Getting the grease to the squeak: Understanding the operational and cultural context in which science, technology and evidence can enhance police practices and procedures

Research Institution / Organisation

Northumbria University

Level of Research


Project Start Date

October 2015

Research Context

To critically examine police officers’ receptivity toward scientific and evidence-based policing (EBP) practices and procedures.


  • To establish current levels of knowledge and understanding of EBP amongst frontline officers.
  • To examine officers’ perception of EBP and scientific processes as relevant to their role. 
  • To identify cultural factors behind police officer receptivity and adoption of EBP procedures within their workplace.
  • To make recommendations for an effective strategy to harness the strength of police cultural factors

Research Methodology

​A mixed method of ethnographical research, using documentary analysis and surveys, will be used to examine officers’ understanding of EBP and in turn their attitudes towards EBP and scientific based approaches within an individual British policing organisation.

Primary data will be collected using survey questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The initial survey questionnaire will be based upon the key areas of officers’ first hand experiences of EBP practices and their understanding of its purpose. The semi-structured interviews with officers will be used to gather an in-depth understanding of the cultural factors which influence the successful adoption of EBP practices within a policing organisation at street level.

Secondary data will be obtained from academic literature, force and national statistics and will be examined in the context of the primary data obtained from within the organisation. This is in an attempt to provide a current and comprehensive picture of officer receptivity towards EBP in British policing and in turn how the positive aspects of police culture may be used to their best advantage.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

September 2019
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