The world of the early 21st century is truly a globalised world, due to world-spanning transport, communication and travel: goods, ideas and cultures are now shared more widely than ever before in human history. Cross-border financial investment and economic interdependence has become the normality, as well as continuous migration. Terrorism, cybercrime, financial fraud, organised criminal networks smuggling illicit drugs, firearms or people across international and global borders – there is an undeniable darker side to globalisation.
Globalisation of crime – or simply global crime – has been high on the agenda of governments, law enforcement institutions and academic scholarship for more than a decade. While there is an extensive body of analytic literature and practical guidance, less attention has been paid to the aspect of training and education of law enforcement staff and leaders in view of the process of globalisation and the global dimension of criminal acts.
The 2016 CEPOL European Police Research and Science Conference will put the focus on global trends in law enforcement training and education raising key questions under the following perspectives:
For the 13th time, the CEPOL European Police Research and Science Conference will be a platform for law enforcement officers in leading positions, police educators and trainers, as well as distinguished academic scholars and researchers for exchanging (new) research findings, educational ideas and concepts as well as for engaging in a professional and informed discussion around issues of police science, research and education.
Global trends can only be defined from an international perspective - the development and progress of scientifically sound research informing and shaping law enforcement practice or education varies across countries and forces in Europe and worldwide. Thus the organisers are seeking input from a wide circle of international institutions, countries and research projects. Not only shall the variations in training and education be addressed by the contributions to the conference but also similarities, best practices, chances and possible limitations of “global trends in law enforcement training and education”.
As in earlier CEPOL Research and Science Conference events, there will be a strong emphasis on creating dialogue and interaction among the speakers and participants.
In the course of the conference, keynotes, parallel sessions and open paper workshops will allow the presentation and discussion of institutional approaches and experiences, as well as of research projects and findings. In particular the open workshops will provide an opportunity to discuss theoretical and practical research problems, as well as European and international networking.
Prof. Betsy Stanko
Prof. Elrena Van der Spuy
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Prof. em. Gary Cordner
Kutztown University (USA)
Prof. Maria Haberfeld
John Jay College (USA)
German Police University (Germany)
Prof. Monica den Boer
Prof. Tore Bjørgo
National Police University College (Norway)
|Dr. Ferenc Bánfi - CEPOL|
|Haim Blumenfeld - Police College (Israel)|
|Prof. Ben Bowling - King's College University (United Kingdom)|
The conference is open for delegates from CEPOL Member States as well as for law enforcement officials and academic scholars from inside or outside the European Union. Attendance at the conference is subject to prior pre-registration and acceptance by the organisers. Specific conditions apply to invited speakers and delegates from the CEPOL network.
Academic scholars, delegates from institutions and bodies not affiliated to CEPOL, as well as officers and officials from outside the EU and from overseas are kindly requested to pre-register by completing the online application form for external participants here:
Once accepted, participants will receive the registration form. The capacity of the conference is limited and the organisers recommend to apply for registrations early.
The conference fee for external participants is approx. 60 EUR, covering conference materials, coffee breaks and lunches on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
There will be also a limited “conference pack” offer, including hotel accommodation booking on 4-7 October, all meals and refreshments, conference material, airport transfer and public transport.
5-8 October 2015
Venue: Edificio-sede Polícia Judiciária, Lisbon (Portugal)
Ideas on “evidence-based” policing strategies and tactics have gained a foothold in Europe and are drawing growing attention in the international discussion on policing. If “evidence-based” is understood as looking more seriously at the application of sound scientific methods to achieve practical results, police education and training is certainly called upon to support and encompass this approach. National police colleges or universities, for example, are increasingly encouraging and supporting empirical research as the backbone of Police Science Master and PhD theses.
This being a clear trend internationally, the development and progress of sound scientific research informing and shaping police practice or education varies across countries and forces in Europe and elsewhere – what’s high on the agenda in one country can be found to be mostly neglected in the next. The conference addressed the concept, chances and possible limitations of “evidence-based policing” in an open European forum by putting the following aspects on the agenda:
International and European scholars from academia, police scientists, researchers, lecturers and trainers, as well as senior police officers, presented and discussed 76 papers. Plenary sessions (3), parallel sessions (19) and workshops (2) served as lively forums for the presentation and discussion of research findings, as well as future research road-maps. The conference provided participants (totalling 232 from 36 countries) with a unique opportunity to discuss theoretical and practical research problems and to network. Posters (15) were also displayed during the conference (see programme and abstracts).
As Peter Neyroud, the conference opening speaker mentioned in his final evaluation, "the CEPOL 2015 Conference provided the most comprehensive set of presentations on police research and science at any international conference on policing in 2015. It is a huge feather in CEPOL’s cap to have attracted so many scholars from across Europe and internationally. Another strength of this year's conference was the scale of the attendance from across Europe. There have only been three other conferences dedicated to policing - the Cambridge Evidence-based Policing Conference 2015, the George Mason Evidence-based Policing Conference 2015 and the SEBP 2015 conference in Manchester - with more than 200 delegates and none of these had such a wide national representation. CEPOL and the Escola de Policia Judiciaria should be very proud of this achievement. The event will have raised CEPOL’s profile and secured a strong reputation for the Policia Judiciaria and Portuguese law enforcement. For future conferences, the lesson of using an open call for papers is one to be repeated".
Peter Neyroud, CBE QPM PhD (University of Cambridge)
Professor Nick Fyfe (University of Dundee) and Professor Jenny Fleming (University of Southampton)
Dr Ben Bradford (University of Oxford)
Professor Nick Fyfe (University of Dundee)
Dr Nicky Miller (Research Evidence Partnership Manager, UK College of Policing)
Professor Shane Johnson, Professor Nick Tilley and Professor Kate Bowers (University College London)
Professor Vincenzo Ruggiero (Middlesex University London)
Dr Reinhard Kreissl (Vienna Centre for Societal Security)
Professor David S. Wall (University of Leeds)
Professor Jack Greene (Northeastern University)
Professor Maurice Punch (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Open session papers
Lisa Thompson, Jyoti Belur, Tanya Le Sage, Shane Johnson, Kate Bowers, Aiden Sidebottom, Nick Tilley and Gloria Laycock (University College London Department of Security and Crime Science)
Hans Ditrich (Institute for Science and Research, Dept. I/9 – SIAK)
Dr Mary Walker (Garda Siochána Research Unit)
Dr Don Casey, Professor Phillip Burrell (London South Bank University) and Detective Chief Inspector Nick Sumner (Metropolitan Police Service)
Associate Professor Ksenija Butorac, Dr Ante Orlović and Assistant Professor Joško Sindik (Police College of Croatia)
Dr Ian K. Pepper (Department of Law, Policing and Investigation, Teesside University) and Dr Ross Wolf (Department of Criminal Justice, University of Central Florida)
Ian Hesketh (Lancashire Constabulary) and Professor Jean Hartley (Open University)
Mónica Diniz and Claudia Santa Cruz (Polícia Municipal de Lisboa)
Torben Lehberg (German Police University)
José Francisco López Sánchez (Innovation and Development Service of the Spanish National Police)
Thomas Bäck (Umeå University) and Lola Vallès (Catalan Police Academy)
Auke van Dijk and Frank Hoogewoning (Dutch National Police)
José María Blanco (Guardia Civil) and Jessica Cohen (Private sector analyst)
The conference was organised by the Escola de Polícia Judiciária (EPJ), the learning and training unit of Polícia Judiciária, on behalf of the European Police College (CEPOL).
The Escola de Polícia Judiciária was founded in 1957 and provides initial training for crime investigators, as well as specialised/continuous training courses, seminars and conferences. The main areas of training and research are: violent crime (including terrorism), organised crime (including all types of trafficking), financial crime (including corruption and tax fraud), cybercrime, urban and forest arson, forensics, crime analysis, police leadership and management, police ethics and human rights, social and communication sciences, and international and European law enforcement cooperation.
Polícia Judiciária is the Portuguese national crime investigation police. The mission of Polícia Judiciária, under the terms of its organic law and the Organisation of Criminal Investigation Act (LOIC), is to assist the judicial and prosecuting authorities in crime investigation, to develop and foster preventive, detection and investigative actions falling within their jurisdiction, as well as other actions which Polícia Judiciária is entrusted with by the competent judicial and prosecuting authorities. Polícia Judiciária, as it exists today, was founded in 1945, after a general restructuring of the police forces in Portugal.
The conference organisation was supported by:
Special and important support was also rendered by:
The conference was held at the new headquarters of Polícia Judiciária in Lisbon, Portugal. This venue provided 3 auditoriums and working rooms, all of them with state-of-the-art ICT equipment.
