Michael Newman

Inducted June 2018

Nominated by Lorraine Mazerolle and Sarah Bennett, University of Queensland


Michael Newman is Detective Inspector for the Queensland Police Service where he has served for 26 years. He is currently the Manager of the Investigations and Intelligence Training Unit, Operational Policing and Leadership, People Capability Command for the police. D.I. Newman has served in numerous capacities in the QPS including Senior Sergeant and Regional Performance Officer for the Brisbane Regional Office, Senior Sergeant of the Tactical Crime Squad in Toowoomba, Detective Sergeant for the Australian Crime Commission (Brisbane Office), the Queensland Thoroughbred Racing Industry Commission, and the State Flying Squad. D.I. Newman holds a BINT in Applied Computer Science and Networking and a MIS in Information Systems Development from the University of Southern Queensland, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He served as a visiting fellow in evidence-based policing at the University of Queensland from 2016-2017.

Evidence-Based Research and Practice:

Professors Mazerolle and Bennett write that D.I. Newman’s efforts to facilitate evidence-based policing in the Queensland Police Service are “outstanding” and that Newman “has truly been instrumental in advancing EBP not just in Queensland, but across Australasia.” He completed his first randomized controlled trial in 2015 which tested the operationalization of a new QPS Mobile Police Community Office (MPCO) in crime hotspots in Brisbane’s Northern suburbs using officers who had received procedural justice training. The results of this trial found high ratings of police legitimacy by people visiting the MPCO and a modest decrease in crime in the target areas. His efforts led him to be a finalist for the QPS Award for Excellence.

From April 2016 to July 2017 Michael was the first Evidence Based Policing Visiting Fellow at The University of Queensland (UQ), School of Social Science. During this time he developed, designed and/or facilitated a large number of noteworthy projects to advance evidence-based policing within the QPS, Queensland and beyond. These projects include a number of randomized controlled trials of training programs to enhance capability and specialized responses. For example, Newman led the development of the Investigating Sexual Assault – Corroborating and Understanding Relationship Evidence (ISACURE) trial which evaluated the application of evidence-based practice into an intensive course for police investigating adult complaints of sexual assault. Preliminary results find significant pre-post differences in knowledge and practice application for ISACURE investigators. He co-designed the evaluation framework for the Blended Delivery of Detective Training trial testing standard training with a blend of interactive and flexible online education and face-to-face training. D.I. Newman provided extensive development and implementation assistance for the Procedural Justice Training of Recruit Trial and the Online Intelligence Fundamental Training Trial, which included innovative skills-based measures to determine how effective training translated to practice. Many additional trials benefited from his leadership and direction.

D.I. Newman has also contributed to the advancement of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Evidence-Based Policing (ANZSEBP). He has been the secretary for the society for a number of years, spearheading a number of innovations, notably increasing membership, producing three issues of a new journal (Police Science), and pulling together the SEBP annual conferences.

Statement from Inductee:

During my 26-year policing career I have served in a variety of roles, both operational and corporate. In each application for promotion, I provided examples and “evidence” of how the different strategies I had used had led to a reduction in crime. At the time, and in my naïveté, I did not realize how unlikely my “evidence” was actually linked to meaningful crime reduction. Yet, after a chance opportunity to get involved in an evidence-based policing (EBP) project more than six years ago, I have changed my entire approach to policing, challenging myself to move beyond poor quality evaluations and incorporate more rigor into assessing whether or not our policing strategies actually reduce crime and harm.

My first exposure to this was as the project manager for the Mobile Police Community Office (MPCO) Project, where as a practitioner, I was involved with researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ). This partnership provided me with critical insight into the design and methodology required by researchers to rigorously evaluate a strategy. It further provided me the opportunity to highlight the operational needs specific to our agency. This partnership approach proved to be highly successful in commencing EBP projects while I was the Evidence-Based Policing Visiting Fellow at the University of Queensland in 2016-17. The results from this experiment led to the purchase of a second MPCO, and both vehicles are regularly used throughout Brisbane.

