Source:European Journal of Criminal Policy and Research, Volume 11, Issue 3-4, p.297-320 (2005)
In France, there is an apparent shift towards integrating what is referred to as "evaluation" and sometimes "impact assessment" in the implementation of public policies, including crime policies. However, this trend is very tentative and fragile. In addition, the meaning of evaluation remains vague. The paper explains the French interpretation of evaluation, presenting a case study of community policing evaluations (1997-2002), the most important police reform in the country and the most thoroughly evaluated public safety policy. The paper also offers a description of how evaluation is perceived among the preventive actors as well as among the police and sociologists in France. Finally, the paper discusses both the forces encouraging more use of "evaluation" (European directives or networks, changes in the budget, national legislation, emergence of new partnership schemes, decentralization of powers, the growing role of expertise in general) as well as those working against "evaluation" (organizational reluctance, ideological reluctance, risk aversion among politicians).