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Square 1 is a new approach to providing a rapid assessment of the evidence base for popular policing programs in Canada. 

To assist police practitioners and other policing decision-makers in understanding whether there is evidence in support of a particular program*, we answer 5 key questions:


  1. Is the program based on existing research?

  2. Has the program been independently evaluated?

  3. Was the program rigorously tested? (4 or 5 on the Ratcliffe or Maryland Scientific Scales?)  

  4. Has the program evaluation been replicated/reproduced?

  5. Was the program tested in Canada?

In the current iteration of the Square 1 program, we do not evaluate the evidence base for you. Why? Because many current programs do not meet the threshold necessary for conducting a strong systematic review. As this changes with the push for better evidence in policing, we will revise and update our criteria and the information we can provide you. For now, we are just providing you with an overview as to what is available in the research literature on a given topic.

*Note: In many cases, the Square 1 assessments have found little to no evaluative research on various police initiatives in Canada. We caution readers that this does not necessarily mean that they're not effective. This lack of available research can be viewed as an opportunity for future research and follows Professor Sherman's Triple T approach. We would encourage readers to maintain a critical perspective when reading these assessments, determine how they could apply these findings to their jurisdictional contexts, and engage in local rigourous evaluations.

Explanations for Ratings

You will find brief explanations and supporting citations for each review provided.


All assessments are conducted using ONLY published articles in peer-review journals. Why? Many of the pieces of the evaluative studies produced in policing – the ‘grey literature’ – have been found to not be of sufficient quality that they could pass an independent review process by experts in the field. 


Transparency and Accountability

Each assessment is conducted by an academic researcher. 


This assessment is then independently reviewed by an acknowledged expert in the field in a double-blind process - this means that neither the initial rater or the independent expert know the identity of the other. Information on each expert reviewer is provided on the program assessment page.

Square 1 Library
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