Nodal governance of counter terrorism security

Understanding how the police effectively build and enrol the governing capacities of private agencies in the provision of counter terrorism security at temporary events.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Neil Oldfield
Police region
West Midlands
Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

The proposed research aims to explore the subtleties and connections between the complex environment of public-private partnerships in the provision of counter terrorism security at temporary events. 

The literature identifies a gap in the knowledge of such dynamic partnerships. The researcher will acknowledge the individual perspectives, values and emotions that underpin stakeholder behaviour and decision-making. This will provide a structure underpinned by the prerequisite to investigate subjectivity instead of objective views.

Through the application of Foucauldian concepts and nodal governance theory the researcher will explore the ordering of power in a society where the responsibility for delivering security is owned by multiple actors and agencies. 


Understand how the police effectively build and enrol the governing capacities of private agencies in the provision of counter terrorism security at temporary events, through the application of a governmentality theoretical framework.

Research questions

  1. How does governing order emerge within public-private partnerships in the provision of counter terrorism security at temporary events and how is that governing power distributed amongst the partnership members?
  2. What technologies, mentalities and resources do public-private partnership members possess? How do they mobilise their knowledge and capabilities within the partnership in the delivery of counter terrorism security at temporary events?
  3. What challenges are presented to individual members of the public-private partnership throughout the planning and collaborative delivery of counter terrorism security at temporary events? What do they perceive to be the cause of any identified challenges?

This researcher is supported by the College bursary scheme.

Research methodology

The researcher will apply Foucault’s notion of governmentality and nodal governance theory to explore the interdisciplinary relationship between the police and public/private partnerships. In doing so, each organisation and individual will be considered as nodes with their own distinct and unique forms of knowledge, capacity and resources. These are assembled and channelled around the specific issue of the provision of protective counter-terrorism security measures at temporary events

Access to event organisers will be difficult. There will not be one specific organisation to approach as the event organiser and organisation will be different for each temporary event. This pilot study, therefore, will test the feasibility of recruiting and accessing partner agencies outside of the police service. 

It will focus particularly on research questions two and three.

The sample size for the pilot study is n=3 and will involve semi-structured interviews. These will seek to explore participant opinions and experiences. 

Two methods of data collection via semi-structured interviews will be trialled during the pilot study.

  1. Semi-structured interview with an event organiser (n=1) during the planning stages from event conception to event delivery. Best case will include three interviews at equal stages through the planning process (start, mid-point and immediately prior to event day).
  2. Post-event semi-structured interviews with event organisers (n=2).

Research participation

The recruitment of participants will mainly be conducted through the national network of counter terrorism security coordinators (CT SecCos) throughout England and Wales. There are a number of channels used within the police service through which communication can be focused, specifically in relation to specialist operational roles. For example:

  • the Knowledge Hub – a national online information exchange platform
  • the College of Policing Police National Search Centre (PNSC) – the national training centre for CT SecCos

The researcher will use these mediums to communicate and enrol CT SecCos and Gold POPS Commanders for the research process for the main study and make a request for CT SecCos to act as gatekeepers and promote participation and recruitment of event organisers for the pilot study.

Where interest is received back to the researcher from police colleagues, an email outlining the research and study aims will be sent to the individual, which will have the information sheet attached. The gatekeeper will forward this to the private agencies or organisers they are engaged with as part of a temporary event planning process, inviting them to take part in the pilot study.

The researcher is a police officer of 22 years and involved in the planning of temporary events. He will use professional judgement to decide if the event organiser is a suitable section of the population for inclusion in this study, through the adoption of a purposive sampling strategy.

This non-probability approach has not been determined but is supported by a belief that as a practitioner-researcher, he can obtain a representative sample through the use of sound judgment and experience.

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