The NSW Police Force supports the development of research that informs the principles and practice of policing in NSW and can contribute to informed strategic decision making and evidence based policy development. The NSW Police Force therefore seeks to undertake and support research that is relevant to corporate strategies and priorities, improves knowledge about factors bearing upon demand for police services, and provides an evidence base for strategic, tactical and operational decision making.

Researchers should note that the NSW Police Force is particularly interested in research projects addressing service delivery priorities, as set out in the corporate plan. Accordingly, it is necessary that research is of high quality and uses appropriate and rigorous methodologies.

The Research Coordination Unit is responsible for coordinating and facilitating all external research on behalf of the NSW Police Force. It is recommended that prior to submitting an application to conduct research; external researchers should contact the Research Coordination Unit to discuss their intended project.

Correspondence can be addressed to the Manager, Dr. Chris Devery  - research@police.nsw.gov.au

Conducting Research With the NSW Police Force

Before approving a research application, the NSW Police Force will undertake a consultation process with internal and external stakeholders. This means that researchers should allow up to 8 weeks for the approval of a basic project that does not raise significant ethical issues, or does not involve the allocation of funds or significant in-kind support.

Projects that raise significant ethical or privacy issues, have the potential to impact on operational activities, or require allocation of funds or a significant in-kind contribution by the NSW Police Force, may take some time to be considered and approved. Students undertaking honours degrees should approach the NSW Police Force in regard to their projects no later than March in their honours year.

The following documents should be read before submitting the application to the Research Coordination Unit. Each document governs how the NSW Police Force conducts research (in order to be compliant with current best policies and practices). All researchers involved in any type of research project with the NSW Police Force must be compliant to the statements and codes outlined in the national documents linked below:

The application form required to conduct research with the NSW Police Force can be found below.

Research applications MUST include the following supplementary information:

  • The names and institutional affiliations of the principal researcher and other personnel involved with the project.
  • Applicants undertaking honours, masters and PhD studies should state their university, school or faculty and provide contact details for their supervisor(s);
  • Curriculum vitae or other information about the principal researcher that establishes their credentials to undertake the project in question;
  • A brief summary of the project in plain language;
  • Projects should be clearly linked to the corporate priorities set out in the NSW Police Force Corporate Plan;
  • A detailed overview of the research methodology, clearly indicating what access to NSW Police Force information or personnel is required and setting out timeframes for completion of each stage of the project;
  • A statement outlining the value of the research to the NSW Police force, as well as the scholarly and general communities;
  • Where available, draft versions of interview, focus group or survey questions;
  • A copy of the ethics committee application and approval, if the project has progressed this far at time of application;
  • If the project design involves interviews or focus groups, outline how many staff would be involved from which locations and for how long;
  • If financial support is sought include a detailed outline of the planned expenditure. Researchers should note that the NSW Police Force will not generally fund the purchase of computers, software or pay for overseas travel.

Research - FAQs

The NSW Police Force supports the development of research that informs the principles and practice of policing in NSW and can contribute to informed strategic decision making and evidence based policy development. The NSW Police Force therefore seeks to undertake and support research that is relevant to corporate strategies and priorities, improves knowledge about factors bearing upon demand for police services, and provides an evidence base for strategic, tactical and operational decision making.

Research that supports, improves and validates police practice is essential for the advancement of the professional status of the occupation of policing and increasing public confidence in police practice. Accordingly, it is necessary that research is of high quality, uses appropriate and rigorous methodologies, and as far as possible aims at providing information that is relevant to the work of the NSW Police.

I want to do research with the NSW Police Force who do I contact?

The Research Coordination Unit (RCU) are here to facilitate all external enquiries. All prospective researchers must make contact with the RCU as their first point of contact. This can be done by emailing research@police.nsw.gov.au.  Do not approach individual police officers or commands with research enquiries.

Does the NSW Police Force have a Policy that governs research?

Yes the NSW Police Force has a draft Policy for Research. Please contact the RCU for advice on this policy.

Who can perform research with the NSW Police Force?

