Limitations in Cross-National Comparative Research
Problems faced when comparing police personnel statistics
The Mass Media in Cyprus announced that, according to the Eurostat (2019) “Police, Court and Prison Personnel Statistics”, Cyprus has the highest ratio of police officers per 100.000 inhabitants among all EU member states. To examine this outcome, the Cyprus Police conducted cross-national research comparing the organization’s population and duties with those of other Law Enforcement Agencies in the European Union.
This article will elaborate on the limitations of cross-national comparative research, which the authors came across during the aforementioned study. It will argue that even a subject as straightforward as the number of police officers is not directly comparable between countries in terms of necessity or efficiency, without taking into consideration the particular context of each given country. A quantitative comparison, which does not explore the background and contextual information on Law Enforcement Agencies in each country, can be questioned with regards to serious methodological issues, while its outcomes run the risk of being regarded as misleading.
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