11 – 13 September 2013
Venue: Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei, Muenster (Germany)
The CEPOL conference was themed this year around the actual and potential impact of the recent economic turmoil that has hit many European countries. The economic set-back has already deep and far reaching consequences for the living standards and cohesion of European societies and by means of resulting severe financial constraints for the public purse there is also a significant impact on affected police forces. Apart from issues around the expected performance police forces, questions about the use of powers in view of police accountability and legitimacy arise as indicators for good democratic governance in the proclaimed European area of justice, freedom and security. Additional challenges for the police services have come up with the new media and their wide range of implications on everyday policing, criminality and major events.
Academic researchers, police educators and professionals were invited to shed some analytic light on the current situation, the new conditions and its potential development from a theoretical as well as a practical and educational point of view.
As always, CEPOL wants to foster the exchange between scientific studies and practical experience, and by doing that, informing public opinion.
Video recordings and presentation slides of selected conference contributions are available on this page.
Exclusive content is also available for registered e-Net users.
Conference proceedings with full papers will be published in a special issue of the European Police Science and Research Bulletin.
The conference brochure with the programme can be downloaded here.
Police and citizen encounters: fairness, legitimacy, accountability
Citizens‘ rights – Checks and balances on policing
Public perceptions of police and police work
Police and (ethnic) minorities
Historical aspects of contemporary police developments
Police training and education
New media, social media, e-learning
Empirical and comparative research on policing
European security research policies: current funding schemes and future perspectives
Five years on from the publication of “Police Science Perspectives: Towards a European Approach”, the 2012 Annual Police Research and Science Conference reignited the initiative behind the 2007 report to take stock of the state of police science in Europe. The conference highlighted some on-going police science projects in Europe, the progress made in answering the key questions from 2007, and the prospects for the future.
The three-day conference was open to police researchers, scientists, practitioners and educators. The conference offered many opportunities for networking and exchanges of information, as well as giving participants the chance to showcase their own projects in an informal setting. Speakers included police science and research experts from across Europe, as well as practicing police officers who demonstrated the impact and effectiveness that police science has on daily work.
Read more about the 2012 conference in the Conference Invitation.
The Conference Programme can be downloaded from here.
Cyberspace and security, cyber security, cybercrime and social networks
Madrid, Spain, 28-30 June 2011
On 28-30 June 2011, the Research and Science annual Conference of the European School of Police (CEPOL) took place in Madrid, Spain. The conference was hosted in the Palacio de Congresos. This edition focused on Cyberspace and Security: Cyber security, Cybercrime and Social Networks.
The Conference was organized by the Studies Cabinet of Interior Security of the Security State Secretariat, which belongs to the Spanish Ministry of Interior, and sponsored by the European Agency European School of Police CEPOL, with the support of Portugal, Poland and the CEPOL Research and Science Working Group.
The Conference was attended by forty five delegates from nineteen European countries, experts of the scopes of police research and science and of the fight against cybercrime which have attended the different communications, contributing their expertise in the matter.
Twenty seven experts from eleven European countries and from the USA, as well as different Spanish and European agencies and public institutions with responsibilities in the matter on which the Conference focused have participated in the different discussions held.
Log into e-Net to download a comprehensive report of the Conference in English or Spanish.
Practical Research and Research Practice – Police Science into a New Decade
Conference organiser’s conclusion
The aim of the conference was to strengthen the importance of interaction between academia and practitioners. This interaction will ultimately help to shape and hone research to focus more directly on real concerns during investigations. The focus on the police, both politically and academically, has been on methods, organisational structures and culture - often related to specific cases where media, politicians and others have all raised questions about the decision making procedures that lead to some actual negative results. From the ultimate questions “what went wrong” and “who could be blamed for it” we are changing into a culture of knowledge-based policing with officers themselves asking the 5 “wh- “ questions, i.e. Who, what, where, when & who. The research-based knowledge of policing has increased significantly in volume over the last two decades and several institutions educating police officers have changed drastically, realising the importance of theoretically informed officers coping with the demands set by the society they are serving. In recognition of this development of police science the conference could offer a program which the paramount objective was to present:
In the discussion about Practical Research and Research Practice some delegates raised their concern that too many academics do not have enough knowledge of how police work is conducted in practice. According to them, this lack of procedural knowledge leads to a considerable proportion of research being conducted in areas where the researcher find topics of interest – and not in the areas where the practitioners might find their daily challenges.
Secondly, the lack of knowledge about police routines does lead to lack of ecological validity in many of the studies that are conducted. In 2010, the studies of officers should be conducted on officers.
Thirdly, many studies are conducted in the search for what went wrong, and why. For the police this is of course important, however, there are very few studies on episodes or routines that are positive. For example, where the police made the right decisions, and why they got the positive result. What are we doing that is working positively, and why?
The fourth challenge mentioned, is that most academics are writing for other academics, publishing in academic journals for an international academic audience. For the practitioners to be able to take part in the results, the researchers should also take more time to publish their findings in magazines and journals that are easier to get hold of than subscriptions to a wide range of specific and expensive journals. For the results, libraries and internet could cover for some of it, but not all.
For the police - in the communication between the academics and practitioners, the delegates’ presentations highlighted four challenges:
From the delegates perspective the police officers at all levels could also be more specific and open in their discussions with researchers, identifying some of the questions they find interesting and would like the researchers to work on. In order for the police to get more out of research their aptitude to commission research must be improved. The police must be able to make sound judgments on the quality of studies and plans of research. Unfortunately the police often have vague ideas of what academics, given their training and experience, actually can accomplish.
More and more officers are conducting their Masters and also PhDs and most promising many of the presenters reported that the officers remain within the organizations after achieving their academic degrees, contributing with insight to both the academic and operational world.
Over all, the organizing committee was impressed over the enthusiasm from all participants. The conference demonstrated that CEPOL is a relevant platform for the important exchange of knowledge and experience. On behalf of CEPOL and the organizing committee we will thank all the participants for their enthusiasm and commitment that made this conference to what it was.
Log into e-Net to download the 2010 Conference Programme.
Future Policing in Europe: A Shared Agenda for Research
Badhoevedorp, The Netherlands, 18-20 November 2009
CEPOL - European Police College organized its seventh annual Police Research and Science Conference on 18-20 November 2009 near Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The conference was organized by the Police Academy of The Netherlands in close cooperation with Austria, Germany and CEPOL’s Research and Science Working Group. Around 75 police researchers, trainers, practitioners and policy-makers discussed several dimensions concerning the challenges faced by police forces across Europe.
The challenges include several dimensions. A first dimension concerns organisational issues, such as technological innovation, risk-management, diversity in and around police forces, multi-disciplinary cooperation with other partners, intelligence-led policing, and selection and recruitment. Another important strand concerns the challenges in crime and disorder, such as cybercrime, radicalisation and external security deficits. Finally, the conference dealt with the European dimension of policing, police training and police research.
The topic “Future Policing in Europe” was approached from an academic as well as a practical angle. Under the guidance of several moderators, the conference contained a mixture of presentations and interactive sessions, including plenary speeches, mini-seminars, poster sessions and a panel discussion. The aim was to involve all participants and to alternate the roles of speaker, listener and debater.
The conference organisers made an effort to invite a balanced representation of male and female speakers, mature and promising new researchers and attendees from several European Member States.
The objectives of the conference activity included:
The final objective was to reflect on the consequences of innovation and policing reforms.
The conference was opened by Chief Constable and Chairman of the Executive Board of the Police Academy of The Netherlands, Ad van Baal. His opening speech was followed by a lecture by Prof. Dr Pieter Tops, Member of the Executive Board of the Police Academy of The Netherlands and Professor of Public Administration of the University of Tilburg (The Netherlands) who provided an exposé about the importance of informal and tacit knowledge for the further development of police organisations, and the role of knowledge and research in the professionalisation of police officers.
Chaired by the CEPOL Research and Science Working Group Chair, Dr Janos Fehervary from the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Sicherheitsakademie in Vienna (Austria), the training and research part highlighted that police forces throughout Europe may be presented with strategic issues, such as the emergence of a reflective and intelligent work force, which may present new management challenges for politicians. Other challenges that present themselves when police forces become more knowledgeable include matters of authority, flexibility and image.
Dr Peter Neyroud, Chief Constable and Chief Executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency of the United Kingdom presented a plenary lecture entitled “Shifts in Policing, Police Profession and Police Organisation”. He elaborated on topics such as the economic pressures on policing resulting from budget cuts in public expenditure, the rising costs and declining tax revenues. He also paid attention to the changes in the performance management in policing and the role of science in policing. Furthermore, he analysed the composition of the police work force, the role of the detective, the rise of nationalisation and localism, as well as internationalisation. All these trends harbour significant challenges for police forces throughout Europe.
