Current projects

  • What causes some people to become radicalised and others to become victims of (cyber)crimes? And what can be done to prevent it? To try to answer these questions, the European Commission has awarded a Horizon 2020 grant of € 3 million to the pan-European PROPHETS project, of which around € 200,000 is provided to CESAM

    “This grant gives us the opportunity to better understand the complex mechanisms underlying the development of radicalisation in its various forms,” says Dr Saskia Bayerl, co-director of CESAM. “This allows organisations, from police to state to local actors, to better prepare, prevent and identify threats of cybercriminal behaviours, as well as support and protect vulnerable people and our societies.”

    The three-year Preventing Radicalisation Online Through the Proliferation of Harmonised ToolkitS (PROPHETS) project is a collaboration of 16 academic, justice and police partners in 10 EU-countries. It researches how individuals become radicalised, and explores what kind of organisation, technology and tools may help to reduce cybercrime activities. The main goal is to prevent serious crimes, by building resilience in people and society.

    For more information please contact Dr. Saskia Bayerl or have a look at the Prophets website.

    In news: From cybercops to cybercrime: developing tools to spot online radicalisation


    In co-operation with the City of Rotterdam, CESAM initiated the research project ‘Managing privacy in a smart city‘. In response to rapidly expanding possibilities for smart urban governance through big data, privacy concerns are emerging both among citizens and government actors. Questions arise in many domains of governance about how to navigate trade-offs between efficient service, public safety and privacy. The research project will address these issues by developing a practised and networked understanding of privacy that allows for different situational and personal privacy needs to be recognised and met in practice.

    To achieve this, we introduced a flexible concept of boundary management as a vital mechanism for balancing and safeguarding privacy concerns and public security needs. As this boundary management acquires an explicitly spatial dimension in the context of smart city policies, our investigations will centre on both street-level and at-a-distance forms of surveillance and control, including practices of self- and co-surveillance among the citizenry. The two-year project started in February 2018. Fro more information please contact Dr. Saskia Bayerl.



    How should police leaders address current and future security challenges? Safety and security are crucial dimensions for the functioning of democracies and economies and for the health, wellbeing and resilience of communities. Conversely, the private, economic and social costs of security threats within the EU are tremendous. Reacting to and preventing of security threats demands joined-up and collaborative solutions, as no one agency, organisation or government is able to tackle these challenges on their own.

    Developing executive master education

    ISM-KA is developing an MSc programme in international security management which addresses these challenges. The learning modules are aimed at a mixed student population of professionals from governmental agencies and private companies such as security actors and consultancies. This flexible and modular approach will guarantee a broad market uptake and will reach a large amount of students and professionals. This MSc fosters new and more effective co-operation mechanisms to combine practitioner and academic expertise in response to contemporary security threats and global crime, further develop areas such as the interoperability of security agencies and law enforcement services and facilitate the development of transversal skills within all facets of education. The programme is set up to educate and train current and next generation of decision makers in the international arena of safety and security. For more information visit the official website, have a look at the brochure or contact Prof. Dr. Gabriele Jacobs.

    International Security Narratives Symposium

    In the context of the ISM-KA project, CESAM hosted the International Security Narratives Symposium on the 9th of March 2018 in Rotterdam. The symposium brought together outstanding academics and practitioners from public and private sectors across Europe to discuss and develop approaches to find concrete solutions to local safety and security challenges.

    International Security Narratives Symposium at the RSM on the 9th of March 2018
    International Security Narratives Symposium at the RSM on the 9th of March 2018  
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    Members of the CESAM team, in collaboration with the UFPE (Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil), are conducting a number of projects with the PRF (Polícia Rodoviária Federal, the highway patrol in Brazil), which focus on career development, professional identity and stakeholder legitimacy.

    As an initial first step, we conducted a large scale survey with around 1,200 police officers throughout the country in late 2015, which examined a range of issues including career development and police identity. We are now working on a number of follow-up projects, which focus on stakeholder relationships, the leadership of change projects and organisational learning within the PRF. For more information please contact Dr. Kate Horton.



    The stream of refugees arriving in Europe has made a tremendous local, national and international impact. Since 2015, it has shaped the lives of many and left a strong mark on matters of safety, security and international relations. There is still a significant number of refugees housed at and arriving in Lesvos, the crisis is all but over (FRA update, August 2017).

    CESAM believes there are many important lessons to be learned from the experiences local, national and international partners have accrued in dealing with the ‘refugee crisis’ to date, and that these lessons can and should be applied to similar crises – both current and future. CESAM is currently launching a research project in Lesvos to investigate how partners at multiple levels of governance have co-operated and collaborated to face the situation on Lesvos.

    Focusing on key aspects of crisis management and organizational identity, CESAM intends to tackle the practical and theoretical challenges stakeholders face when they are thrust together to tackle crises situations. For more information please contact Mark van der Giessen.

  • As part of the Call 2016, the knowledge and research committee of the research programme Police and Science honoured CESAM's research proposal "A complaint is free advice". The call is based on four themes of the strategic research agenda for the police. This Strategic Research Agenda was adopted by the Minister of Security and Justice on 1 May 2015, and is guiding for research initiated by the Police and Science programme and the Police Academy.

    The research programme wants to give an impetus to the search for practical knowledge to support the police profession and education. To this end, they have put this call to the Netherlands, asking for a research proposal to be published so that newly developed knowledge finds its way into police practice, police policy and police training. The research investigates complaints as a valuable source of information from the citizen. Police want citizens to be satisfied and citizens to trust them. Direct contact between police officers and citizens is important, according to the police, for a proper handling of complaints, with two objectives for the police: restoring the confidence of the citizen in the police and strengthening the learning capacity of the police. Complaints handling is seen by the police as the opportunity to improve the quality of the police action together with the citizen. And there is still much to improve in the dialogue with the public and the extent to which the police organisation learns from this communication. In the research we analyse the cause of the difference between official and informal complaints, and how the police can deal with complaints and learn from them.

