The Project


Marginalised people in public space are clients of several professions, including the police and social work. After recent administrative reforms, more and more stakeholders with different intentions and ideologies participate in the governance of safety and public order. Social workers emphasise the promotion of health and care, and they represent the counterpart to the police as the agent of law enforcement for public order.

SWaPOL works towards a better understanding between social work institutions and law enforcement agencies. A strategic cooperation can be made sustainable in practice, if ways of collaboration can be integrated in existing professional training schemes on both sides.

The SWaPOL project team developed a model curriculum for a joint training in professional continuous education. Substance use and homelessness have been specifically selected as core topics, because both problems are located at the intersection of policing and social work. Both problems call for a compromise between law enforcement and health promotion. Here, concepts of prevention and harm reduction are relevant and strategies of collaboration are at the centre of this vocational training.

Aims and objectives of the project

  • Development, test-run and evaluation of a pilot training for social workers and police officers
  • Development of training material
  • Dissemination and sustainability

The SWaPOL training integrates keynote themes, learning activities and excursions, and provides plenty of time for discussions about better collaboration between the professions. The training is structured in three parts (Modules):

  • Module 1: Cooperation in Social Work and Policing
  • Module 2: Substance use among young people: Prevention and harm reduction in nightlife
  • Module 3: Homelessness

Outputs of the project

The SWaPOL project produces two outputs:

  1. Model teaching manual (Curriculum) for a 5-days course
  2. Handbook for trainers in social work and policing

The Handbook for Trainers: Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • The origin of this Handbook
    • The structure of this handbook and how to use it
    • Didactical concepts – student centred learning and constructive alignment
    • Knowledge exchange and public involvement
  • Modules 1 and 2 and 3 (separately)
    • Objectives
    • Intended competences
    • Keynote themes
    • Learning activities (exercises and excursions)
    • Questions for review
    • References
  • Annex 1: Collection of keynote themes and exercises
  • Annex 2: ETHOS – Typology of Homelessness