R. Mark Evans
Inducted June 2022
Nominated by Lorraine Mazerolle, University of Queensland
Mark Evans is a Deputy Chief Executive with Ngā Pirihimana Aotearoa, the New Zealand Police, where he has served since 2011. He has held a wide range of positions in the New Zealand Police, including ministerial services, policy, strategy, service delivery, prevention, transformation, insights, deployment, and road policing. In 2009, Deputy Chief Evans established the New Zealand Police National Intelligence Centre and, as the first Director of Intelligence, led the intelligence operation in support of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. In 2018, he established the world’s first dedicated police-led Evidence Based Policing Centre in Wellington. In 2020, Mr. Evans was seconded to the New Zealand COVID Operations Command Centre as part of the all-of-government response team. Before his work in New Zealand, Mark was Director of Analytical Services with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and led management and leadership programmes in Estonia and the Czech Republic. Deputy Chief Evans is Vice President of the Australia New Zealand Society of Evidence-Based Policing and a fellow of the Institute of Strategic Risk Management. He holds a BA (First Class Honours) in International Relations and an MBA (with distinction) from the Manchester Business School. He is a Visiting Professor at University College London. In 2006 Evans was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen for his contribution to policing work in Northern Ireland.
Evidence-Based Research and Practice:
In her nomination, Professor Lorraine Mazerolle praises Deputy Chief Executive Evans for his efforts in establishing and fostering the success of the New Zealand Evidence-Based Policing Centre (NZEBPC). Appointed to Deputy Chief Executive (Strategy) in 2014, Evans was responsible for crafting key parts of the ‘Policing Excellence: The Future’ (P21) program, which was the mechanism to launch the New Zealand Evidence-Based Policing Centre (NZEBPC) in 2017. Evans successfully secured funding to support 64 full-time equivalent staff allocated to the center to advance evidence-based policing. He was also able to secure external sponsorship from Vodafone NZ, Environmental Science (ESR) NZ, and the University of Waikato (the Centre’s foundation academic partner). He also reached out and established formalized links to the University of Queensland.
Over the last four years, the NZEBPC has funded or led several collaborative projects that showcase the many outputs of his efforts. These research-practice partnerships have included:
- Eleven different empirical descriptive data analysis projects, including reviewing the rise in family-based homicides (2019), changes in district victimizations and clearances (2020), Maori & alcohol issues (2020), and weekly demand reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic (2021).
- Eighteen evaluations of operational practices, such as understanding the motivations of fleeing drivers (2019), the geography of darknet drug importation (2020), armed response teams pilot (2020), Te Pae Oranga (2021), and the Lumi drug detection pilot (2021).
- Four randomized controlled trials on topics such as Locks, Lights, and Lines of Sight (2019), hot spots policing (2020), and the national bail notice trial (2021).
- Thirteen rapid literature reviews including on flexible employment options (2019), unconscious bias in policing (2020), What works for Community Policing (2021) and body worn video and tasers (2021).
- Nine rapid evidence assessments such as Arming to Support Op Deans (2019), Community Reassurance (2019 and 2021), and Covid-19 REA’s (x3) (2020).
- Fifteen systematic rapid evidence assessments with the University of Queensland team on topics such as road policing (2019), mental health co-response (2019), policing responses for social problems (2020), and night time economy interventions (2020).
- Creation of a series of “Good Practice Indices”; such as burglary attendance and clearance rates (2018).
- Development of multiple outputs via the Data & Analytics and Service Design Teams; such as ‘Our Data, You asked Us’ (2019), COVID-19 compliance and insights reporting (2020/21), Operational Performance Framework (2021) and Community Consultation – Hate Crime (2021).
As Vice President of the Australia New Zealand Society of Evidence-Based Policing, Mark was committee chair for the society’s 2021 annual conference, which attracted over 2000 registrations. Mark has also been the executive lead for the annual New Zealand Police Evidence-Based Problem-Solving Policing Awards, with over 100 projects submitted for consideration in recent years. In addition, he is currently the executive lead for a significant research program – Understanding Policing Delivery – which focuses on bias issues and aims to deliver fairness and equity in policing for all communities across New Zealand.
Mazerolle states that “Mark’s leadership in establishing the NZEBPC sets the benchmark in the world as to how evidence-based policing can be organizationally embedded in policing. Deputy Chief Executive Mark Evans was instrumental in enabling the New Zealand Police Strategic Research Agenda that incorporated the NZEBPC not as a stand-alone center but as an integral part of all business of the New Zealand Police. Mark did this to embed evidence-based policing to maximise the research and practice capabilities of New Zealand’s police but more broadly to benefit the community and position the country as a global leader in evidence-based policing. He is an internationally recognised leader in developing and implementing evidence-based policing strategy and practice into the policing forefront and the communities he serves.”