After the general presentations and lectures, the conference became more detailed. Several plenary speakers were requested by the conference organisers to focus on particular issues, relating both the organisational as well as contextual aspects in the development of policing.
Dr Tatiana Tropina from the Cybercrime Research Institute in Cologne (Germany) dealt with cyber-policing as a current and future challenge for law enforcement. She mentioned several threats which emanate from cybercrime, including the migration of traditional crime (such as child pornography and money laundering) to the Internet. Resulting from this threat is the necessity to organise cross-border law enforcement cooperation. Self evident as this cooperation may be, however, there are several challenges to cope with, such as the different procedural rights for suspects and victims, as well as the lack of proper facilities to tackle cybercrime within a number of law enforcement systems. Dr Tropina gave an overview of initiatives in this field, such as CIRCAMP, the creation of the European Cyber Crime Platform by Europol, as well as training programmes.
Professor Sirpa Virta from the University of Tampere (Finland) spoke about the theme “Preventing Radicalization” and brought about several avenues for new research relevant for police forces throughout Europe. She elaborated on the EU Home Affairs and Security Strategies, from which new challenges have evolved in this particular field. Themes she listed were radicalization as a phenomenon and police training through the EU ISEC programme. Professor Virta maintained joint multi-disciplinary research projects are needed. Moreover, in order to tackle radicalization properly it may be necessary to reach beyond conventional crime prevention. One of the pressing questions she put forward is the extent to which police officers are equipped to recognise the early signals of radicalization and extremism.
The final plenary lecture on the first day of the conference was presented by Prof. Dr Gorazd Meško, Dean of the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security of the University of Maribor (Slovenia). For him, the conceptual challenges the police are currently confronted with include the emergence of contemporary social control, including the citizens as a policing resource and institutionalised informal control. Professor Meško spoke at length about the issues arising in the context of “multilateral” policing, which includes cooperation between public police officers and private security employees. Research issues evolving concern, for instance, patterns of conflict, competition, cooperation and partnership. The speaker believed the challenges for further research lie – among others - in a comparative study in Europe and the public opinion about plural security providers. After the first day, the conference participants met for dinner to consolidate their European network.
The programme on the second day provided two more plenary lectures, followed by simultaneous interactive mini-seminars about developing trends and poster sessions presented on newly emerging topics. Moderated by Professor Joachim Kersten from the German Police University in Münster (Germany), the first plenary lecture was presented by Prof. Tom Vanderbeken of Ghent University (Belgium), who spoke about the anticipation of future (in)securities and the role of risk assessment. A new challenge for police forces nowadays is to police the risk society, which is based on an increased exploitation of knowledge and intelligence. Police forces nowadays have to think ahead and have to rank the likelihood and potential seriousness of risk events. Prof. Vanderbeken explained in detail the difference between threat analyses, vulnerability studies, harm assessments and risk analyses. He concluded that scenarios studies can be useful tools to assess and anticipate developments and to take a reflexive attitude towards multiple futures.
Dr Sabine Vogt from the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in Wiesbaden (Germany) offered the conference participants a look into the innovatory power of European police forces. Early detection and diagnosis of the shifts and challenges lie at the heart of the reflective potential of police agencies. Geographical and strategic early detection can reveal a connection between different phenomena and prepare the police force to make steps in terms of setting objectives, planning strategies and prioritising policies and instruments. Dr Vogt explained how the pieces of the puzzle evolving from an environmental analysis can be put together in a process model, called STEP. She introduced the BKA scenario technique, which is worked out in the form of workshops based on real cases, such as delinquency which is related to the capital markets. A similar scenario technique was applied in the context of the UN/EU peace-keeping missions.
After a discussion, the conference participants separated in groups of five different interactive mini-seminars about developing trends. The themes of these mini-seminars were “Techno-policing”(by Dr Renato Raggi from the Carabinieri Officers College in Vicenza, Italy); “Policing diversity” (by Professor Sirpa Virta, University of Tampere, Finland); “Knowledge-led policing” (by Professor Joachim Kersten from the German Police University in Münster, Germany); “Recruitment, education and careers in European police forces” (by Prof. Tore Björgo, Norwegian Police University College, Oslo, Norway); and “Private policing” (by Prof. Raimundas Kalesnykas, Dean of the Law Faculty of the International School of Law and Business, Vilnius, Lithuania).
The method of the mini-seminars allowed conference participants to select two themes, which meant that in a smaller setting, they felt encouraged to intervene and raise questions.
Following the mini-sessions, a variety of themes were presented by “junior” researchers who are involved in a post-doctoral or professional research project. These poster sessions were performed by Anne van Ewijk of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain (“diversity in police organizations”); Martijn Schippers of the Dutch Police Region Amsterdam-Amstelland (“intelligence-led policing”); Maren Eline Kleiven of the Police University College Oslo, Norway (“police reform missions”); and Gregor Wewer of Europol (“governing police co-operation in the EU”). The latter sessions were mainly meant to initiate and strengthen particular thematic research networks throughout the European Union.
At the start of the official dinner, Chief Constable Bernard Welten of the Dutch Police Force Amsterdam-Amstelland presented an enthusiastic and inspiring speech about the value of research for the development of policing and police organisations.
The final day of the conference was moderated by Prof. Monica den Boer of the Police Academy of The Netherlands and the VU University Amsterdam (Netherlands), and focused entirely on the EU efforts in the field of European police cooperation, in particular police training and police research.
Police Commissioner Michiel Holtackers, Chair of the Annual Programme Committee of CEPOL and Head of Staff International Relations at the Police Academy of the Netherlands, gave the first lecture about the Stockholm Programme on the further development of the EU area of freedom, security and justice. He regarded police training as essential for building the necessary trust between law enforcement forces throughout Europe. In this regard, an international exchange programme and internships are deemed indispensable. Moreover, specific training challenges were mentioned, including training which is targeted at the protection of vulnerable groups, such as victims of crime; the focus on serious crime with a cross-border dimension; training aimed at improved usage of the existing instruments for police cooperation; combined training efforts with third countries; and (common) training methods.
The issues raised by Michiel Holtackers received deep reflection from relevant practitioners and policy makers in the form of a panel discussion: Mr Christian Jechoutchek (Assistant Director Corporate Governance of Europol), Prof. Dr Klaus Neidhardt (Chair of the Training and Research Committee of CEPOL and President of the German Police University in Münster) and Kristien van Goey (Directorate General Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission). The panel discussion evoked several interventions from the conference participants.
The conference was concluded by Prof. Didier Bigo from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. He gave a flash demonstration of the legal and political events in the area of EU police cooperation during the past two decades. He observed a number of tensions arising from the Stockholm Programme, such as bringing the EU closer to its citizens through a reliable provision of security, and policing at a distance which is based on patterns of information-gathering and surveillance. He ended by advocating a European Union in which there is a balance between freedom of movement and security.
The organising countries The Netherlands, Austria and Germany as well as the Research and Science Working Group, were pleased with the active participation of police professionals, police trainers and police researchers from all over Europe, turning the event into a worthwhile annual gathering for the exchange of knowledge about police-relevant matters.
Prof. Dr. Monica den Boer
Academic Dean, Police Academy of The Netherlands / VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Log into e-Net to download keynotes, presentations and support documentation.
For the sixth consecutive year, the European Police College organised its annual Police Research and Science Conference in 2008 on the outskirts of Vienna, in Brunn am Gebirge. As a flagship event for CEPOL’s research and science activities, it aimed to support the dissemination of results of research and the optimization of co-operation between police training institutions, universities, research institutes and researchers in the field of police science.
In 2008, the hosting country Austria had, supported by Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, centred the event around the topic of “Comparative Policing Research from a European Perspective: with a Focus on Organised Crime”. By taking EUROPOL’s ‘Organised Crime Threat Assessment’-Report (OCTA) as a case in point, the invited experts and participants were invited to tackle questions around how a comparative scientific approach can (pro-)actively support the development of best practice in police training and police practice in Europe.
Almost 80 participants, representing equally police trainers, researchers and police practitioners, followed the invitation, and listened to the contributions of twelve invited expert speakers from EU member states and European Institutions like Europol and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. In several workshops the topics were deepened and the participants had the opportunity for directly exchanging knowledge and opinions.
Following welcome addresses by the Director of the Austrian Sicherheitsakademie, Mr. Norbert Leitner, and the Conference Manager, Mr. János Fehérváry, as well as a presentation of CEPOL’s research and science activities by the (then) chairperson of CEPOL’s Training and Research Committee, Mr. Salvatore Siena, the first day of the conference was dedicated to the keynote addresses of three distinguished European experts on the field of organized crime.
