Impact Evaluation of the Community Auxiliary Police Project

Research Method

Randomized Controlled Trial


Bougainville, Papua New Guinea




Bougainville Police Service, New Zealand Police, J-PAL (funders)

Research Question

Can Devolving Policing Powers to the Village Level Increase the State's Capacity to Provide Legal Protections?

Research Method

Randomized Controlled Trial


How should policing powers be structured to maximize the state's capacity to deliver legal protections to its citizens? When the state's reach is limited, those few interactions citizens have with police are often marked by corruption, absenteeism and abuse, contributing to dissatisfaction and distrust. These citizens sometimes rely on informal security providers-such as chiefs, families and mobs-who may not deliver justice fairly. Through a randomized controlled trial in Papua New Guinea, this study will evaluate the Community Auxiliary Police (CAP), a model of policing that attempts to extend state capacity to remote areas by devolving policing powers to carefully selected community members. The study assigns 2,000 individuals in 40 village clusters to either have or not have a CAP officer recruited in their village.