The NSW Police Force encourages applications from postgraduate students, academics, Government agencies and private research institutions. Undergraduate research may be considered, however due to limited research time frames and the extensive NSW Police Force approval processes, lengthy submissions may not be processed. Students undertaking honours degrees should approach the NSW Police Force in regard to their projects no later than March in their honours year.

In general applications from Secondary Schools will not be considered.

What kind of research participation can I request from the NSW Police Force?

  • Access to NSW Police Force staff for the purposes of conducting surveys interviews or focus groups.
  • Access to NSW Police Force corporate data (Researchers should be aware that comprehensive crime data aggregated to various statistical boundaries across time are available from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au, and access to this data does not require approval);
  • Access to corporate records, documentation and policy; and 

Please note that observation of operational police on duty will not be approved due to security reasons and the heightened state of alert for Australia.

I am employed by the NSW Police Force and I wish to conduct research. Do I need to complete a full research application and go through the approval process?

Yes. If you are enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate degree with a research component, you will be treated as an external applicant and go through the normal application process. If your research area is within the command you are currently assigned to, facilitation and approval of the project may be quicker.

If you wish to perform internal research for your command which is not affiliated with any external agencies, you will need to seek permission from your Commander. The RCU can assist you with research design and skills.

What are the timeframes for approval for research with the NSW Police Force?

Before approving a research application, the NSW Police Force will undertake a consultation process with internal and external stakeholders. This means that researchers should allow up to 8 weeks for the approval of a basic project that does not raise significant ethical issues, or does not involve the allocation of funds or significant in-kind support.

Projects that raise significant ethical or privacy issues, involve numerous commands, have the potential to impact on operational activities, or require allocation of funds or a significant in-kind contribution by the NSW Police Force, may take some time to be considered and approved.

Do I need a criminal record check in order to do research with the NSW Police Force?

The NSW Police Force may require researchers to complete a National Police Check and obtain a National Security Clearance prior to commencing approved projects, where the research design involves access or exposure to certain kinds of information.

Do the NSW Police offer funding for research?

Funding may be available in relation to research projects, but researchers should be aware that due to budget planning cycles it may take some time for an application involving funding to be approved. In the current fiscal environment, there is no guarantee that an application involving a financial contribution from the NSW Police Force will be approved. It is recommended that early contact with The RCU is initiated to discuss the potential for such projects.

I intend on applying for an ARC grant, will the NSW Police Force support my application?

The NSW Police Force has been involved in many successful ARC Linkage projects. Linkage programs offer potential for funding from the NSW Police Force and other agencies to be matched by a contribution from the Commonwealth Government.

Researchers wishing to invite the NSW Police Force to participate in an ARC Linkage application must commence the process at least 6 months prior to the closing date for submission of applications to ARC. The assessment process will involve an examination of the potential value of the research, balanced against the cost of participation and the impact of methodology on Force activities. As the ARC process falls outside normal budget time frames, it may take some time to identify the source of funds required in the event of a successful application. For large and complicated projects a one year time frame to develop the application is recommended.

Under no circumstances will the NSW Police Force agree to participate in last minute grant applications to the Australian Research Council or other granting bodies, even if no cash contribution is sought from the NSW Police Force.

Researchers who are considering applying for ARC Discovery funding, or for other grants that do not require a financial or significant in-kind contribution from the NSW Police Force, are advised to seek in principle support prior to finalization of the grant application. The NSW Police Force will be under no obligation to participate in such a project if there was no consultation and in principle support given prior to the determination of the grant application.

What is the process of applying to do research with the NSW Police Force?

Prospective researchers are advised to contact the RCU by email research@police.nsw.gov.au with details of their project proposal, prior to submitting an application. The RCU will assess the project proposal against the objectives of the strategic direction and the NSW Police Force Corporate Plan. If the project is deemed feasible the RCU will then invite you to submit an application.

Upon receipt of an application the RCU will assess the project proposal and liaise with the NSWPF Commands and/or Corporate Spokespersons who are likely to be stakeholders in the research and seek their support and approval for the project.

