Researchers conducted two unique large-scale randomized control trials in collaboration with the state police of Rajasthan, India aimed at increasing police efficiency and improving interactions with the public.
The four main interventions were:
1. Freezing of transfers: For personnel posted to all police stations selected for this intervention (except the control group) all administrative transfers would be frozen for a period of at least two years. Exceptions could be made for well-documented cases of police misconduct that required a transfer.
2. Weekly day off and duty rotation system: Police station-level duties were to be allocated to staff on a rotating basis according to a written schedule. The entire staff in selected police stations (except the station chief) received one day off every eight days. In smaller police stations, where the shortage of manpower might be more acute, the station chief had the option of extending the work period up to fifteen days.
3. Community observers: Two volunteers drawn from a (long) list of potential volunteers would spend about three hours in the police station during peak operating hours, on a rotating basis. The observers' sole task was to watch the activities within the police station and become familiar with the duties, procedures, and challenges faced by the police.
4. In-Service training program: Randomly selected police personnel were given training in at least one of two modules:
- Professional/Investigation skills: aimed at improving investigation procedures, such as field techniques and documentation, with emphasis on scientific techniques.
- Soft skills: focused on improving attitude with the public with inputs on "soft skills" such as communication, mediation, stress management, motivation, team building, leadership, attitudinal, change, etc.
One important public complaint was that police would often refuse to register cases. To check whether the interventions improved police behavior along this dimension, field officers posing as regular citizens attempted to register complaints at the police station. These decoy visits were later transformed into an intervention.