Welcome to the first special issue of the Nordic Journal of Studies in Policing (NJSP), which is based on contributions made at the 2014 Police Conference on Police Culture at the Norwegian Police University College.

The specialty of this conference was the discussion of police culture by researchers and practitioners from very diverse disciplines: work and organizational psychology, organizational science, police science, criminology, political science, quantitative sociology, ethics and sport science. This is also the aim of the NJSP, namely to cover policing research from perspectives of different disciplines, as emphasized by Paul Larsson (2014, p. 5) in the welcome greeting in the journal.

We have invited some of the contributors to elaborate their presentations to provide a new vantage point for research on culture in the police nationally and internationally. Here is a small taste of what you may expect!

We also hope that this special issue will be a contribution to the ongoing work on establishing a research network on police culture. This work is led by Dr. Jonathan Dunnage and Dr. Chris Millington at Swansea University, UK; see also the Nordic Police Network Newsletter (December 2014–January 2015, web: http://lnu.se/polopoly_fs/1.113474!Nyhetsbrev%20december%202014-januari%202015%20.pdf). Dunnage and Millington applied for funding for such a network in spring 2015 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and expect to know more by November 2015. If the application is funded, the goal is to host three workshops at Swansea University from the summer of 2016, as well to establish a website. Those who wish to learn more about the project can contact Dr Jonathan Dunnage: j.dunnage@swansea.ac.uk. Bjørkelo is involved from the Norwegian Police University College.

In this issue, you may read more about the ‘Development of Physical Skills and Arresting Techniques in the Norwegian Police’. Here, Associate Professor Pål Lagestad from Nord-Trøndelag University College describes how the police’s use of force and arresting techniques have been the subject of increased public attention in Norway, among other things because of the ‘Obiora case’. This paper brings up to date a review of the research done on this area. He also presents survey-data showing how often police officers’ train and use arresting techniques, and their attitudes towards annual tests of physical skills and arresting techniques. One of the conclusions is that the frequency of training and use of arresting techniques is insufficient to maintain and develop adequate skills.

Further, you may read about ‘Value awareness in police leadership’ written by Tania Garthus, master in value-based leadership and police superintendent, The Norwegian Police University College. The paper addresses the past year’s focus on values and the tendency for these to remain ‘words on a piece of paper’ without importance for leaders and employees in the organization. Garthus’ contribution investigates how values and culture coexist in the police culture, which does not always have equally explicit values. This contribution discusses how value-based leadership may add to increased reflection and understanding for the values and aims that attend to the best praxis and cultural identity. This requires leaders who are aware of the culture they operate in, and of their own attitudes and values, as well as of the values of the organisation, in addition to which values they wish to lead by and in what way the cultural values influence their daily leadership.

In the article ‘Reforming the Norwegian Police’, written by professor Stig Ole Johannessen, Oslo and Akershus University College/University of Nordland, you may read about the phenomenon of police culture understood as organizational practices contrasted with myths, ideologies and value statements within the police organization. In the first part of the paper, the author describes central theories within organizational and organization culture and how these have come and gone. The presentation has an international and historical perspective that is very interesting and necessary in order to understand the reform movement within public administration in Norway and elsewhere. One conclusion is the police have based their reform on two historical movements that have both failed.

In the last paper, ‘Golden Ages, Red Herrings and Post-Keynesian Policing’ written by Senior Lecturer Tom Cockcroft, University of Canterbury, you get a contemporary and academic analysis of the police. Cockcroft thematizes the relationship between the professionalization of the police and its culture. The contribution thereby brings new insight into the relationship between the professionalization of the police and its culture, and is based on previous research in this field of investigation.

In addition to the articles we have two other contributions in this number. The first is an obituary in memory of Nils Christie, who passed away on May 27 at the age of 87. The other contribution is Pål Winnæss and Håvard Hellands response to Silje Fekjærs commentary on their article «Police students: Who are they and why will they join the police?».

We wish you an interesting read!

Best wishes from the Special Issue Editors