Practice Research on Crime Prevention of the Police


The research project CODISP (2012-2015) examines the questions of the generation and circulation of (practical) knowledge within the realm of preventive police work from a social and cultural perspective.
We are interested in how the police:

  • carry out their work, i.e. open up social spaces, establish and maintain relationships, spread information, etc.;
  • use and generate knowledge, make this knowledge available and utilise it within the police;
  • relate their preventive work to “classical police work”;
  • arrange and develop the branches dealing with crime prevention within the police organisation.

Our ethnographic research deals with practical requirements and interdependencies of preventive work and thus facilitates a discussion within the police about its organisation in practice.


Research Aims

  • Our research aims to understand what preventive work demands from the people involved.
  • On the basis of detailed case analyses, we reconstruct sequences, methods and techniques of preventive police work.
  • We provide opportunities for an exchange about preventive work beyond evaluative analyses of problems.

Practical Goals

  • We develop learning exercises for a hands-on professionalisation of preventive police work.
  • We create a space for an exchange about and critique of modes of work that involves all participants and goes beyond formulating strategic or conceptual papers.


In general, the project responds to a social and cultural change, particularly in urban areas. In addition to traditional police tasks – i.e. law enforcement and guaranteeing public security – more and more attention is paid to establishing networks and gaining trust. As a result of this, the social competence and knowledge management of police forces become particularly important. CODISP aims to contribute to the exploration of these forms of practices and their challenges within the realm of crime prevention.