CORDIS - EU research results

COmparative POlice Studies In The Eu

Final Report Summary - COMPOSITE (COmparative POlice Studies In The Eu)

Executive Summary:
Police forces in the EU face serious challenges. Integration in the EU has increased the need for cross force collaboration. Technology has created new capabilities for criminals but also possibilities for the police. Changes in the public opinion and in political expectations have created extra challenges.
Responses to these challenges and exploitation of opportunities require major changes to the culture and structure of police forces, but these are far from trivial and how they need to be implemented differs from one country to another. So far, change management in police organizations has not been addressed in a comparative interdisciplinary study with a European scope. Based on a study of police forces in 10 countries across Europe COMPOSITE will improve the planning and execution of change initiatives in the police, show how these projects can be better aligned with the cultural and societal context per country and explain how the negative process effects can be mitigated. A further aim is to improve both the individual police organization per country and joint European capabilities.
The consortium contains universities, business schools, police academies, a technological research institute and consultancy firms. Police forces from the 10 countries are involved in the research and the dissemination phase of the project and they intend to use the results.

Details about impact creation have been provided in the project's annual public dissemination reports.

Project Context and Objectives:
Open borders, new technologies, economic recession, new types of crime… policing in the 21st century is marked by changing demographics and expectations of the public, accompanied by tighter financial resources for police forces across Europe. Many of them respond by introducing ambitious change programmes, aiming at modernizing and rationalizing the way policing is conducted. One particular aspect of this change is the need to develop a more international orientation and the ability to contribute to policing at a European level. But while policing is to some extent the same all over the world, it also reflects clear differences between countries and even inside countries, e.g. with regard to judicial principles, historical context or economic development. For this reason many change projects – often based on a ‘one size fits all’ approach - fail to deliver the expected results. To achieve “ever closer union” in the EU in policing too first requires a profound understanding of how it is (and can be) done in the individual EU member states.
The project “Comparative Police Studies in the EU (COMPOSITE)” studies change management in police forces in 10 different European countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, The Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The project, which runs for 4 years till 2014, is executed by a consortium of 15 organisations, involving a total of 52 individuals in its combined research team The project is coordinated by Erasmus University Rotterdam. Project leader is Dr. Gabriele Jacobs (RSM).

Leverage for impact built into the project:
22 police forces in the 10 different countries are associated with COMPOSITE and offer opportunities for field research. More than 800 police officers of various rank and other stakeholders have been interviewed about e.g. opportunities and threats in the police environment, maintenance of core competences, knowledge transfer practices and/or the use of ICT. These interviews have been complemented by case studies of e.g. riot control, harbour policing, human trafficking and the use of social media in policing. Surveys on knowledge transfer practices and workshops on the use of ICT in police activities were also included in the work to date. Some of the key results of the research so far are a SWOT analysis of policing per country, a compendium of best practices, a diagnostic tool to assess knowledge transfer practices and guidelines on the use of ICT in police work. More in-depth studies have been done in the second half of the project. Within the Netherlands a longitudinal survey investigating the move to a national police force was performed with two police forces, a similar longitudinal survey took place in Spain investigating a change in policies on victim care. Next to this a cross-sectional survey was performed in all participating ten countries to test the effects of change endeavours on performance, but also on organizational behaviour of the individual officers.
The extensive access to the field in ten countries is not a coincidence. To secure it and to leverage proliferation of results beyond academia the project’s governance structure involves two international sounding boards of police officers. The End User Board includes senior officers who typically manage units of 100-500 officers and have the ability to provide the COMPOSITE researchers with the required access for interviews et cetera. The Strategic Advisory Board involves some of the highest ranking police officers in each country, with the ability to communicate the results nation-wide, including to relevant ministers. The End User Board meets twice per year with the COMPOSITE team, the Strategic Advisory Board once per year. This design provides COMPOSITE with access both on the street and in the board room.
In addition, incorporated in COMPOSITE is a photo project where two award winning professional photographers, Hans van Rhoon and David Adams, contribute to the comparative nature of the endeavour. They travel to all 10 countries and take pictures to show how policing there is different (and the same). This way the essential message of the COMPOSITE project can be communicated in a very accessible way. Results of the photo project will be published in a photo book and in a travelling exhibition. Smaller versions of this exhibition have already been held in several countries. The COMPOSITE final conference in Rotterdam also included one, in a dedicated exhibition room on the campus of Erasmus University. An intermediate version of the photo book was published in May, 2012.

