell)
    3. Consultancy to Build Capacity in Dealing with Uncertainty in Law Enforcement (Steve Longford)
    4. Law Enforcement Agencies which Respond to Nationally Significant Crime (Alastair M. Milroy)
  9. List of Contributors


About the editor of Dealing with Uncertainties in Policing Serious Crime

Gabriele Bammer is establishing Integration and Implementation Sciences (I2S) as a new discipline to synthesise disciplinary and stakeholder knowledge, comprehensively understand and manage unknowns and provide integrated research support for policy and practice change. She is a professor at The ANU and a research fellow at Harvard University. She is also a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security.


Reviews from the back cover of the book

Police have always known that they work in highly uncertain environments. But only recently have they begun to appreciate that understanding the nature and extent of that uncertainty can be used to improve their risk management and decision making. This landmark series of papers begins the task of formalising this field of study and setting out an agenda for improving how we think about tackling serious crime. With a good balance of scholarly and down-to-earth thinking, this book is highly recommended to academics and police practitioners alike. (Dr Grant Wardlaw, law enforcement consultant and former National Manager Intelligence, Australian Federal Police and Executive Director, Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence)

Uncertainty is an increasing concern in policing. Although it is probably no greater now than it ever was, we are certainly more aware of our lack of knowledge, our poor interpretation and handling of intelligence and the complexity of the world in which we live. These factors combine to make this a timely publication. In keeping with the current trend it takes a multidisciplinary approach to dealing with uncertainties and offers a stimulating mix of contributions from practice and theory. (Professor Gloria Laycock, Director UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, University College London)

Due to the complex and rapidly changing nature of the contemporary law enforcement environment, policing organisations are continuously challenged by uncertainty. Collaboration, such as that undertaken in development of this book, is increasingly necessary for policing organisations seeking to harness diverse views on uncertainty in policing. In bringing together both academics and practitioners, this publication makes an important contribution to understanding this significant law enforcement challenge. (Mr Tim Morris, National Manager Intelligence, Australian Federal Police)


Reviews and Commentaries

[nil at present]