Measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of traffic police operations: developing guidelines for a systematic monitoring of police enforcement
Keywords: Enforcement & Penalties
Submission Date: 2005
Traffic police enforcement is one of the preventative activities to reduce road crashes. A main role of traffic enforcement is seen as deterring road users from committing offences, which can be related to road crashes and injuries.
As with any activity, enforcement activities gain in effectiveness if they are problem-oriented, targeted, have specified objectives and success criteria and are monitored in terms of process and product. At present, the majority of enforcement activities are not assessed in such manner. To apply effective enforcement strategies and tactics, the enforcement activity needs to be systematically monitored. As this concerns, to a great extent, the enforcement effects, monitoring enforcement implies monitoring the actual levels of non-compliance and assessing the impact of enforcement operations on traffic behaviours and road safety.
Referring to published enforcement studies, several current ways for the measurement of enforcement activity can be found: (a) a general overview of available police resources in a country; (b) consideration of citations; (c) specific measures of enforcement intensity. As to specific measures of enforcement activity, in the speeding area, these are, for example, vehicle-hours of patrol per day, number of kilometers enforced per vehicle-hour per day, monthly numbers of site visits, the number of offenses detected per site visit. In the area of alcohol-impaired driving, along with the offence numbers, intermediate indicators are also applied, such as the total number of drivers stopped, the number of negative and positive breath-tests, the total number of hours spent by police officers on random breath testing. In Israeli studies of general enforcement, a wide range of indicators was applied aspiring to provide a comprehensive picture of activity of the National Traffic Police, such as: inputs -the application of police forces and equipment for field enforcement activity; outputs – the level of actual police presence in the field and the citations given; and efficiency indices ? the performance versus plan and resource utilization ratios.
According to the common concept of enforcement mechanism, in general, three types of information can be analyzed to evaluate the enforcement effects, i.e. data on changes in drivers? behaviour, drivers? attitudes and accidents. In this paper, a set of guidelines for a systematic monitoring of police performance is suggested that covers: the monitoring of driver behaviour through the regular use of road user surveys; systematically measuring enforcement activity and evaluating enforcement effects through the monitoring of road user behaviour and through following accident trends and accident analysis.