Impact so far:
Already the project has resulted in many presentations, conference papers and publications in police practitioners’ journals (in various languages). Especially COMPOSITE’s work on the use of social media attracted substantial attention from the media, especially in Germany and the Netherlands. COMPOSITE researchers were invited to a range of practitioners’ conferences, such as those organized by CEPOL and EUROPOL, to workshops and panels to present their findings. But also the ‘raw’ results of the research project, as incorporated in the official deliverables that are reviewed by the EU, provoke significant interest of a substantial audience, including high ranking government officials. For instance, Minister Opstelten (Security & Justice) came to pick up the first copy of COMPOSITE’s European SWOT analysis during a meeting of the Strategic Advisory Board in the “Burgerzaal”, which was hosted by the mayor of Rotterdam, Mr. Aboutaleb. During that meeting Mr. Opstelten gave a keynote speech about his plans for centralized policing in the Netherlands, which would be accepted by the Dutch Parliament a few weeks later. A recent project meeting in the Republic of Macedonia, a candidate for EU membership, started with a speech by the country’s president.
COMPOSITE’s work plan includes a work package dedicated to the exploitation of results and commercial knowledge transfer. Several results such as the diagnostic instruments, ICT analyses and tools for automatic monitoring of developments in European policing are planned to be incorporated in a suite of consultancy services which will continue to be offered after the project. COMPOSITE’s network offers unique, multinational access to police forces, which in turn drives unique data and insights. This can be exploited for advisory work and teaching based on regular monitoring and further research and consultancy to arrive at more specific results for one or more police forces. Already encouraging evidence is available that this approach is feasible. The European Police Academy CEPOL and the European Border Control Agency Frontex have expressed an interest to develop courses based on COMPOSITE’s results and McKinsey has explored opportunities to develop consultancy services together. Next year in May the yearly conference of German police presidents will take place in Rotterdam to learn about the insights of the COMPOSITE project.

Furthermore, COMPOSITE triggered new submissions of related proposals for additional academic research in the security domain. One example is a project regarding crisis management that involves the EUR and the Italian partner in COMPOSITE, FORMIT.

COMPOSITE’s demonstrates the feasibility of large scale, international, multi-disciplinary research in management and also shows the advantages of such an approach in terms of visibility and impact.

The project applies management concepts outside the typical ‘business’ environment, to address a crucial element of public administration that is relevant to all.
The project not only bridges national borders, but also brings together theorists and practitioners, scientists and artists, academics and policy makers.
Through its focus, stressing the specific challenges that derive from profound diversity in Europe, COMPOSITE has the potential to add an innovative perspective to the dominating body of thought on change management, thus leveraging the impact of European research in management.

Project Results:
COMPOSITE's main S&T results are:
1.A comparative strategic analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for police organizations in 10 European countries and best practices to meet current and future challenges.
2.A comparative analysis of planning and execution of the change processes, focusing on the impact of leadership, professional and organizational identities and societal expectations.
3.A toolbox containing instruments for training and consultancy and the Annual European Police force monitor to plan and execute changes responding to known and yet unknown challenges and opportunities.

Potential Impact:
COMPOSITE is unique in its exclusive focus on police work, its interdisciplinary approach to address police challenges, its close collaboration with police forces and direct involvement of several levels of police officers and especially in its European scope. Consequently COMPOSITE produced unique knowledge and insights about a very important area of joint European activity in a sector that is struggling to face the requirements of a rapidly changing world. Based on this knowledge the partners in the project expect to be well positioned to address the needs of this specific markets via:

- Invited lectures in police forces and elsewhere about the main findings of the project.
- Executive courses for senior police officers about management of change in police forces, especially offered by the business schools and police academies in the consortium.
- Dedicated bachelors and master curricula concentrating on police management, especially offered by or in close collaboration with the police academies in the consortium. Such curricula could help to build a better educated police cadre and would offer more attractive training and career opportunities to talented young people who already joined the police.
- An annual European Police Monitor which tracks how police forces across Europe are developing and improving.
- Specific consultancy and applied research offered to police forces, to advance along the lines of the results from COMPOSITE. This would be offered especially by Capgemini and Fraunhofer FIT.
EU countries spend nearly € 80 billion annually on police activities. Managing these activities proves to be far from trivial. Consequently the market for new knowledge and guidance about change in police forces is very substantial. The interest of police forces around Europe to be involved in COMPOSITE also shows that the project addresses a clear need for cross-country knowledge development in this domain. The COMPOSITE consortium combines all the key capabilities to develop and transfer this knowledge according to high standards.

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