Effective Use of Federal Funds for Law Enforcement

GGD-78-25: Published: Dec 1, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 1977.

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A summary was compiled of GAO completed and ongoing work bearing on efforts to promote more effective use of the limited federal funds for law enforcement. No single GAO report provides a basis for making recommendations which affect the entire federal law-enforcement structure. These reports have provided information on a function or activity performed by a single agency, information concerning specific improvements which can be made in one or more aspects of an agency's operations, and comparative studies of a governmentwide nature.

It has been difficult to obtain a consensus on what does or does not constitute a law-enforcement activity. A second complication to the discussion of issues regarding law enforcement is the piecemeal fashion in which the federal role in law enforcement has evolved. Much of the fragmentation of responsibility in this area results from the absence of a coherent overall design to integrate federal law-enforcement functions. Finally, there is little budgetary or other data to precisely identify who is doing what with respect to federal law-enforcment functions. The absence of such basic data precludes comparative analytical studies of the efficiency and effectiveness of agencies performing these functions.

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