Police Research and Public Health

  • Jyoti Belur
Reference work entry


This chapter examines the challenges involved in conducting face-to-face research with police officers with respect to their work in sensitive areas or with hard-to-reach populations. The intersection between law enforcement and public health is drawing greater academic attention through the concept of harm reduction policing (Ratcliffe 2015). The refocusing of police attention from concentrating purely on crime to reducing harmful effects on individuals and the community has created an emerging social space that needs further exposition. The changing nature of policing and a rise in societal demands for security has increased the overlap between law enforcement and public health. This chapter lays down some basic guidelines to aid researchers operating in this space based on the author’s personal experience and drawing upon the research experience of others working in this area. It begins by identifying fundamental features of policing culture that make it a sensitive organization to access and research. It then discusses the difficulties in approaching gatekeepers and negotiating access to police data and individual officers. The discussion then focuses on the experience and implications of researching the police organization as an insider and/or as an outsider (Brown 1996). Finally, ethical and practical considerations involved in carrying out this kind of research are discussed.


Public health research LEPH Police research Access negotiation Research aims Researcher status 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Security and Crime ScienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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