Polisstudent, kopparstick

Research at the Faculty of Police Work, University of Borås

The research environment at the Faculty of Police Work is in its infancy. While we certainly are home to several well-respected researchers already, the research environment itself is under construction.

Micael Björk is professor in sociology at the University of Gothenburg and visiting professor (head of research) at the Faculty of Police Work, University of Borås.

Bild på Micael Björk

The Police Education Programme started up at the University of Borås in 2019 and the Policing Research Group (FPS, for its Swedish name, Forskargruppen för polisära studier) was founded in January 2021.

FPS conducts research on the work of policing and other safety and security work in deprived areas, as well as crime prevention in schools, legal conditions for urban development, and the connection between crime and lack of place management in urban environments. The history of policing and suicide research are also represented.

An important element in FPS is that both researchers with doctorates and police teachers are included. There are several reasons for this mix. One is that we want to bridge the non-communication that has often characterised the relationship between police and science. Another is that we want to maintain the connection between research and teaching; the path from knowledge production to practical work is important to us.

To this end, the group’s head of research has held a number of lunch meetings with police teachers at the Faculty. What they requested was more research on, for example, tactical medical care, planned risk-taking in driving police vehicles, and collaboration difficulties in crime prevention work.

This focus on applied science is linked to three broader research themes under which the individual projects are placed. This includes implementation linked to effective policing methods as well as the challenges in deprived areas (anti-gang initiatives, public security work, new construction, etc.). We have also identified a need to continue to shed light on the organisation and management of policing. The organisational issues are also linked to the collaboration (samverkan) that characterises so much of the work related to public safety and security and crime fighting today.

Overall, FPS follows a programme for applied police research. The programme is based on three principles: identify research questions in the field; involve police in the studies; and be mindful of the implementation and usefulness of the research.

In the spring of 2022, Working Papers from the Faculty of Police Work will be published; the first volume deals with applied police research. An FPS seminar series will also start up with three occasions in the spring of 2022. Recruitment for doctoral students will be announced (including in collaboration with Malmö University) and FPS will be involved in arranging the Nordic Police Research Conference 2023.

Three specific research projects can be mentioned:

  • 2020–2022, Implementation of the SafeGrowth method, City of Helsingborg (funded by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention and the City of Helsingborg). Charlotta Thodelius participates.
  • 2020–2022, The Case of Norrby: Analyses and Interventions (funded by the Centre for Welfare Studies at the University of Borås). Micael Björk and Charlotta Thodelius participate.
  • 2021–2025, An Analysis Model for Social Sustainability – with Law as the Navigation System (funded by the Framtiden Group in the City of Gothenburg). Therese Bäckman participates.

In conclusion, it should be noted that there is significant research relevant to policing being conducted at the other Faculties at the University of Borås. These include pre-hospital healthcare, the search for missing persons, risky transports, viable organisations, and information practices on the Internet. In addition, FPS shares the university’s vision that research should be linked both to the needs of our educational programmes and the needs of society at large.

Link to an article about the research environment (in Swedish)