Statement – attribute to Mark Evans, Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy.
Police places a high value in academic research which provides evidence to improve Police policy and practice. It is essential that our policing strategies and tactics are effective and focused. Having an evidence-based approach towards policing enables us to understand ‘what works’ best, and then put that into practice. Police has strong links with academic institutions and individual researchers who are involved in a range of research to encourage debate on various aspects of police work.
Police receives a large number of individual requests for academic research – 37 applications in 2014. While Police already publishes large volumes of data, such research requests often involve access to confidential information, which can include personal identifiers. There can also be a substantial resourcing commitment involved in providing such information.
To ensure appropriate decisions are made about such applications there is a robust process in place to ensure that they have benefits for Police, are of good standard, meet our privacy obligations and are feasible in relation to the demands on Police time and resources. This process includes a Police vetting check on individuals involved in a research application.
The research agreement which academics are expected to sign with Police sets out our expectations, including that research is accurate, balanced and constructive. Police reserves the right to discuss research findings with the academic if it misunderstands or misrepresents police data and information. Police also reserves the right to prevent further access to Police resources if a researcher commits any breach of the agreement.
Our priority is always to ensure that an appropriate balance is drawn between the privacy of individuals and academic freedom. To date Police have not prevented access by any academic under this clause in the agreement.
While we will not discuss specific matters regarding Dr Gilbert, we can say that we have communicated to him that further consideration will be given to our decision regarding the security clearance (police vetting) check.