rows of police officers at an examination ceremony

Project: A good police(education)

How can we explain why the academicization of Swedish police education has not been completed, despite several public inquiries advocating this since the 1975 police reform and the 1977 higher education reform? Over the past forty years, several welfare professions have been academicized in Sweden. However, the police education stands out as an interesting deviating example.

Project information

Project title
A good police(education). Double messages and self-inflicted initiatives in an academicization process
Project manager
Magnus Persson
Other project members
Cecilia Jonsson, Mattias Örnerheim
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University
Centre for Police Research and Development
30 Sept 2021–30 Sept 2024
Police Science (Department of Criminology and Police Work, Department of Social Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences)

More about the project

In recent decades, academization has been the international trend for police education. Although such plans have been called off for the Swedish police education, it has, in its capacity of contract education in an academic setting, undergone an academic densification. The purpose of the study is to investigate the form and content of academic densification in police education as well as the connection of academization to police organisation and practical police work.

This project aims to explore the process and state of academization of the police education in Sweden and in the Nordic countries. The Swedish police education has never been fully incorporated in the academic system like other welfare professions. Ambition to realize such an incorporation do exist though. Two different Official Reports of the Swedish Government (SOU 2008:39; SOU 2016:39) advocate academization and leading representatives of the police education universities claim that they are ready to take full responsibility for the training (Jonsson & Persson 2023). The Swedish police training has been located to academic institutions as contract education since 2000. In this organisation the National Police Authority (NPA) finance and regulate the educational contents through the program syllabus while the universities execute the actual training. Most of the training is carried out by teachers employed by NPA even if it takes place within the framework of the academic system of curricula and higher education credits. Even though the plans for the academization of the Swedish police training came off, it can be noticed how academic density of the police training, created by the universities, has taken place since the training was placed at the universities. For example: the academic discipline of police work has been acknowledged as a main field of study, the police training gives university credits, Police research centers has been established and academic courses that follow the basic training for the police in police work are offered (Jonsson & Persson 2023)

In collaboration between research and practice, problematizing academization and strengthening knowledge of the relationship between police education, academia and the police profession is important for the question of professionalization and what a police officer should know in order to meet the challenges of working life. The study contributes to a knowledge-based discussion about the form and content of a good police officer (education).