Outlook: paradoxes, paradigms and pluralism - reflections on the future challenges for police science in Europe
In this contribution the author explores two challenges for the future development of police science in Europe. The first challenge concerns the need to become ‘smarter’ in terms of making research evidence ‘part of the conversation’ about police policy and practice. This challenge emerges from the paradox that police science is viewed by some as a ‘successful failure’: ‘successful’ in the sense that the production of knowledge about policing in Europe and elsewhere has never been greater; but a ‘failure’ in the sense that many claim that the application of knowledge to improve police policy and practice remains limited.
The second challenge to be explored in this chapter is around the importance of sustaining a degree of pluralism within police science. Rather than just thinking about police science in narrowly instrumental terms, in which research is expected to have a direct impact on the actions of front-line practitioners, the author concludes that there is the need to embrace the different uses of research (from instrumental to conceptual), the different types of interventions that researchers make into public discourse about policing, and the different institutions that exist within a European context to promote the development and use of police research.
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