Open Source Communications Analytics Research (OSCAR) Development Centre
The Open Source Communications, Analytics Research (OSCAR) Development Centre is a new, innovative, multi-disciplinary Centre bringing together academics and police practitioners to develop a research evidence base around the use of open source information for policing and community safety services. Funded by the Home Office / HEFCE / and the College of Policing, the work of the centre will help to develop open source methodologies, technologies and insights that will shape the future of policing.
The Centre has been established through funding from the Police Knowledge Fund led by the Universities’ Police Science Institute, which is part of Cardiff University’s Crime and Security Research Institute. The other partners in the OSCAR Centre are:
- The National Counter-Terrorism Functions Command;
- South Wales Police;
- Surrey Police;
- Sussex Police;
- Safer Sutton Partnership;
- Cardiff Council;
- West Midlands Police;
- University of Surrey.
The Centre will use a range of innovative techniques, ideas and methods to engage with these challenges, underpinned by a commitment to knowledge co-production. Over the past decade UPSI has pioneered the use of knowledge co-production methodologies in developing policing policy and practice, understood as researchers and practitioners working together to:
- Co-define the key problems to be worked on;
- Co-design solutions to these problems;
- Co-delivering the solutions.
The operating methodology of the OSCAR Centre is built around a suite of co-production techniques designed to enable creative and innovative policy and practice development. These include:
- Peer knowledge exchange events – where practitioners and academics work together to clarify key problems, and best practice.
- ‘Red Team Tests’ – a methodology for challenging and critiquing current policy or past operations.
- Evidence camps – intensive courses that increase practitioners’ research literacy and understanding of how open source methods provide new forms of evidence.
- ‘Simulation’ Exercises – replaying past events in a controlled way to determine ‘what worked’ and ‘what didn’t’.