OSCAR Development Centre: Open Source Communications, Analytics and Research

Lead institution
Universities Police Science Institute, Cardiff University

Project contact
Professor Martin Innes

Collaborating partners


​* National Counter-Terrorism Functions
* South Wales Police
* West Midlands Police
* Surrey Police
* Sussex Police

​* Cardiff Council
* Safer Sutton Partnership


Summary of activities
The OSCAR Centre is a new multi-disciplinary centre bringing together academics and practitioners to develop the evidence base and skills base around the use of open source information for policing and public safety. It is led by the Universities' Police Science Institute, part of Cardiff University's Crime and Security Research Institute.

Project aims
The focus of the centre reflects how more of social life and its associated problems now have a digital footprint, posing challenges to policing and security agencies worldwide.

The work of the centre will span the full range of policing and public safety issues, from national to neighbourhood security, helping to develop innovative methodologies, technologies and insights that will shape the future of policing.

Project activities
The centre operates using techniques designed to enable creative and innovative policy and practice development. These include:

  • peer knowledge exchange events where practitioners and academics work together to clarify key questions, problems and best practices
  • 'Red Team Tests' - 'red teaming' is a dynamic action learning method for challenging and critiquing current policy or past operations
  • evidence camps - intensive executive education courses that increase practitioners' research literacy and understanding of how open source methods provide new forms of evidence
  • policy development 'simulations', based upon replaying past incidents in a controlled way to determined what worked, what didn't and what lessons for policy were learned.