Once the application has been through the chain of command it will be returned to the RCU who will notify the applicant of the outcome by way of an official letter.

What do I need to include in my application?

  • NSW Police Force application for research;
  • Names and institution of the principal researcher and other personnel involved in the research;
  • Contact details of supervisor (for undergraduate and postgraduate researchers);
  • Detailed project proposal including a summary in plain language (this should clearly indicate what access to NSW Police Force information or personnel is required, including timeframes)
  • Draft versions  of interview, focus group or survey questions where applicable;
  • Expected completion date;
  • University/Agency ethics application;
  • University/Agency ethics approval;
  • Curriculum vitae of principal researcher; and
  • Any other documents that will support your application e.g.  literature review, journal article, letters of support from other stakeholders etc.

Do I need to include a breakdown of costs involved in my research?

If financial support is sought from the NSW Police Force, a detailed outline of the planned expenditure must be included in the application.

How do I get ethics approval?

The NSW Police Force does not have an ethics committee. Ethics approval must be granted by the University/ Institution that your research is affiliated with. A copy of the ethics application and the approval letter must be submitted with your research application for consideration.

My university ethics committee has requested I gain the NSW Police Force’s approval as part of my ethics application; however on your application it appears I need university ethics clearance prior to the department’s approval. Can I get clarification on this?

When University ethics committees require full approval prior to granting final ethics clearance, the RCU will work with you to gain ethics approval. You will need to provide the RCU with a copy of your ethics submission and the RCU may provide a conditional approval for you to show to the University. It is important to note that any in principle support is conditional on the formal approval process.

What happens when my research is approved?

Once you receive a letter of approval, you will need to acknowledge the receipt and agree to the conditions of approval. You will be provided with contact details of the person who will facilitate your research and you are free to contact that person directly.

The RCU will ask for a progress report every 6 months until the completion of your research project.

Why do I need to sign the Research Project Acceptance Form?

In signing the letter, you are agreeing to the terms set out by NSW Police Force in the approval.

Is there an appeal process if my research is not approved?

No. The RCU works closely with applicants wishing to undertake research with the NSWPF. On occasion the NSW Police Force will decline to participate in research usually because the proposed study is not consistent with the strategic direction and corporate priorities of the Force. Research may also be declined if the proposal is not feasible for workload or security reasons, or if the Force are currently engaged in a similar project.

I want to publish an article on my research, do I need approval from the NSW Police Force?

It is a condition of your approval for research with the NSW Police Force that any papers prepared for publication are submitted for review and comment prior to their submission for peer review. This approval can take up to 6 weeks and therefore it is advised that you submit your article for review well in advance of your intention to publish.Please submit all papers to research@police.nsw.gov.au.

I would like to present my research at a conference, do I need approval?

As a condition of approval NSW Police Force reserves the right to review material before it is published. Please submit your abstract to the RCU for approval 12 weeks before the conference date.

What are my obligations to the NSW Police Force for approved research projects?

  • The involvement and assistance of the NSW Police Force is to be appropriately acknowledged in any publications or presentations of the research;
  • Progress Reports are required to be submitted to the RCU every 6 months until the completion of the research and/or examination process with the first report due 6 months from receipt of approval;
  • An electronic copy of the final version of the thesis or research report with an executive summary in plain language is to be submitted to the RCU within 3 months of completion of the project.

I would like to make amendments to my approved research. How do I seek approval for this?

Please email research amendments to the RCU at research@police.nsw.gov.au.

Application Form

Prospective researchers are advised to contact the RCU by email research@police.nsw.gov.au with details of their project proposal, prior to submitting an application. The RCU will assess the project proposal against the objectives of the strategic direction and the NSW Police Force Corporate Plan. If the project is deemed feasible the RCU will then invite you to submit an application.

Upon receipt of an application the RCU will assess the project proposal and liaise with the NSWPF Commands and/or Corporate Spokespersons who are likely to be stakeholders in the research and seek their support and approval for the project.

Once the application has been through the chain of command it will be returned to the RCU who will notify the applicant of the outcome by way of an official letter.

Application to conduct research (PDF)