Statement from Inductee:
I have been on a journey in policing since the late 1990s. The wonderful Professor Gloria Laycock, founding Professor of the world-leading Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science at University College London, opened my eyes to the world of crime science, problem-solving and hypothesis testing. This coincided with work in the UK that was being done to develop a new ‘National Intelligence Model’, that provided a common language and approach to turning data, intelligence and insights into operational outcomes through a process called tasking and coordination. At the same in Belfast I was given the opportunity to establish the PSNI Analysis Centre – which employed 100+ staff across national security, organised and serious crime and district units to support commanders to focus time, effort and resources on the right problems.
In 2008 I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to apply many of the same principles to policing in New Zealand (where we have a single 14,000 strong national police service). After 10 years of trial-and-error and ultimately an approach which did not endure in Northern Ireland, it was obvious to me that a much more robust, all-of-organisation system, with greater leadership buy-in, was needed to fully embed the principles associated with a science-driven, problem-solving and ultimately evidence-based approach. I was fortunate that the previous Police Commissioner had the vision and foresight to include ‘Evidence Based Policing’ as one of a small number of key transformation initiatives included in the NZ Police strategic plan (Our Business) in 2015/16. This resulted in organisational time, resources, leadership attention and (critically) funding being found to advance the establishment of the NZ Police Evidence-Based Policing Centre (EBPC).
The Centre opened its doors in December 2018 and in addition to creating new roles – ‘network leads’ for example who work with district staff on evidence-based trials – it brought together a range of key functions that had previously been spread across multiple groups (such as ‘Performance and Research Insights’, ‘Service Design’, ‘Continuous Improvement’, and ‘Knowledge and Information’ services). The Centre made an immediate impact in supporting the NZ Police response to the 15th March Christchurch mosques attack, which helped promote its reputation and value, including to frontline staff. In 2020 a new Police Commissioner was appointed who has continued to invest in the Centre as an important contribution to the ongoing transformation of policing in New Zealand. In particular, an extensive, complex and significant program of work, Understanding Policing Delivery, is underway. This is underpinned by notions of policing by consent, and a research program focussed on identifying whether, where, and to what extent, bias exists at a system-level in Police’s operating environment.
In my executive leadership role I am fortunate to be able to guide the strategic direction of EBP in New Zealand, but without the outstanding leadership provided by the first Director EBPC, Bruce O’Brien, and the current incumbent, Simon Williams, none of what has been achieved would have been possible. We also have many outstanding staff – diverse, skilled and driven to improve policing – that deliver the insights that underpin EBP. The ability to consistently apply these insights to real operational problems, and enable better decision-making at all levels, is, in my view, the key to success. It is also a model that is both scalable and transportable. On behalf of the whole team, I am hugely proud that the work we have been doing here in New Zealand has been recognised internationally. Ngã Mihi (Thank you).
Contributions to Grants, Publications, and Projects:
- O’Brien, B., & Evans, R.M. (2021). Transitioning into an evidence-based police service: The New Zealand experience. In E.L. Piza and B.C. Welsh (eds.), The Globalization of Evidence-Based policing: Innovations in Bridging the Research-Practice Divide. New York, NY: Routledge.
- Chainey, S.P., Curtis-Ham, S.J., Evans, R.M., & Burns, G.J. (2018). Examining the extent to which repeat and near repeat patterns can prevent crime. Policing: An International Journal, 41(5), 608-622.
- Evans, R.M. (2016). Crime is Not Random: A Strategic National Operating Strategy Centred on Early Warning and Prevention. Journal of Intelligence and Analysis, International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA).
- Evans, R.M. (2012). The Diamond Matrix: A science-driven approach to policing with crime intelligence. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 6(2), 133-143.
- Evans, R.M. (2009). Influencing decision-makers with intelligence and analytical products. In J. Ratcliffe (ed.), Strategic Thinking in Criminal Intelligence, 2nd Edition. Sydney, NSW: The Federation Press.
- Evans, R.M. (2007). Cultural paradigms and change: A model of analysis. In J. Grieve, A. MacVean, C. Harfield, & D. Phillips (eds.), The Handbook of Intelligent Policing: Consilience, Crime Control and Community Safety. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.