    For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Gabriele Jacobs.


Previous projects

  • Development of the 5-year plan to evaluate the success and impact of the Dutch National Police implementation awarded by the WODC on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice.

    Erasmus University Rotterdam has developed a blueprint for the evaluation of the Dutch national police (Police Act 2012). This report describes a reconstruction of the policy theory underlying the introduction of the national police and presents a plan for its evaluation. The research leading to this report took place in the period from February to September 2014 and was conducted under the guidance of the Commission Rinnooy Kan.  

    Based on the reconstruction of the policy theory indicators for the assessment of its validity have been identified. The indicators are subdivided into effect measures, implementation measures and process measures.

     This report suggests a flexible evaluation approach. In the first instance, we propose to focus on output and outcome measures (effect evaluation). An evaluation focusing on input and throughput factors (implementation evaluation) should be conducted only when unexpected results emerge in the effect evaluation. We further propose an in-depth process evaluation, which systematically brings into view disparate stakeholder perspectives and complex interactions. Such a process evaluation provides  a management tool to inform adjustments in the implementation of the national police. For the process evaluation, we propose cases, which focus on specific aspects of the policy theory or on selected topics which concerns the governance and control of the police. A process evaluation also gains importance, in case effects and/or implementations deviate from expectations described in the policy theory.

    This study was carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of the Erasmus University, led by the Centre of Excellence in Public Safety Management.

    The report can be downloaded at the WODC website.

  • UNITY was a 3 year EU-project funded under H2020-program. The objective of UNITY was to strengthen the connection between law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and communities across Europe by improving and supporting community policing principles. The main objectives addressed by the project were:

    • To capture best practices for cooperation between LEAs and citizens and their comparison across European countries;
    • To develop communications technologies to facilitate, strengthen and accelerate the communication between citizens and LEAs;
    • To develop trainings and awareness raising activities about community policing for European LEAs.

    The project consortium consisted of 15 partners in 10 European countries. CESAM/RSM led the collection of community policing requirements and best practices in an international context and was further responsible for the evaluation of developed technologies across LEAs and community stakeholder groups in at least six countries. The project run from May 2015 to April 2018.

    For more information please visit the official website of UNITY or contact Dr. Saskia Bayerl.

  • Evaluation of the ZSM-procedure (changes in the process of prosecution) awarded by the WODC on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice.

    The goal of the study was to determine what the consequences of the recommended ZSM procedure are for the legal protection of suspects, the efficiency of the ZSM-process, and the costs for the police, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and subsidized legal assistance.  

    In order to do justice to the complexity of the (recommended changes in the) ZSM-procedure, the study concerned both the implementation of the recommended ZSM-procedure (process oriented approach) and the consequences of the recommended ZSM-procedure (result oriented approach). 

    This study was carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of the Erasmus University, led by the Centre of Excellence in Public Safety Management. For more information please contact Elisabeth Brein.

  • At the request of the commission ‘Evaluatie Politiewet 2012’, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), conducted an evaluation of the functioning of the Police Unit East-Netherlands (Eenheid Oost-Nederland). In addition, the nationally relevant themes with respect to ‘the role of the corps chef’, ‘the use of the right to appoint’, and the ‘construction of the police force as a separate legal entity’ were included in the evaluation at the request of the minister of Security and Justice of the Netherlands.  

    The goal of the evaluation was to gain insights into the consequences of the implementation of the national police for the Unit East-Netherlands. The main question of the research has been formulated as, “What is the current state of the implementation of the national police in East-Netherlands?” The results should provide insights into whether the police reform is working in the way the legislator intended for all relevant stakeholders.   

    The evaluation was carried out in four phases over seven months and was based on a constructivist approach in order to do justice to the multitude of potential perspectives and experiences among the various actors. The decision to adopt a constructivist approach is indicative of the fact that we as researchers understand that every actor has his or her own perspective on the current situation, and that every researcher has his or her own view regarding the research. By taking a multidisciplinary approach, combining expertise from business, management, organisational psychology, social psychology and criminology, and by incorporating both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, we ensure that our study takes such differences between stakeholders regarding their perception and appreciation of and interest in the new organisation into account.

    This study was carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of the Erasmus University, led by the Centre of Excellence in Public Safety Management.

    The report can be downloaded from the WODC website. For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Gabriele Jacobs.

  • COMPOSITE is an interdisciplinary international research project. COMPOSITE investigated large-scale change processes in police forces across Europe with the aim of identifying factors contributing to the success or failure of such change processes. Special focus was given to the impact of police’s external challenges and internal resources and capabilities, knowledge sharing, technology trends, identity, and leadership. The project consortium consisted of 15 partners in ten European countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Republic of Macedonia, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and United Kingdom). The project ran from August 2010 to July 2014 and was coordinated by Prof. Dr. Gabriele Jacobs.

    The photos for the COMPOSITE by Hans van Rhoon and David Adams can be seen here. 

  • CRISADMIN ( aims at developing an evaluation tool for the impacts of large catastrophic events and/or terroristic attacks on Critical Infrastructures (CIs). The project for Critical Infrastructures Simulation of Advanced Models on Interconnected Networks Resilience aims to develop a theoretical model and a software tool for the evaluation and training on the impact of catastrophic events such as floods and terrorist attacks on critical infrastructures. It consists of four partners in three countries. Funded by the European Union for two years as CIPS Action Grant. Our study had a focus on research on human behaviour including self-reliance, resilience and leadership during crisis situations. For more information please contact Elisabeth Brein.