Objectives: To review what we have learned from the policing systematic reviews funded by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and to examine the importance of funding and influential individuals in advancing scientific knowledge.
Methods: We use the history of randomized experiments in criminology and policing to emphasize how influential individuals and funding agencies have played a key role in advancing science in particular areas. We focus on the impact the NPIA has had on dramatically increasing the number of policing systematic reviews and advancing knowledge about effective policing strategies.
Results: The nine completed Campbell reviews funded by the NPIA have more than doubled the number of Campbell Collaboration reviews related to policing and have increased our knowledge about a number of policing programs and strategies. Collectively, these reviews suggest a number of areas where the police can be successful in increasing fairness and effectiveness in policing.
Conclusions: Key individuals, particularly when connected to funding agencies, can have a major impact on the trajectory of scientific knowledge. The NPIA program on systematic reviews in policing demonstrates the influence dedicated funding can have on advancing our knowledge on important policing topics.