The Universities’ Police Science Institute (UPSI) at Cardiff University have secured funding via the College of Policing’s Police Knowledge Fund to establish the Open Source Communications, Analytics and Research (OSCAR) Development Centre.
The College of Policing, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Home Office launched the £10m Police Knowledge Fund earlier this year to encourage collaboration between academia and police forces and to increase evidence-based knowledge, skills and problem solving approaches within policing. UPSI is one of 14 successful bids announced by the College today.
Cardiff University will host the new centre, working with key project partners the UK wide National Counter-Terrorism Functions Command who “are excited and fully committed to supporting this important project.” alongside South Wales Police & OPCC, University of Surrey, West Midlands Police, Surrey Police, Sussex Police, Cardiff Council and Safer Sutton Partnership.
Open source information is any public information that can be accessed without covert methods or interception. OSCAR is an innovative, multi-disciplinary centre bringing together academics and Police practitioners to develop a research evidence base around the use of open source information and its transformative potential for the future of Policing.
Director of the Centre, Prof. Martin Innes said: "We know that new technologies like social media are transforming the ways people relate, communicate and interact with other. And we are increasingly aware that such developments present both challenges and opportunities for the police. The work of the Open Source Communications Analysis Research (OSCAR) Centre will seek to develop new insights into how police can harness these new sources of information across their investigative, intelligence and engagement functions, ranging from counter-terrorism to community policing. With our partners this is about designing new and innovative policing responses to ensure that we are not trying to tackle 21st Century problems with 20th Century policing models."
South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said, “I am delighted to be supporting this successful funding bid for the new centre. Social media and other open sources of communication play an increasingly important role in understanding local needs and threats in order to deliver community policing. This successful bid builds on pioneering work between South Wales Police and Cardiff University that we’ve been developing for several years now and recognises the importance of how new technology can support approaches to policing that are based on evidence and what works”.