If, as Sheptycki argues in Part I, it is necessary to question how scarce policing resources can be targeted, 'where they can be expected to do the most good, or at least cause the least harm', then a more reflexive and democratic dialogue over the substantive content of TOC threats is needed. As we have argued elsewhere (Edwards and Gill, 1998, 2002), social science has a key role to play in the facilitation of this dialogue, in eliciting the unintended consequences of policy responses to these threats and in shaping the knowledge-base for policy change and learning. The chapters in this section of the book address the frequent refrain that policy responses to TOC have been predicated more on assertion than rigorous research. They debate the insights and limitations of different research methods and how these can be used to interest policy-makers in different conceptualisations of TOC.
Burnham discusses a research project he is conducting on the possibility of quantifying the threat of TOC. This project, which is funded by the United States National Institute of Justice (NIJ), has its origins in an NIJ seminar on the need to measure TOC. Whereas some participants insisted that quantification was a necessary prerequisite of designing (and evaluating the impact of) rational control strategies, others argued that it would never be possible to accurately measure TOC and therefore alternative approaches to evidence-based policy-making must be considered, for example the use of social network analysis. It was suggested at this seminar that, before a particular research method was dismissed, it would be useful to know exactly what data sets already exist and how different national authorities and intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) collect and interpret data on TOC. Burnham presents interim findings from the NIJ project and considers the problems associated with developing a common recording method that could facilitate international comparisons of the incidence, prevalence and concentration of TOC.
Gregory explores the challenges of quantifying TOC further, through reference to the design and implementation of the Organised Crime Notification Scheme (OCNS) in the United Kingdom. He notes that problems of 'activity identification' in criminological research per se are