Smaller is better

This blog post from the UK touches on a common theme on both sides of the Atlantic — that, somehow, bigger police forces are better, and thus consolidation will lead to improved policing. Pundits point to Ferguson to make their point, and somehow forget New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans and other big agencies with sordid recent histories. As the blog points out, the actual evidence is that smaller forces are more effective and more efficient.


5 Responses to “Smaller is better”

  1. Mark Bond Says:

    Reblogged this on e-Roll Call Magazine.

  2. Gunther Says:

    Have there been any studies that smaller police forces are more effective against organized crime, street gangs, and white collar, corporate crime?

    In the 1980s, New York Governor Hugh Carey created the New York State Organized Crime Task Force.because he got fed up with reading stories about the New York mob running wild in the entire state and the excuses given to him by the small city and county police departments and the district attorneys about why they couldn’t clean up the mob in their own local communities. Couldn’t blame the cops since they do not have the expertise and training to deal with organized crime and the district attorneys would be outspent and outsmart by the mob lawyers.

  3. Ashley Says:

    Didn’t a wise man once say that the most efficient police agencies often have 6-8 officers?

    • Gary Cordner Says:

      Yes I did hear someone say that once. Not sure about the wisdom of that source but I believe the evidence supporting the statement is clear and substantial. Gunther ‘ s observation has merit of course — very small agencies are unlikely to have all the specialized capabilities that might sometimes be needed. But something like 99.9% of policing doesn’t fit into that highly specialized category.

  4. Gunther Says:

    I never heard that saying about 6-8 cops being more efficient. I had read the book The Stalker Affair where Deputy Chief Commissioner. Stalker was asks to investigative killings of IRA members by the RUC, and he took only a tiny team of officers to help him out because he believe that a small group of cops are more efficient than having a large group of cops who might have nothing to do all day long. Sad thing was that his police career came to an end because of the RUC’s Special Branch’s backlash against him plus he got no help from the Home Secretary, the British government, the RUC Chief Constable, and from his own Chief Constable. Stalker and his team were too efficient even by good police standards which scare the RUC and even his superiors back in the UK..

    BTW, the Singapore Police have a department that deals with white collar crime and corporate crime, but they are reluctant to say how long their investigations will last due to their cases becoming more complex and lasting longer every year to bring them to a close. You can’t blame them since the individuals and corporations have been making their operations more complex in order to hide their illegal dealings.

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