The round of keynotes was opened by Prof. Hans-Jörg Albrecht, Director of the Max-Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (Freiburg, Germany) with a comprehensive introduction on the topic with the title “Police, Policing and Organised Crime – Lessons from organised crime research”. Looking closely at available research knowledge about organised crime, the policing of organised crime and the results of what he called ‘organised crime policies’ he guided the audience through a collection of empirical facts and findings, not without highlighting how little is known about certain aspects. He made a point in stating that “organised crime” remains a controversial issue, not only for definitional or measurement difficulties, but also for its complex link with the broader issue of ‘security’ and its ramifications in modern societies and their politics of threat containment. Implicit problems of measuring the performance of police actions were illustrated by contrasting the number of wiretaps (per 100.000 population) applied with the number of convictions per wiretap in the USA, Australia and Germany: figures suggested the more wiretaps the lesser the rate of conviction per wiretap. In his conclusions he emphasized the need for informed perspectives on the phenomena as well as on the various efforts to contain the problem with methods of policing, but remained sceptical about the ability of policy makers to listen to available research knowledge.
Focusing in on the conference’s first day nominal topic, Prof. Michael Levi from Cardiff University (UK), offered his thoughts on “Organised Crime Threat Assessments – from an Academic’s scientific, but not wholly theoretical perspective”. Pointing out the recent institutional growth of the threat assessment business, he rejected strongly the usual separation of ‘academic’ and ‘practitioner’ perspective. Instead he offered a set of questions illustrating the key difficulties in threat assessment, EUROPOL and the OCTA report is confronted with. His remedy was to suggest a sophisticated approach centred around the concepts of harm, probability, impact and risk.
In the final keynotes of the day, Dr. László Salgó, Associate Professor of Criminal Law and Assistant Director of EUROPOL, presented first-hand knowledge regarding the “Scientific approach to the OCTA report from an analytical, operational point of view”. He gave a detailed account of the background and tasks of the OCTA report and explained comprehensively the methodological approach taken by EUROPOL. ‘Criminal markets’ and ‘regions’ are two major axis of analysis of the vast amount of data reported by the EU Member States, which are complemented by a third one: organised crime groups. Using a set of indicators, the OCTA report tries to identify these groups under a perspective to dismantle them and to rank them by threat level. Prof. Salgó also explained the advanced concept of ‘criminal hub’, developed for better understanding of facts that influence the dynamic of these groups across the EU. He concluded his contribution with an outlook on trends and threats, not saving his concern of the occasional undue political interference and delay.
Provided by three outstanding experts with a sweeping introduction into the topic of organised crime research in general and the difficulties of scientifically reliable observations, measurements and assessments in particular, the participants afterwards had the opportunity to exchange first reactions and to collectively prepare questions to the keynote speakers in three working groups.
Speakers of these working groups presented the main topics of discussions and major inquiries for the keynote speakers the next morning. A number of issued were raised, mainly picking on the issues brought up by the keynote speaker, like the problems of shared definition of organised crime and the difficulties to define a joint approach in a hugely diverse territory like the EU. Also the possibilities and limits of EUROPOL and its synthesized assessment efforts in face of mostly regional horizons of experiencing organised crime were pointed out in the discussion.
While the first day were dedicated to research into organised crime and the OCTA report in broader term, the conference continued on the second day from there with a more specific view on three selected areas within the organised crime topic assigned to working groups running in parallel. Their discussion process was triggered by so-called ‘kick-start addresses’ delivered by experts:
The outcomes of the intensive group work were reported in the afternoon to the plenum and discussed in their entirety. The outcomes reflected some of the general problems and issues of organised crime research and assessment identified earlier in the conference on the more concrete level of the three given topics.
On the third day finally, the conference programme shifted the attention from the very topics of organised crimes and their analytical reflection in the OCTA report towards the broader issue of comparative police research in the European setting.
Assistant Chief Constable Graham Hooper, Head of Operations Policing Policy and Practice NPIA (UK) brought his well-informed and inspiring practitioner’s perspective on “Cooperation in Policing in Europe – Current Trends and Future Challenges” to the fore. He looked, from a UK perspective, on the forthcoming challenges of European policing and the different ways how co-operation in policing could be achieved more effectively. Although very much grounded in the problems of co-operative operational policing, he explicitly encouraged the research community to ‘keep banging on the doors of police organisations’ to foster a more educated and effective approach to policing.
An equally compelling case for the potentially highly practical value of academic knowledge gained by research and science was presented by Prof. Cyrille Fijnaut (Tilburg University, The Netherlands) in his keynote address on “Reinforcing the European Dimension of Comparative Police Research”. By looking back into European history, Prof. Fijnaut underpinned his view, that policing in a European context had been cross-border and mutually influencing national models from the very beginnings in modernity. He showed that the different police co-operation projects on various levels are in a way a continuation and evolution of these earlier efforts. For him the Lisbon treaty, once ratified, will foster a trend to further convergence of policing in Europe, as legal and procedural harmonization will make co-operation on the ground much easier. In his conclusion he wondered about how little is actually known about police co-operation in Europe and pointed out ways how to overcome the practical obstacles for overcoming the shortcomings of comparative police research.
To discuss the “Implications for research and police science” from all that was said by the keynote speakers and the working group rapporteurs during the previous days as well as coming up with proposals for further steps was the tasks of the concluding panellists discussion round, featuring expert participants from EUROPOL, Germany, The Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Irrespective of the acknowledgement that practitioners’ and researchers’ perspective will require different approaches and are likely to focus on varying aspects of a phenomenon, the overall consent in the discussion was, that scientific methodology and academic analysis could indeed make a significant contribution to more successful efforts of policing. Specifically in regard to the OCTA report - as one of many instruments and initiatives to understand and tackle the organised crime phenomena in Europe - the keynote addresses and workshops were seen as shedding a brighter light on its actual contribution and value in the context of European policing.
This result of the panel discussion was echoed in the conference conclusion delivered by Conference Manager, Mr. Fehérváry when he pointed out that the main topic of the conference and the outcome of intensive discussions were an excellent example for showing the necessity and success of an objective and tolerant meeting between researchers / academics and police practitioners, both dealing with a sensitive topic in order to make strategies, methods and expectations of modern law enforcement programmes or projects more transparent and to avoid so misunderstandings or ignorance on either sides.
The conference was as one of CEPOL’s future oriented activities for the support and development of a European approach to the main problems facing Member States in the fight against crime and crime prevention, in particular with a strong cross-border and European dimension. In this, the conference can be seen as a successful contribution for bridging the gap between theoretical/academic and practical views and for showing the necessity to analyse new police strategies and methods empirically.
Dr. János Fehérváry, Head of Unit, Sicherheitsakademie, Austria
Dr. Detlef Nogala, Research and Knowledge Management Officer, CEPOL Secretariat
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A European Approach to Police Science
The 2007 CEPOL European Police Research and Science conference was hosted by the Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei (German Police University) in Münster, Germany on 12-14 September 2007.
This 2007 event focussed on issues regarding a European approach to police science and was dedicated to discuss the report tabled by the respective CEPOL Project Group. Academic skills and scientific knowledge are playing an increasing role in many police forces and training institutes in EU Member States. To reflect this, CEPOL established a temporary project group in 2005, called "European Approach to Police Science". A group of six European experts (Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and United Kingdom) were tasked to explore the topic in light of increased demands for police cooperation across Europe and beyond. The Project Group presented their findings in April 2007 in a report that was made available publicly on CEPOL's website (a Short Summary and Full Report are available). Senior police officers, police trainers and police scientists were invited to share the insights and to join the debate to discuss the outcomes with distinguished international scholars at the conference in Münster, which as a CEPOL activity was organised by Germany with support from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Seventy-five participants from 23 European countries, and as from as far as Canada, gathered to discuss the following:
The chief objective of the conference was to open and widen the debate beyond the Project Group about a European Approach to Police Science, as well as find ways to develop a common strategy for the future. The conference participants were welcomed by the President of the German Police University, Klaus Neidhardt. In his welcome address, he stressed the importance of scientific approaches in modern police education systems and the need to bring together practical and research perspectives. The CEPOL-eDoc database was highlighted as one of the tools provided by CEPOL to help achieve this goal.
The Chairperson of CEPOL's Research and Science Working Group, Dr. Janos Fehérváry, Austria, welcomed the conference attendees on behalf of the CEPOL Presidency, Director and Chair of the Training and Research Committee. He emphasized CEPOL's efforts to harness research and science as useful tool for improved police training and education.
