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Economics of Policing Special Interest Group

The lead for the Economics of Policing SIG is Richard Bent (rcbent@sfu.ca).

Richard is GLEPHA's Vice President and Chair.

Richard has been a Senior Research Associate with the Institute for Canadian Urban Research Studies (ICURS), Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, since 2009. Prior to joining ICURS he served 35 years as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in a variety of diverse roles, and ended his career in the executive ranks of the RCMP.

Richard’s research interests include mental health calls for service, policing complexity, performance management for police organizations, national security, governance, and public policy pertaining to justice and policing issues.

Richard has developed strong ties with CEAMOS at the University of Chile and Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.


The Economics of Policing field emerged as a research area in certain parts of the world in the early 2010s examining the sustainability of policing from the context of efficiency, effectiveness and equity while considering the policing role as part of the range of services contributing to the broader objective of community safety and well-being. Among the early drivers were concerns about rising costs of policing and how police services provide public value. The Police Foundation offers the following description of public value. 

"By public value, we mean the full value that a police force contributes to society across a number of measurable dimensions, including outcomes (e.g. crime rates and crime detection rates in a given area); efficiency gains (for example cost savings, better management of demand, improved productivity); impact on citizen satisfaction with the police (e.g. in survey data); and impact on public trust in, and perceived legitimacy of, the police."

Police services do not operate in isolation; therefore, research considers the services provided by the public police as a component of the broader efforts toward public safety. Research into Economics of Policing strives to understand the contemporary pressures and ever-changing demands on police services from both internal and external factors, and considers historic models of policing.  An example of recent research is the impact of persons with mental health issues on police, health, and social services, especially the prolific users of these services. The research into the Economics of Policing aims to inform police leaders, police governance bodies, governments, and the public as police services evolve to meet new demands considering the role of the public police, along with other agencies in contributing to community well-being and safety.  

Please contact Richard or post a question or information on the public discussion forum below. 



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