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Lawrence Sherman


Lawrence Sherman photo2 Centre for Evidence Based Crime Policy

Lawrence W. Sherman is Director of the Institute of Criminology of the University of Cambridge, where he has served as Wolfson Professor of Criminology since 2007. He is also Director of both the Jerry Lee Centre for Experimental Criminology and the Cambridge Police Executive Programme, which offers postgraduate degree and non-degree courses on evidence-based policing to police leaders and crime analysts from around the world.

His research interests are in the fields of crime prevention, evidence-based policy, restorative justice, police practices and experimental criminology. He has conducted field experiments, for example, on finding more effective ways to reduce homicide, gun violence, domestic violence, robbery, burglary, and other crime problems, in collaboration with such agencies as the Metropolitan, Northumbria and Thames Valley Police, London’s Crown Courts, HM Prisons, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Youth Justice Board of England and Wales, and the National Probation Service, as well as 30 US police agencies and the Australian Federal Police. Since 1995, he has been co-directing a program of prospective longitudinal experiments in restorative justice involving some 2500 offenders and 2000 crime victims. Since 2005, he has been developing new tools for predicting murder among offenders on probation and parole in Philadelphia, as well as randomized trials of intensive services among highest-risk offenders.

Professor Sherman has served as president of the American Society of Criminology, the International Society of Criminology, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the Academy of Experimental Criminology. He has worked on several projects of the (US) National Academy of Sciences, and as a consultant to the FBI, the (UK) Home Office and Youth Justice Board, the Swedish Ministry of Justice, the (US) National Institute of Justice, the New York City Police Department, the National Police Agency of Japan, the Korean Institute of Criminology, the Justice Ministry of Lower Saxony, and many other agencies.

The author, co-author or editor of 9 books and over 100 book chapters and journal articles, Sherman has received the American Society of Criminology's Edwin Sutherland Award, the Academy of Experimental Criminology’s Joan McCord Award, the American Sociological Association's Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Crime, Law and Deviance, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Bruce Smith Jr. Award, and the Campbell Collaboration's Robert Boruch Award. The founding co-chair of the International Jury for the Stockholm Prize in Criminology, Sherman has also received the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society for the Arts in London.



The Global Social Movement for Evidence-Based Policing: Reducing Violence by Police Self-Legitimation

Across the globe, high rates of violence appear to be correlated with low levels of police legitimacy. The explanation of this correlation may be elusive, but its implications are clear. If police and their societies can improve police legitimacy, they may be far more capable of reducing violence. Exactly how societies with high violence can achieve more police legitimacy is thus a central question for reducing global violence. One answer may be a global social movement that increases the self-legitimacy of police officers by shaping their practices on the basis of violence prevention research. Since its founding at Cambridge in 2010, the Society of Evidence-Based Policing has grown to almost 2,000 members world- wide, with police officers from countries as diverse as Argentina and Australia registered as members. The aims of the Society are scientific and professional, but their inspiration is highly moral: a quest for self-legitimation of the police based on their effectiveness in preventing harm to fellow citizens. Seen this way, evidence-based policing is thus both an end in itself, and a means to the self-legitimation of the police institution—a step that may be essential to increasing police legitimacy in high-violence societies. The best way governments can support this social movement is to make policing a middle-class profession, with higher salaries, higher educational requirements, and a global sharing of knowledge, all modelled on the medical profession.


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