To develop the evidence, we need to “upskill” our people. To this end, I coordinated for the delivery of 10 EBP workshops, in conjunction with the University of Queensland, that are designed to facilitate the promulgation of EBP across the various regions and commands within the Queensland Police Service (QPS). As a result of promoting these workshops to the executive leadership team, interest was generated for a further eight workshops to be conducted by June 2018. These workshops run for around three hours and can cater up to 30 people at a time. The participants get exposure to EBP and are given an understanding of its importance, shown how and where they can access this evidence (other than just a Google search), given examples of where the QPS has undertaken EBP projects, and given the opportunity, as a table group, to identify an issue that is relevant to them and develop an intervention that can be rigorously evaluated and added to the evidence base. In short, by exposing participants to these initial concepts, these workshops seek to foster the capacity for in-house evaluations into the future. Through these workshops and my role at UQ, I became a broker for advanced EBP within the QPS.

In my role as the EBP broker, I have been well positioned to identify, support, mentor, and promote the development of EBP projects that support QPS strategic objectives. Further to this, as the EBP Visiting Fellow and also a facilitator in the EBP workshops, I was able to identify robust EBP projects, codevelop the design and methodology, negotiate with key stakeholders within the QPS and academia, and support and mentor the officers to enable the projects to come to fruition. I was also able to generate interest in research topics to assist undergraduate students, provide them with an opportunity to work with police, and research topics of immediate interest to police with the ability to be immediately translated into policy.

This approach has led to a number of EBP trials being undertaken within the QPS on a variety of topics, including:
• reducing drug supply in inner-city hotel accommodation providers;
• applying a new approach to the delivery of detective training;
• promoting investigative best practice into adult sexual assault complaints;
• exploring the impact of a scripted crime message during a standard random breath test to determine if the process could reduce victimization;
• testing whether a procedurally just conversation with a senior police officer can influence future offender behavior;
• enhancing gender diversity in QPS recruiting;
• examining public perception of police uniforms; and
• evaluating a mental health co-responder model.

The visiting fellow role at UQ further provided me the opportunity to broker experiments and work collaboratively with researchers in a range of areas, such as:
• examining the level to which EBP has penetrated and been accepted in the QPS and Western Australian Police (WAPol);
• developing and delivering three one-day procedural justice training workshops for the Royal Thai Police on behalf of the Global Road Safety Partnership;
• contributing to reports and papers;
• assisting PhD students and networking them with appropriate contacts within the QPS; and
• revisiting the original analysis of the MPCO and developing the Queensland Crime Impact Score (QCIS) to examine the results from a different perspective.

I believe that by combining our police experience (or our craft) with the use of valid scientific methods, we can foster innovation and professionalism in policing.

The appetite for practitioner-led policing research is high. A number of societies of evidence-based policing have been formed around the world, starting with the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States, and Spain. The mission of these societies is to develop, disseminate, and advocate for police to use scientific research to guide best practices in all aspects of policing. They are collectives of individuals mutually committed to evidence-based policing. They have been created to advocate for and support research and to promulgate new knowledge. Membership, numbering in the thousands, primarily comprises police officers. Perhaps this level of uptake further demonstrates the desire of police officers to embrace research and question historical practice. It also is an attempt by police officers and their respective agencies to take ownership of the profession of policing or the science of the profession.

Contributions to Grants, Publications, and Projects:

  • Allen, C., & Newman, M. (2017). Operations Reset – The Impact of Police Initiated Procedural Justice Intervention Conversations on Offending Behaviour: 9 cent crime reductions? Police Science: The Journal of the ANZ Society of Evidence-Based Policing, 2(2).
  • Hine, L., Lynn, M., Bennett, S., & Newman, M. (2017). Using social media to inform, engage, and evaluate public responses to policing strategies. Police Science: The Journal of the ANZ Society of Evidence-Based Policing, 2(2).
  • Bennett, S., Newman, M., & Sydes, M. (2017). Mobile Police community office: a vehicle for reducing crime, crime harm and enhancing police legitimacy? Journal of Experimental Criminology, 13(3), 417–428. doi: 10.1007/s11292-017-9302-6.
  • Bennett, S., Newman, M., & Gray, A. (2016). The Queensland Mobile Community Office Project: Putting Wheels in motion for procedurally just community policing. Police Science: The Journal of the ANZ Society of Evidence-Based Policing, 1(1).
  • Newman, M. (2013). Commissioner Ian Stewart APM: a new vision for Queensland Police Service. Australian Police Journal,67(1), 4–5.