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Social Work and Policing: Co-Education in Social Work and Policing – Intervention and Prevention in Urban Space - SWaPOL



Resumo: The project SWaPOL - Social Work and Policing addresses two of the given "Horizontal Priorities" as defined by the funding programme "ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnerships in the Field of Education, Training and Youth" in a very special way.

First, our aim is to contribute to the development of high-quality skills and competences of learners in two professional fields: in social work and in the police. We are aware that cooperation between these professionals is problematic but nevertheless essential with regard to the wellbeing of their shared clientele of marginalised people in urban space. The project partners agree that there is an urgent need for this project to balance the scales of welfare and law enforcement and to contribute to the social management of public order in many European cities. We regard individual vocational training as embedded in organisational structures: We aim to enhance individual competences in collaboration and at the same time work towards organisational development through this strategic partnership of training institutions within the two professions. This project helps establish administrative structures in both institutions for a closer cooperation in practice with the benefit of social inclusion for marginalised people in the streets. Co-education in social work and policing requires an attitude of cooperation. This attitude, we believe, cannot be imposed in a top-down process, but must be carefully initiated in a creative educational process that addresses both programme managers of training courses and students alike. Our approach of "creative teaching" will reinforce this positive attitude and finally strengthen the collaboration of organisations.

Organisational development of two or more units will be shaped in 4 stages: (1) A most elementary form of collaboration is given in mutual (organisational) observation. The longer the period of observing what "the other side" is doing, the clearer the rules, rationales and "no-goes". This process of observation allows for better coordination in operational practice. (2) Permanent observation in terms of awareness about each other's actions leads to mutual (organisational) transparency. Now the organisational decisions of the other part are transparent and the tasks, objectives and processes can be adjusted and coordinated. On this level consistent exchange can be expected, which leads to a consensus about overall objectives and goals supported by programme managers within each organisation. (3) Inter-organisational transparency is the basis for developing respect and mutual (organisational) trust, which allows for particular practices that require loyalty and consent between organisations. Trust is fundamental for a common work-ethic and "normative spirit" in the field. (4) If all activities of the two partner organisations are driven by a common ethical orientation, we can assume the highest level of organisational cooperation: organisational cohesion, expressed in both subjective (personal) and objective (functional) unity. Cohesion includes all hierarchical levels of each organisation and allows for further development of common strategies of problem solution. With this project, we are aiming at the highest level of organisational cooperation between the professional organisations in social work and policing in our partner countries: Coherence requires consent for mutual observation, transparency and trust.

Secondly, co-education between students of social work and police officers incorporates both concepts of basic education and continuous vocational training as components of life-long-learning. The competences acquired in the SWaPOL training will not only raise the employability of trainees, but will be indispensable for future tasks in "community policing" and "social area management".

Finally, we are aiming at the principle of "social inclusion" in a very special way: In educational exercises we will foster an understanding of social and civic intercultural competences in the way marginalised groups in public space are treated. These competences are crucial to tackle discrimination, segregation and racism. Most importantly, these coping strategies are not limited to the two professional groups in our project, but are also relevant for other stakeholders with responsibility for public order management. With this project we will trigger a multiplier effect and reach out for a wide range of stakeholders, public servants and private companies. In SWaPOL we strive for the promotion of humanistic values of respect, ethnic and social diversity, and integration in society, and at the same time endorse the principles of law enforcement and social control. Re-integration of these principles is urgently needed in present times, and our project is strongly dedicated to follow this objective.

Cronograma: Novembro 2018- Febereiro 2021

Paula Guerra, investigadora responsável na UO.


Membros da Equipa
Useful Links
European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research (Proponente)
University College Gent
FH Joanneum Gesellschaft MBH
Câmara Municipal de Lisboa
Universidade do Porto (CEGOT e IS-UP)
Entidade de Financiamento
Strategic Partnerships for Vocational Education and Training, European Commission (Ref.: 2018-1-AT01-KA202-039327)
100 000,00 €
Ano de início


Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto
Via Panorâmica, s/n
4150-564 Porto, Portugal

Telefone: +351 226 077 132


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