Researching deaths after police contact: challenges and solutions

David Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
127 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose This paper considers the methodological challenges to researching deaths after police contact (DAPC) in England and Wales. It proposes original and innovative solutions to these challenges. Design/methodology/approach Challenges such as access to data, sensitivity, limited academic literature, and bias are considered. Designs to counter these challenges include using documentary data and examining events in one organisation through the prism of an adjacent organisation. Findings Subjects that are contentious and difficult to access can be researched by searching for a ‘way into’ the key issues by using non-traditional data and an innovative approach. Research limitations/implications The implications of this paper are that other difficult to research areas of society might be accessed by using the approaches outlined. Practical implications The practical implications of the research are to highlight the usefulness of documentary data in researching issues relating to police and court proceedings. Originality/value The research is of value because it demonstrates how obstacles to researching difficult to access areas of interest to criminology may be surmounted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

'This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.'


  • Death after police contact
  • documentary data
  • narrative verdicts
  • access to research
  • researching public organisations


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