To facilitate debate as much as possible, the conference design arranged for a summary presentation of each chapter of the report, followed by a comment made by an invited scholar and a subsequent open discussion.
As a common point of origin for their internal deliberations and as a suggestion for a working term to the audience, the Project Group defined their subject of "Police Science" as: "The scientific study of the police as an institution and of policing as a process. As an applied discipline it combines methods and subjects of other neighbouring disciplines within the field of policing. It includes all of what the police do and all aspects from outside that have an impact on policing and public order. Currently it is a working term to describe police studies on the way to an accepted and established discipline. Police Science tries to explain facts and acquires knowledge about the reality of policing in order to generalise and to be able to predict possible scenarios." (Page 23 of the PGEAPS Report)
Dr. Cees Kwanten, Senior Researcher at the Police Academy of the Netherlands, opened the lecture-cycle with an account of the "History of Police Science". In his comprehensive review into historic roots of police science, he explored modern times approaches in former days Germany, France and the United Kingdom, especially emphasising the then prevailing governmental concepts and ideas of "Polizeywissenschaft", which used to be an academic discipline in the 18th and 19th century. He stressed the fundamental differences and the semantic shift of these earlier approaches against the 20th century notion of "police science" that emerged in the USA and Europe, leading to an increasing "body of knowledge" that could be considered as an emerging new academic, as well as applied, discipline.
In his comment on the first chapter presentation, Dr. Christian Mouhanna, former Director of Research of the French "Institut National des Hautes Etudes de Securite" (INHES) and scholar in the "Centre des Sociologie des Organisations in Paris, highlighted the inherent problems coming with a technocratic concept of police science when governments are led to use as "a means of communication" with the public in a top-down approach. He also touched upon the "historic legacy" of the '68-revolts that sparked a sort of adverse relationship between academics and the police in a number of European countries.
A summary of the second chapter, dealing with "Core Topics of Police Science" was presented by Professor Tore Bjørgo, Director of Research at the Norwegian Police University. At the outset he made clear that the intention had neither been to provide a "final" list of police science topics nor a comprehensive review of the existing literature. Instead, the focus was what kind of questions had been raised in the studies and projects concerned with police and policing and to illustrate that field by giving examples. In his abbreviated overview he touched upon studies and insights in the fields of politics and policing, the roles and functions of the police, strategies and styles of policing, managerial and organisational issues, including police culture, accountability and integrity among others. Based on his conclusion, that policing will increasingly become a knowledge-based activity for which police science could provide a more solid basis, he argued for more truly comparative European studies: "What is needed is not more 'comparative seminars' where representatives from different countries tell their stories about how policing is in their countries. Without comparable data, such exercises are of limited value. A far more ambitious approach is to develop systematic comparative studies based on shared methodological questionnaires and other instruments, used to collect and produce truly comparative data. National differences can then be used as variables to test hypotheses, build theory and evaluate practices in policing. This is the direction a truly European police science should move."
In his comment on the chapter and the presentation, Professor Jean-Paul Brodeur, Research Director at the International Centre for Comparative Criminology at the University of Montreal and an internationally renowned scholar in the field of police studies, first addressed the question if there is something European specific in the approach to police science. For him, the answer was positive for two reasons. Firstly, "police science" is a more ambitious programme compared with the "police studies" approach prevailing in the Anglo-Saxon academia. Secondly, the Europeans seem to be more inclined to a comparative perspective. His general comments dealt with three aspects: the feasibility of a framework of police science, the addition of more topics and finally its future prospects. For the first issue he mentioned the crucial difference between "hard" and "soft" sciences and the "in-between" position for a police science, that has to deal both with methodologies borrowed from the natural ("hard") sciences as well as with topics influenced by power, secrecy and privacy, which might leave some "black holes" for actual research efforts. He also pointed out the consequences of extending the research field from an institutional (the police) to a procedural perspective (policing). As for the second remark, the comprehensiveness of the list of research topics, he could not identify significant differences to the "Anglo-Saxon" research agenda. However, he mentioned a certain imbalance between studies concerned with patrol policing versus detectives' work on the one hand and rural versus urban policing on the other. Cross-border policing and police and policing under the condition of "societal transition" would also have to be considered to be added to the list. In his final comment concerning future steps, he recommended "to work in teams" to resolve the semantic issues caused by the "language problem". He also cautioned about a one-sided strategy of "knowledge-based policing" that is executed "from a distance" and would be exclusionary in effect. Instead a balance with inclusive strategies of policing would have to be envisaged.
Rob Mawby, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Law and Social Science and Director of the Community Justice Research Centre at the University of Plymouth, UK outlined the chapter of the report "From Police Science to Science of Policing" were the emphasis is upon the distinction between a structural (police as an institutional organisation) and a process-related (policing as a social activity) perspective. Turning towards the procedural approach "policing bodies" and activities beside and beyond the traditional state formation of police come to the fore and to the scientist's attention.
Based on empirical research in mainly the UK, United States and Canada he introduced a heuristic model where a principal decision is made between the "commissioners" and the "providers" of policing. While communities, the "private sector" and the "public sector" are seen as principle commissioners of policing, the provision of it could be executed by the public and private sectors, NGOs or the general public. Giving examples of the diverse possible empirical configurations of policing, Professor Mawby made a strong point for acknowledging the empirical "mulitlateralisation of police" and the new "mixed economy of policing", as well as the subsequent consequences for police science - or would it have to be rather a "science of policing"?
In his comment, Professor Otto Adang, Chair in Public Order Management at the Police Academy of the Netherlands and Visiting Professor at the Universities of Liverpool and Solna (Sweden), reinforced some of the points made in Prof. Mawby's presentation by illustrating recent developments in the management of policing international sport events and other public events, where active citizens, in-house security and hired guards routinely play a role. For him the increasing extension of "privately" controlled semi-public space (football stadiums, shopping centres, etc.) is a major factor in explaining this phenomenon. Acknowledging the increasing connections between "public" and "private" police, Professor Adang pointed out the notorious issues of accountability and reliability that come with this new situation and also the importance to be aware and know about it - both from a practitioner's as well as a researcher's point of view.
The sessions on Thursday were opened by Francisco Del Barrio Romero, a senior police officer and police trainer at the Police College of the Spanish National Police. He holds degrees in psychology and police science and is the Chair of CEPOL's Training & Research Committee and elaborated on the chapter "Police Science - A Philosophy of Science Approach". Clearly being the theoretically most challenging chapter of the report, Francisco del Barrio Romero chose to start from a rather idiosyncratic perspective to lead the audience through the deep waters of epistemological and methodological questions about the true scientific nature of an existing "body of knowledge" called "police science". Drawing an analogy to medicine as both a theoretical and applied science, he tried to exemplify the differences and trade-offs between what he called a 'monoscopic' versus a 'multiscopic' approach for acquiring new knowledge. He also pointed out the challenges to build a comprehensive view of "the police problem", while taking into account the "personal equation" - an inevitable reference to the insights of "methodological individualism".
The audience laughed when he ended his presentation by showing a cartoon of a scientist, who had scrabbled a rather complex formula on the board and come to a result by inserting a box saying " .and here a miracle takes place" - a reminder that police science has maybe still some way to go in developing a secured methodological status.
In his comment, Johannes Knutsson, Director of Research and professor in Criminology at the National Police Academy in Oslo, Norway and also holding a part-time position at the Swedish Police Academy, mentioned that he considered "police science" just a working term and highlighted what he missed as the "user's perspective": to perceive (scientific) knowledge as a product for use. He exemplified his point by referring to "POP" - "Problem-Oriented-Policing", a concept or philosophy of policing invented in the United States by Goldstein and subsequently exported to Europe. The introduction of POP into the Swedish police led, according to Professor Knutsson, to a "large scale fiasco" because the complexity of "applying the science", had been underestimated and not taken properly care of initially. Subsequently, lessons were learned and the necessary support infrastructure, including, manuals, textbooks, courses and a knowledge centre was set-up. In conclusion, he addressed the dilemmas when the cultures of police practice and academics encounter, proposing "cross-fertilisation" as the best way forward.
The chapter on "Police Science, Police Education and Police Training" was introduced by Professor Rob Mawby in replacement of Professor Milan Pagon, who was unable to attend the conference. A central topic here was the distinction between training and education in regard to the development of police officers and police as an organisation. According to the Project Group, the term 'training' relates rather to efforts to teach "the right answer" and is specifically "task related", while 'education' refers more to contextualisation and (critical) reflection. Although a certain degree of overlap in meaning of the concepts were acknowledged, Professor Mawby tried to point out the crucial difference by raising the question, whether parents would like to have "sex education" or "sex training" for their children in school. A shared understanding within the group of experts was that "training" is clearly not sufficient for professional police work. Addressed were issues of the level and extension of police education and training in the diverse European police systems and the role and significance of research and science within them. He pointed out that "Police Science" could offer valuable contributions both to training and education of police officers. Finally he addressed the contested question if police science research should be done within or outside of police institutions, where the internal approach would be preferable in regard to field access and impact of results, while external research would foster a more independent choice of topics.
