Examining adaptive behaviour in law enforcement is the topic of a new research project, which has been awarded funding by CREST today.
The Adaptable Law Enforcement Officer: Developing a Measure of Adaptive Effectiveness project led by Dr Simon Oleszkiewicz (University of Twente, Netherlands), in collaboration with Erik Mac Giolla (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) is the latest research project to be awarded funding from CREST’s recent commissioning call.
Oleszkiewicz’s project aims to develop a behavioural measure of adaptability relevant for police contexts.
Consider, for example, the following situations:
(i) when a police handler is to meet his source in secret, but the source decides to bring a friend along or
(ii) when an undercover officer is invited to a private party, but the festivity turns into the planning of a crime.
In order to maintain a credible guise while also maintaining the mission objective (e.g., to avoid participating in the criminal activity while upholding status in the group), these situations require an adaptive response from the officer.
To examine adaptive behaviour, Oleszkiewicz’s team have developed a novel experimental set-up inspired by observations of the training at the Los Angeles Police Department.
In Experiment 1, university students will take the role of an ‘agent’ that has to complete three ‘undercover missions’. Adaptive behaviour will be elicited by three features: a goal, an expectation, and a violation of that expectation. This violation creates the novel or unexpected situation that participants must adapt to in order to attain their mission objective. Adaptability will be measured as the adjustments made in response to the changed situational demand.
Experiment 2 will be a vignette study to examine perceptions of the adaptive responses. A sample of practitioners with relevant experiences will watch a number of video recordings of adaptive responses from Experiment 1 and rate the efficacy in attaining mission objectives.
These are the latest research projects to come out of CREST’s 2019 commissioning call, in addition to the other recently announced projects:
Understanding Twenty-First Century Militant Anti-Fascism: An Analytical Framework And Matrix
Professor Nigel Copsey at Teesside University
Anti-fascist militancy has existed for as long as fascism has, but as a form of contentious politics, militant anti-fascism is still largely neglected across both academic and policy-practitioner communities. Since the societal conditions behind the current right-wing populist surge are unlikely to disappear anytime soon, there is a pressing need for research that addresses the security implications of radical extra-parliamentary groups who hold that violent confrontation is essential to effective anti-fascist opposition. Link to project.
Simulated phishing and employee cybersecurity behaviour (SPEC)
Dr John Blythe at CybSafe
This project will conduct two studies with differing approaches to investigate (i) how policies on simulated phishing emails are currently implemented in organisations using a cross-sectional survey and (ii) the impact of simulated phishing emails policies on employees’ cyber security awareness and their perceptions of key factors (organisational trust, procedural fairness, stress and perceived monitoring) through an experimental study. Link to project.
Why do people spread disinformation on social media?
Professor Tom Buchanan at the University of Westminster
Individual social media users are key to the spread of disinformation online. By interacting with disinformation, they share it to their own social networks. This can greatly increase its reach, and potential impact on society. Why do people do this? Are they fooled by the disinformation, and spread it because they believe it is true? Do they know the information is fake, but spread it anyway? How does the way a disinformation message is presented influence our likelihood of sharing it? Are some people more likely to share disinformation than others? This project will address those questions. Link to project.
Collecting and Leveraging Identity Cues with Keystroke Analysis (CLICKA)
Dr Oliver Buckley at the University of East Anglia
The project is based on the idea of ‘motor learning’, which suggests that a task becomes more automatic and requires less conscious thought the more it is repeated. In the first instance the project will develop an experimental framework to capture a user’s typing behaviours. This will then be used to create a predictive model, using state-of-the-art machine learning techniques capable of inferring some or part of an anonymous individual’s name. Link to project.
‘Hot periods’ of anti-minority activism and the threat of violent domestic extremism: Towards an assessment framework.
Dr Joel Busher at Coventry University
The aim of this project is to develop a stronger understanding of the dynamics of violent escalation, non-escalation and de-escalation during periods of intense anti-minority activism, and in doing so enhance the ability of state and civil society actors to (a) assess the threat of violent escalation during and in the aftermath of such ‘hot periods’, and (b) more accurately anticipate how planned interventions are likely to play out on the ground. Link to project.
Understanding moral injury and belief change in the experiences of police online child sex crime investigators
Dr Peter Lee at University of Portsmouth and Dr Mark Doyle at Solent University
This project will start by analysing and exploiting primary data from moral injury-related findings. These will subsequently be used to inform a focused enquiry into the causes of moral injury, and consequences such as changes in attitudes, beliefs and behaviour, among police internet child abuse investigators and relevant forensic teams. Link to project.
For more information about the successful applicants please visit the CREST website at: www.crestresearch.ac.uk/projects/.
More projects to come…
Watch this space as the other successful projects (subject to contracts being finalised) will be announced very soon.