Book Chapter

Seeing is believing: police practitioners as an epistemic community



Egan M (2017) Seeing is believing: police practitioners as an epistemic community. In: O’Neill M & Swinton K (eds.) Challenges and Critiques of the EU Internal Security Strategy: Rights, power and security. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, pp. 199-224.

This chapter examines the interaction of national police practitioners as “experts in their field”, assessing the validity of their knowledge as a foundation for policy and increasingly, law making. Specifically, through an examination of the role of Scottish financial investigators this chapter will reveal the veneer of legitimacy afforded to police knowledge within the development of domestic law enforcement and evaluate epistemic claims. To demonstrate the precarious creation of this police knowledge this chapter will begin by explaining the research on which this chapter is based. Examining the qualitative and quantitative contributions of police knowledge to the development of policy and law within the financial investigation sphere, it sets out the role of the Financial Investigation Unit in Scottish policing. In doing so, it enables readers from other jurisdictions to consider where such expertise may be located within their law enforcement organisations. It is argued that the financial investigation community in Scotland can be conceptualised as an epistemic community. However, the impartiality of police knowledge must be called into question in light of its social construction through the subjective interpretation of normative orders. Indeed, this chapter concludes that the domestic context of police knowledge, as distinct from data, must not be lost as the EU Internal Security Strategy develops, since transparency and accountability are fundamental components in the legitimate development of EU criminal justice policy.

Publication date01/09/2017
PublisherCambridge Scholars
Publisher URL…ecurity-strategy
Place of publicationNewcastle upon Tyne

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Dr Mo Egan

Dr Mo Egan

Senior Lecturer, Law