In his commentary to this chapter, Professor Jaroslav Holomek, from the Bratislava School of Law and Alexander Dubcek University in Trencin, Slovakia acknowledged a necessary distinction between training and education is important. Crucial for him was the consideration who should be trained and who should be educated in the light of the particularities of the police job to be done, though not every police officer would need a college-level education. Police Science - or as he put it the "Science of Policing" - has a role to play in the development of policing, since science and technology have become foundations of modern training and education in general. Designing curricula in reference to a "mapping" of police task and a list of required competencies would enable the development of police training and education, that is closely linked to Police Science (as research and development) and police practice. Professor Holomek saw police research outside and inside the police as complementary, as one would safeguard the freedom of drawing conclusions, while the other could foster the practicality of research.
As the main objective of the 2007 CEPOL Research and Science Conference was to create debate and facilitate reflection of the report the Project Group had issued, ample time was reserved for communication among the participants and presenters apart from the chapter sessions. In the afternoon of the second day, an "Open Space Discussion Arena" was offered, where all participants organised themselves into smaller ad-hoc working groups to focus on certain issues raised during the conference. Topics chosen were:
The main results of the intense discussions in the groups were fixed on flip charts and exhibited and presented to everyone in the end.
On the third day, Professor Hans-Gerd Jaschke, who acted as the chair of the Project Group European Approach to Police Science and had recently left the then Polizeiführungsakademie (now DHPol) to resume his position as professor for Political Science at the FHVR University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Germany, addressed the particularities of an European approach against a background of fundamental changes in societies on the continent, like the shift from industrial to service based economies and the increasing social gap. He stressed that in the modern European area of freedom, justice and security, police need to be aware of these developments as they are supposed to be transparent and responsible in their service. Concluding, he pointed three main developmental elements for Police Science: the need of comparative studies, research on a truly European scale and the need to address both the police and the scientific community.
Dr. Günter P. Stummvoll, Researcher at the Institute for Legal and Criminal Sociology in Vienna, Austria, began by picking up the thread of societal change and its implications for police practice. He pointed out a tendency of the "normalisation of the irregular" in society resulting in "disorder" - understood in the broad sense - becoming normal, as an effect of the "second modernity". Making an entertaining point about a certain attitude when police practitioners are confronted with academics, he showed a clip from the film Monty Python's "Life of Brian", where a vigorous political activist (played by John Cleese) tries to incite anger in his fellows from the 'People's Front of Judea' by asking agitatedly: "What have the Romans ever done for us?" To no surprise he is not happy at the end when they come up with a number of useful things the Romans actually brought them. For Dr. Stummvoll, social scientists have to be given credit for a number of benefits to the police, like helping to understand modern society in general, pointing out intended and unintended consequences of policing styles or the importance of trust between police and the public - and even the hard-nosed police practitioners would have to admit that the social scientists have brought them statistics, he summarised with a wink.
For the last session of the conference, the organisers invited a panel of international observers to comment on what they have heard during the conference, moderated by Professor Claudia Rademacher (DHPol). Representing a broad range of expertise both from the academic and the training field, Professor Jean-Paul Brodeur (Canada), Dr. Hans-Joachim Heuer (Germany), Dr. Christian Mouhanna (France) and the Director of Europol, Mr. Max-Peter Ratzel, formed the panel. Speaking from an experienced practitioners point of view, Max-Peter Ratzel expressed a certain reluctance about the offerings a European Police Science would have to make, but acknowledged the merits and benefits of the effort and emphasized the complementary nature of the relationship between police practice and police science. In contrast, Dr. Mouhanna saw police and researchers sometimes worlds apart. His list of concerns included research being inhibited (in some countries); struggling about what was the reality they are taking about, to rejection of findings because they were deemed politically inopportune.
Dr Heuer turned to the status of Police Science as a potentially new academic discipline and suggested to distinguish between three levels, where macro studies would deal with methodology and philosophies of policing, the meso level would address organisational aspects and the micro level would be concerned with daily routines and individual decision making. He also called for studies identifying the "core European competencies" needed for police officers.
In his statements Professor Brodeur raised a number of issues, ranging from the proportionality of police education and salaries, the deficiencies of the so-called 'knowledge society' in leaving whole groups behind, the limited prospects of 'soft sciences' with no definite final results in political environments, to police and policing being considered as "dirty subjects" of sociology because of the sometimes potentially ambiguous character of police work. In regard to police science he stated that the purpose of science is indeed to make discoveries. Using a comparison with medical science he pointed out that while there are few discoveries made about the principle functions of the body, the bulk of research is applied science to make progress in practical areas like pharmacy or radiology. For police science he sees a reversed situation: a lot of research has yet to be conducted about the subject of policing, before relevant progress can be made in the research for areas of applied policing.
The 2007 CEPOL European Police Research and Science Conference set out as its main objective to present and discuss the report drawn up by the Project Group on European Police Science, titled "Perspectives of Police Science in Europe". If there is one unanimous result from the conference, it is that the participants consented that there is a "body of knowledge" generated by research and science that is useful, maybe even needed not only to the police as an organisation, but also the practicing police officer on different levels of tasks. However, not everyone was convinced that "Police Science" is the most fitting term to call it. The vibrancy and spiritedness of the discussions during the presentations and in the ad-hoc working groups made clear that research and science is an inevitable dimension of modern police work and a growing community of police officers, trainers, administrators are becoming aware of the developments and think of taking advantage of the opportunity. What also became obvious, that the often cited "clash of cultures" between practitioners and academics is still an issue in certain countries and in certain politically loaded settings, but relations seem to have improved over recent years. There is some evidence of a process of mutual approximation, where the call for "applicable research" is taken more seriously by the scientific community, while the police have become more relaxed and sovereign about acknowledging critical research and more prepared to take the complexity of issues into account. The conference was certainly a noticeable step in the process and the CEPOL - European Police College will continue to be a part of it. The next landmark is already in sight: the 2008 CEPOL European Police Research and Science Conference, which will take place in Austria.
The 2006 CEPOL European Police Research and Science Conference took place at Bramshill, United Kingdom, on 11-13 September 2006.
The theme of the conference was 'Policing Public Order”. Keeping the public peace is at the core of police tasks. However, in a world increasingly shaped by personal mobility and globalised media, public social events tend to be influenced by and seem to have an impact on, incidents beyond the actual locale. In Europe, news about urban riots or terrorist attacks in one of the Member States has become a normal part of the evening news. Other major public events like sport tournaments or meetings of high-ranking officials are also drawing attention in terms of how police services are dealing with the risk coming with it.The conference dedicated four sessions on particular topics of this area, where core issues were highlighted of public order policing in contemporary Europe by examining particular case studies relating to recent events:
The conference also gave participants the opportunity to learn about the ongoing CEPOL Research and Science project a European Approach to Police Science.
Keynote speakers at the conference were high-profile senior police officers and distinguished academics representing France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Slovak Republic and United Kingdom.
The 2006 conference comprised of a mix of plenary sessions and workshops focusing on research findings in the light of police recruiting, training, learning and evaluation. The Conference also examined how science and practice are with the focus on both academic and practical. The workshops provided participants with an opportunity to present and discuss data from most of European Union countries and were interactive.
The 2005 CEPOL European Police Research and Science Conference took place at Lisbon, Portugal on 15-17 June 2005 and was organised by the Instituto Superior de Polícia Judiciária e Ciências Criminais.
The 2005 Lisbon Conference was the third CEPOL European Police Research & Science Conference to take place. The previous two in 2003 and 2004 showed a strong gap between research and practice. Lack of communication between scientific researchers and police officers could, it seemed, be traced to different kinds of factors, namely the profiles and techniques used to recruit and select trainee police officers and, to some extent, even senior police officers and police trainers or teachers, the training and learning provided by police academies, and the values and techniques used to assess police work, which tended to privilege more the experience and the practical skills of a police officers, rather than the scientific or technical skills.
