Academic Research and Police Scotland

Find out how academic research is contributing to policing across Scotland 

Police Scotland’s Academic Research team is comprised of police staff and officers, and operates on behalf of the Chief Constable to coordinate and collaborate on research studies which support the organisation in robust, evidence-led decision making.

The team provides a single point of contact for research support, providing police officers and staff with access to a portfolio of historic research, whilst also ensuring that external research partners have timely access to Police Scotland data and personnel as required. The team maintains strong working relationships with academic institutions and third sector organisations, both within the UK and internationally; these include partnerships with the Scottish Institute for Policing Research and the Open University Centre for Policing Research and Learning. We also support officers and staff who are interested in undertaking research-based study.

Annual Police Plan

Our Priorities for Policing, as outlined in our Annual Police Plan:

  • Protecting vulnerable people
  • Tackling crime in a digital age
  • Working with communities
  • Support for operational policing.

The team support Police Scotland's commitment to evidence-led policing by championing the use of independent research, and by seeking to further embed this practice into our working environment. By supporting studies which are aligned with our strategic objectives we will better inform our working practices and ensure confidence in our decision-making processes.

Two police officers with their backs to the camera

Supporting research and public engagement allows us to build an evidence base to inform our decision-making, and underlines our commitment to listening to all our communities so we can continually improve how we represent, reflect and serve them

Assistant Chief Constable Emma Bond
Portrait of Assistant Chief Constable Emma Bond

Key highlights

Examples of some of the research projects Police Scotland has supported:

Violence against women and girls

Police Scotland supported this SIPR funded study as part of its commitment to address the issue of violence against women and girls, and in particular to gain bespoke insights on Gender-Based violence (GBV) within the setting of rural and remote communities. This study provided vital insights into the police response to GBV during the COVID pandemic, and highlighted examples of good practice as part of its recommendations for future service delivery, as well as identifying issues and risks which police and partner service providers should additionally consider.

Partnerships between police and GBV service providers in remote, rural, and island communities in northern Scotland before and during COVID-19 | Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice | Oxford Academic (

Policing in a digital world

This SIPR funded research was undertaken with the support of Police Scotland to enhance our understanding of the benefits, risks, and impact of Behaviour Change Communications. The study has been supplemented by a further engagement session with the study practitioners to consider the findings in more detail, and to encourage colleagues to consider how Behaviour Change Communications impacts their current roles, and the opportunities it may provide to policing in the future.

Influence policing: Strategic communications, digital nudges, and behaviour change marketing in Scottish and UK preventative policing — University of Edinburgh Research Explorer

Working with diverse communities

Police Scotland, the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) provided funding for activities which looked to enhance relationships between Police Scotland and minoritised groups, and provided insights into the experiences and challenges that minoritised groups face. By undertaking direct engagement with each of the participant groups, and using the principle of collaboratively-designed solutions, each of the five projects represented a critical piece of research which supported our efforts to continue to build trust and confidence between police and our communities.

Seldom Heard Communities Research Published – SIPR

Register your interest to collaborate

If you are interested in collaborating with Police Scotland on a research project, please complete our expression of interest online form.

Find out more