Within this research program, the scientific interpretation and substantiation is provided for an evidence-based police practice. We also analyze (new) issues for the police (function). The central questions are how police action works, in what circumstances that action works, and for whom and by whom it works.
The College of Policing in England defines evidence-based policing as follows: in the evidence-based policing practice, police officers and related officers create, assess and use the best available evidence to shape and question their policies, practices and decisions. The research program contributes to strengthening and expanding the best available evidence on topics that are important to the police.
Due to the broad task of the police, we study a variety of subjects. Some research projects focus on violence by and against the police. We also work from the idea that the problems for which society calls on the police are not limited to crime alone. For that reason, various studies focus on the questions citizens turn to the police with, and how the police can respond to those questions. In addition, police work is teamwork and for that reason some projects are aimed at organizing and training for successful cooperation.
We make use of theories that explain the outcomes of interactions between police and citizens, such as procedural justice, deterrence theory, opportunity theories and street-level bureaucracy. Projects strive for designs with the highest possible internal validity. In concrete terms, we want to achieve this by systematically synthesizing research results on the basis of systematic literature reviews. Ideally, we do this with meta-analyses and empirical research designs that score as high as possible on the Maryland Scientific Methods Scale. Whereas meta-analyses traditionally focus mainly on determining the effect of a certain intervention or approach, our projects explicitly consider the explanatory mechanisms, the extent to which research results are context-specific, and what significance they can have for Dutch police practice, and what considerations can be made with regard to the costs of implementation against the expected benefits. In many projects, innovative research techniques and large datasets form the basis of the research. For example, we use image analysis from CCTV cameras and bodycams. We use agent-based modeling for simulation research when real-life experimentation encounters practical or ethical objections. Finally, we use large-scale analyzes of data from Dutch control rooms and the Basic Enforcement Service of the Dutch police.
The police program is a collaboration between the National Police, the Ministry of Justice and Security and the NSCR. The NSCR is responsible for the development and implementation, but works together with the Police, the Police Academy, universities in the Netherlands and abroad, universities of applied sciences and other knowledge institutions.