Taking into consideration the lack of communication between scientific researchers and police officers and its possible link to police selection, learning, training and evaluation, CEPOL considered that police researchers and police officers should have a special forum to discuss state-of-the-art in the field of scientific research and scientific assessment in police recruiting, training, learning and evaluation. Consequently the first day of the 2005 Conference was dedicated to the presentation and discussion of the role of scientific methodologies and techniques in police selection and recruiting. The second day was dedicated to the presentation and discussion of the role of scientific methodologies and techniques in police learning and training. The third day was dedicated to the presentation and discussion of scientific methodologies and techniques that were being used, or that could be used, to assess the medium and long-term organisational and social outcomes of police learning and training.
Sixteen keynote speakers presented at the 2005 Conference. Three from the Netherlands, two from the UK, one from Germany, one from Poland, one from Hungary and eight from the organising country Portugal. The presentations provided very useful information about the scientific research and assessment of police recruiting, training, learning and evaluation in Europe, and supported deep and systematic discussions in the several workshops that were held during the conference.
Sixty-three participants attended the 2005 conference from 21 different European Union countries (plus one participant from Norway and two from Brazil). All participants were asked to bring systematic and organised information about the role of scientific research and assessment in police recruiting, training, learning and evaluation in their own countries. This contributed to excellent results in the workshops and the conference.
The presentations and the workshop discussions and suggestions showed that science and research still plays a minor role in police recruiting, training, learning and evaluation in most European countries. This is particularly true in what concerns learning and training needs assessment and reaction assessment. However, the conference also helped to highlight that there is valuable research going on and that all European Police organisations could benefit from these results. Most participants agreed that there is no immediate need for standardisation of police training and learning assessment models. However, harmonisation, in terms of learning from each other, seems to be very important and to justify this type of conference.
The 2005 Conference showed that future conferences could provide a high return on investment, that is, a financial benefit to CEPOL and Police organisations against the expenditure incurred when sending participants. Lessons drawn from the presentations and workshops may actually help to save money in the future, in the sense that they may prevent investments in methodologies or techniques that do not appear to work.
The 2004 CEPOL European Police Research and Science Conference took place in Prague, Czech Republic on 9-12 November 2004.
The conference asked the questions: How can the police profit from science? What is police science? How can police science inform police training and police practice?
Held at the Police Academy of the Czech Republic in Prague, the conference offered a good opportunity for researchers and practitioners in the field of policing to meet and discuss the conditions for a closer cooperation with regard to a qualitative improvement of police work in the future.
The conference first presented a platform for general discussion of the definition and function of police science, and secondly focused on two major problems for the police to cope with:
The thematic input of altogether eight keynote speakers was further discussed in workshops in the afternoon. The aim of the conference was to exchange knowledge and experience from research and practice and to improve cooperation between research, training and practice.
Police Science as a discipline or subject?
The debate about the function and self-understanding of science in the field if policing focused on the question of how to integrate police science into the academic landscape, either as an own discipline that draws on theories and methodologies from sociology, criminology, psychology, politics, public management, information technology, etc., or as a subordinate subject within those disciplines. In discussions it quickly became clear that police research had a better chance to inform police practice if it were integrated in a well-established and self-assured discipline – or as a "police doctrine", as RNDr. Jaroslav Holomek from the Slovak Police Academy called it.
Police Science then should be a practical science or applied science with a clear normative purpose: To inform the police about good-practice concepts. This is not self-evident. On the one hand professional market research institutes often have no political interest in the transformation of results into practice. On the other hand, social scientists often focus on methodology, for example statistical data analysis, hermeneutics, discourse analysis, etc., and simply borrow "material" from the subject of policing in order to test their methods. With regard to CEPOL activities, however, it was generally agreed that police science should act as a consultant for police management and police training.
"Police science is a system of scientific findings on policing, on the conditions, means and methods of its performance; on the police as an institution, its functioning, organisation and management as well as professional training and education of police officers ." Jaroslav Holomek
Bridging the gap between science and practice
The relation between police research, police training and police practice was regarded as problematic. In a historical analysis of scientific police-literature Prof. Rainer Prätorius, professor for public administration at the Universität der Bundeswehr in Hamburg and at the University of Minnesota, comes to the conclusion that despite an abundance of case-studies and critical reflection upon police practice there is a lack of systematic impact on police training and policing strategies. Looking at the history of police research in the U.S., it is significant that studies were mainly conducted as a reaction to changes in policing (community policing, zero-tolerance policing, problem-oriented policing etc.), which again responded to historical crises and tensions between police and society (ghetto- and campus riots, Rodney King, terrorism, etc.). Instead we have to ask how police science as a discipline can redirect the routine-practice of policing in relation to basic features of society.
Dr. Klaus Neidhardt, Director of the Polizei-Führungsakademie in Münster, Germany, identified several reasons for the apparent divide between the theory of scientists and experience of practitioners. The simplest reason is that researchers and practitioners do not know each other or ignore each other. Then the different language can be an obstacle for communication, but so can be the prejudice as the reason why practitioners cannot find an advantage from research results for their purposes. But even if this advantage is recognised, administrative or financial obstructions prevent possibilities for reforms. Additionally, police science comes across as a pending discipline under construction that lacks institutionalisation. Therefore police research must develop clear objectives for goals, motifs, content and realisation. Research outcomes must be assessable and understandable and should be integrated into police manuals in the police education system.
From riot control to the management of public order policing
The presentations of the keynote speakers on research in the field of crisis management in mass-events and domestic violence were considered exemplary models that should be followed in the future. Prof. Otto Adang, Research Manager at the Dutch Police Academy, declared that we can do a lot to prevent confrontations of football hooligans before the escalation, if we understand the psychological mechanisms of the origin of violence. For that we need to consider ingroup and outgroup mechanisms and avoid friction between opponents through communication prior to a potential confrontation. For that we need to analyse situations where frictions may arise. Furthermore it is important to understand that one should not treat every fan as a hooligan and that sometimes more police in high-risk situations can actually spark an escalation. Adang showed some empirical evidence as experienced in a field research at the European football Championships 1988 in Germany.
Police practitioners and police managers can better adjust themselves during preparations for mass-events if they study violence with regard to specific groups and the specific circumstances that lead to an escalation of violence. In short: Police can do a lot to prevent violence but only very little to stop it. This theory was put into practice during the Euro 2000 in the Netherlands and Belgium when early and focused interventions and active fan-contacts were applied in a preventive rather than repressive practice. The biggest challenge for police then is to be just but strict and friendly but firm. On the management level it was found that shared knowledge in an international co-operation is indispensable if simple riot control shall be transformed into advanced public order management.
Police research on domestic violence
Prof. Jennifer Brown, former research manager for the police and currently professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Surrey, presented a comprehensive domestic violence research programme, comprising studies on victim complaints about police practice, the investigative process and "attrition" of cases, offender behaviour and on offender profiling. Each study has a number of implications for police practice and police training. In a similar study Dr. Costas Veis, social researcher at the Cyprus Police and lecturer at the Police Academy in Cyprus, co-ordinated an evaluation study of the police training for handling cases of domestic violence and a victim survey about the satisfaction with police.
From all the research presented it became clear that, first, police is subject to the same stereotypes concerning victims, context of rape and sexual harassment and offenders as the general public. Police officers also tend to classify victims and offenders following social knowledge from the media, films and newspapers. Secondly, police officers are no better at detecting deception than the general public due to pre-investigative attitudes towards the complainant. Police research has the commitment to test whether police training has a significant effect on officer attitudes, knowledge and skills, on overall case handling and finally on the quality of case investigation. Overall, various police research on domestic violence has the potential to give objective feedback to the police about their performance and thus can play an important role as a mediator between the police and the public.
Policing as a political response
We must understand that – as history shows – police research often responds to crises in the development of modern society. Police science therefore has to relate policing to social developments and provide answers to social change and to the challenges for politics such as ethnic conflicts or terrorism. The example of the development of a modern professional police in the history of Greece shows very well the difficult position of the police between a political regime and everyday social order. As Dr. Effi Lambropoulou, Associate Professor of Criminology at the Department of Sociology in the Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences in Athens explained, police must serve the political system and the public at the same time. Policing is subject to political regimes and consequently has to cope with political movements in civil society. Mrs. Lambropoulou also showed the administrative complexity in the preparation of a security system for the Olympics 2004. Traffic control strategies had to be combined with boarder-control and the control against terror-attacks in accordance with policing at the sports-events.
Very often police training has to rely on individual "art & craft – knowledge" that is vaguely transformed into general concepts of policing. In addition to the conventional way of learning from local and individual experience that is informally passed on from one police officer to another, police science can offer advice in a more systematic way. Police research therefore has to study the effectiveness, efficiency and performance of policing. What is needed is a specification of the organisation and management of the police and a definition of clear guidelines for everyday activities. However, it is not the aim to turn police officers into scientists, on the other hand police training cannot do without practical experience of police officers. Police science has the task to study police practice, evaluate it under the premises of validity and reliability, apply a variety of methods, develop theories that are grounded on empirical facts, and eventually instruct police training for an advanced police performance.
