By Anne Russell. A new public safety search portal developed by the University of the Fraser Valley will help public-service decision-makers locate the information they need to make sound and justifiable decisions.
Launched in August, 2014, the public-safety research portal provides public access to an extensive database of information about fire, police, drugs, and public safety. The portal is available on UFV’s Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research website.
“Today’s fire and police agencies are being asked to do more with less, and to develop sustainable solutions based on evidence and best practices,” noted Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis, an adjunct professor at the UFV School of Criminology and Criminal Justice who helped spearhead the project. “This portal fills the growing need for a comprehensive source of research that can be accessed by those in the public service and the general public.”
The UFV Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research took on the challenge of developing the database and portal after the need was identified at a meeting of Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (CSS) about two years ago. At that time, the Canadian public safety experts and administrators involved in the CSS remarked upon the lack of public access to the public safety data needed to support evidence-based decision making.
This gap had also been noted by the Fire Services Liaison Group, which represents all B.C. fire service agencies, in its 2009 report to the provincial government entitled “Public Safety in British Columbia: Transforming the Fire/Rescue Service.”
“Our Centre is committed to increasing the knowledge of everyone working in public safety and sharing best practices and research,” said Dr. Irwin Cohen, the Centre’s director and an associate professor in the UFV’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “The portal is just one more way that we are trying to ensure that as many people as possible have access to the latest and best resources, research, and knowledge in fire and public safety.”
The portal provides access to the titles of thousands of reports, articles, books, legislation, and other data from Canada and around the world.
All entries include author and publisher details, and some can be read online for free. Users of the portal can quickly hone in on the information they require by filtering their search results by publication date, source type (electronic resources, academic journals, books, reports and eBooks), subject, publisher, publication, language, location, and content provider.
The database will continue to grow over time as new research becomes available.
In addition to using the portal, visitors to http://cjr.ufv.ca can peruse dozens of research reports that have been produced by the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research on fire, police, drugs and public safety topics. Plans are in the works to add reports from outside UFV to this research report section, and to allow other researchers to submit their reports to be posted on the website.