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& Technology
in Policing

Open Science

Within a complex organisational structure, the Office of the Police Chief Scientific Adviser (OPCSA) is setting out Open Science best practices, supporting forces in achieving them, and leading by example.

Science in policing occurs in the 43 police forces of England and Wales, Police Scotland, PSNI, the NCA, and the College of Policing. Each of these organisations operates independently. Many have internal teams undertaking research and innovation. All have science collaborations with industry and academia.

To manage this complexity, we consider Open Science at three tiers: CSA-led science that is funded or undertaken by OPCSA. This is under our control, so we lead by example; force-led science that is funded by a force or force-based capability. This is subject to NPCC best practice principles and CSA support; collaborator-led science that is undertaken by academia or industry partners. This is shaped by wider community norms with our encouragement. Our ambition is to make CSA-led and force-led practices indistinguishable (i.e., forces comply with CSA best practice). We will work with UKRI and others to promote Open Science standards among collaborators.

We pursue five Open Science pillars that ensure we pre-register our research (Preregistered), make our materials, data and findings free to access (open data, open materials, and open access), and engage the community when prioritising and assessing work (citizen science).

Researchers who seek access to data will be pleased to hear that we are developing a single application route for prospective projects, to aid transparency and support.