To achieve this it is essential to overcome the "cultural divide" between science and practice: Both sides – researchers and practitioners – should listen to each other, learn from each other and should be prepared to transform knowledge into new practice. This mutual approach also means that the police must be open minded for critical self-reflection and constructive critique.
Police science can inform the police in two ways: First, conclusions from research can flow into teaching manuals and training to finally improve police performance. Secondly, police science can directly inform the management of policing not only during mass-events, but also in everyday practice. Research on good-practice models should be disseminated and exchanged in meetings and conferences where practitioners and scientists meet. The recent conference has certainly contributed to that aim.
Consequences for CEPOL
As a final speaker Prof. Cyrille Fijnaut, senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Tilburg University in The Netherlands and Faculty of Law at the University in Leuven in Belgium, gave a critical assessment of the current situation of the interplay between research and practice in the field of policing. According to Fijnaut, "... this interplay has been very limited and almost non-existent until now. Not many senior police officers today are familiar with research results and not many police researchers conduct comparative research."
This has several reasons: first, there has never been a foundation like CEPOL as an institution to further this interplay, and neither EUROPOL nor the European Commission has strongly urged the distribution or link of police research in the European countries. Second, there has never been a medium like a journal on policing, where research had been widely accessible. Third, in many member-states police research is missing at all. Given these deficiencies, Fijnaut recognised a historical chance for CEPOL to develop as a high-grade institution where science and training are equally important. CEPOL should be committed to further international research and establish new communication channels to foster teamwork on police science in Europe. To achieve this, Fijnaut suggested:
With these reasonable suggestions the mission of CEPOL as the ultimate police training- and research institution in Europe could be strengthened.
The 2003 CEPOL European Police Research and Science Conference 'Interplay between Research, Education & Practice' took place in Sörentorp, Sweden on 1-3 December 2003.
The Swedish National Police Academy organised the conference with participants from 20 countries. The overriding theme for the conference was the interplay between research, education and practice – a theme which of course is of outmost importance when research and policing is on the agenda.
To give the conference a Nordic touch, four of the key note speakers represented Scandinavian research environments. The idea was to try to give an impression of the different ways in which police research is organised in the Nordic countries. Sweden has had a research department at the Police Academy that, however, has been closed down. Norway has a research department at its Academy that was set up in 1992; Denmark has not and Finland has a unit at one of its training institutions. Besides the Scandinavian speakers, three speakers from other countries were invited; from Germany, United Kingdom and USA.
Ms Birgit Hansson, Director of the Swedish National Police Academy opened the conference and welcomed all the delegates. Mr Ulf Göransson, the Administrative Director of CEPOL secretariat, explained the role of CEPOL before Mr János Fehérváry, Chairman of Research and Science Committee of CEPOL, gave his opening address. Mr Fehérváry gave a historical account of the development within CEPOL in the area of police science and policing. The idea is to create a forum where vital issues can be discussed and the interaction between academia and police might be strengthened. A very important step has been taken in the creation of a research data base, making it possible to get scientific knowledge available in a easy manner.
The conference was organised with two speakers giving their presentations, after which followed workshops where all participants could discuss important issues brought up by the speakers and, moreover, where implications for training and practice could be analysed.
The first speaker was Mr Gunnar Thomassen from the National Police Academy in Oslo who talked about “Police research in Norway: The impact on police accountability”. In his presentation Mr Thomassen gave an account of the development of police research and what it has accomplished. Mr Thomassen, using a study carried out at the Academy on the handling of complaints against the police as an example, argued that the research, in fact, made a difference. The study has had an impact in the discussion of and suggestions for reforms as how these types of complaints shall be handled by the system of justice.
The next speaker was Mr Risto Honkonen from the Police College of Finland who talked about “The roles of formal education and work based learning in the process of becoming a commanding police officer”. In his presentation masculinity was a crucial concept, since, according to Mr Honkonen, masculinity is a cultural descriptor of the police organisation. Career decisions are not simply a matter of the position to achieve in the organisation, it is also a decision about what kind of masculinity a male police officer wants and may realise. Mr Honkonen made a difference between physical and aristocratic masculinity, where aristocratic masculinity means both showing a high moral standard and being physical and active.
Becoming a commanding officer means choosing the aristocratic masculinity. Furthermore, for a training to be efficient, it is important to distinguish between what should be taught in a formal educational setting and what should be learnt in practical training.
Ms Gloria Laycock from the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, University College London, talked about ”Why do practitioners need crime science research?”. The purpose of crime science, which is a newly developed field of research, is to improve our understanding of crime and its causes and that thereby helping us in preventing crimes and reducing disorder, and when that is not possible, enabling us to more efficiently catch criminals. The aim is thus to produce knowledge with a very practical content. As for prevention, Ms Laycock argued for the power of the behavioural context and the preventive effects that may be achieved by changing situational factors. For detection, technical innovations in the area of DNA and other areas might prove to be very helpful. (for those who wants to know more, a visit to the website www.jdi.ucl.ac.uk is recommended.)
Mr Mike Scott from University of Wisconsin, US, talked about “Implementing Problem-Oriented Policing”. Problem-Oriented Policing is a new framework both for the practice of policing and for the management of police agencies. A core element is that police are not simply dealing with individual crimes and incidents, but with problems. By carefully analysing problems the police will be able to respond to them in a more efficient manner. This calls for engaging others who is in position to affect the causes that creates problems.
To carry out Problem-Oriented Policing it is necessary to create a body of knowledge based on research and practice. Even if the idea of Problem-Oriented Policing has been known for some time, it is rarely found implemented in its true sense. Chiefs of police must support it and let it be known among the police officers that this is what is expected of them. Line officers must also be supported and given a significant role in identifying problems, analysing them and developing and implementing responses. As part of the presentation Mr Scott demonstrated a web site constructed for the support of Problem-Oriented Policing – www.popcenter.org.
Mr Johannes Knutsson from the Swedish National Police Academy, made a presentation over the theme “Police Use of Firearms in Sweden and Norway”. The situation is extremely interesting with two in many aspects similar societies. However, when it comes to policing there is one significant difference – Sweden has a regularly armed police force and Norway an unarmed. All Norwegian officers are trained in the use of firearms and may use them in about the same situations as their Swedish colleagues, but may only arm themselves by order of a chief of police.
The consequences of this difference in policy were demonstrated using all incidents where police in service had used their weapons since mid 1980 as empirical base. Swedish officers fired their arms five times more often when control was made for differences in population size. In absolute numbers 30 incidents per year occurred in Sweden and three in Norway. Norwegian officers fired their arms in controlled situations involving organised teams with longer distances between firing officer and target compared to Sweden, where an ordinary uniformed patrol shot in emergency situations of self-defence at close distance.
The last speaker representing a Nordic country was Mr Lars Holmberg from the Institute of Legal Science, University of Copenhagen, who talked about “Police use of Discretion – Discrimination in Practice”. Mr Holmberg had observed the police in the field and argued that police discretion was a consequence of two forms of power; the power of definition and the power of procedure. By using stereotypes based on experience, the police will scrutinise some kinds of people more than other, where “regular customers” are at risk. When it comes to give – or not to give – formal reactions, the same mechanism is at work. “Good” citizens stand a better chance of lenient treatment than does a regular customer. This means that police act discriminatory. One way of diminishing this practice, is increasing supervision. But that will not help alone. Police must present the citizens with reasons for their interference and act under the presumption of innocence as guiding principle.
Mr Thomas Feltes, University of Bochum, Germany, presented a paper with the title “Immigration, integration and insecurity – the role of police ethics and training”. Multicultural conflicts will, as a consequence of immigration and migration, become a challenge for the police within a unified Europe. Migration brings people with different languages, cultures, economic standards and races together. The backsides are the negative aspects of these processes; increased fear, conflicts and xenophobia among large groups. In order to handle this situation the ethical standard of the police must be high. To improve it, methods must be utilised that take into account the police culture, since police culture easily can become a major obstacle. Given this challenge, Mr Feltes argued that within training programmes for police officers, communication and conflict solution skills will assume an importance equal to that of law and other important subjects.
Last in the programme, Mr Detlef Nogala from Max-Planck-Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, presented the CEPOL Research and Science Database. It is a database where abstracts from research reports will be stored and made easily available for police colleges and other interested in the field. Specially appointed correspondents from the different participating countries will supply the information in the database.
In the closing remarks Ms Beatrice Rydberg from the organising committee was especially mentioned and thanked for her excellent work.
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