Switching on, switching off: reflections of a practitioner researcher examining the operational behaviour of police officers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Evidence-based policing is rapidly becoming adopted by policing agencies among policing jurisdictions. Many academic programmes have been established in higher education to train police managers in applied criminology. However, there is a lack of literature for police officer practitioner researchers (POPR) who might undertake qualitative research, especially research projects that examine police behaviour. This paper reflects on the changing role of the practitioner-researcher and suggests that police officers undertaking qualitative research need to learn to ‘switch off their police role’ and ‘switch on their researcher role’. The author’s insights are drawn from his own experience of qualitative fieldwork working with police officers from New Zealand Police and South Australian Police.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-77
Number of pages16
JournalPolice Practice and Research: An International Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • New Zealand Police
  • Police
  • Police research
  • Practitioner research
  • South Australia Police

Cite this