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Image courtesy of Devon and Cornwall Police

Police and University join forces to harness research potential

A new research project will unite police and researchers to increase evidence-based knowledge, skills and problem solving approaches within policing.

The University of Exeter has secured nearly £250,000 from the Police Knowledge Fund to foster stronger collaboration between the police force and researchers, and ensure practices are rooted in the best evidence of what is effective. The collaboration is being supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC). It will help police find and use information that will ensure the best outcomes for the police and for the public.

Dr Katharine Boyd, of the University of Exeter, who is co-leading the project, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to develop our links with local policing and combine our knowledge to ensure the best possible use of public money and bolster the world-class policing across Devon and Cornwall. The South West is a unique region and we will be working with police and other partners to develop solutions which are particularly relevant to the region. For years now we’ve worked with colleagues in the health services to develop understanding and ways of working that make sure the best possible health services are being delivered to patients and members of the public. Making sure that the research we do is relevant to the realities of policing, and at the same time ensuring that policing is informed by the latest relevant knowledge, is something that’s important to everyone involved.”

The project will use evidence-based research to help Devon & Cornwall Police develop better policing practice through bringing together police, community stakeholders, and academics to work together to identify research questions and projects that are relevant to their policing challenges.

It will also review all available evidence on important topics to address the Government’s desire for evidence-based policy making in policing. And it will

provide valuable opportunities for police officers and staff to undertake research projects at the University, as well as enabling academics and students to also be seconded within the police force. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg said he was happy to support the project: “The application of an evidence-based approach will help the Force to more effectively meet the funding challenges we face in the future.

“This is a really exciting opportunity to build closer relationships between our office, the police, the university and the wider policing family.”

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Ralph, Public Protection Unit, said: “Devon and Cornwall Police are excited to be working with a world class academic institution such as the University of Exeter.

“The funding from the College of Policing Knowledge Fund will provide a real opportunity to embed evidence-based policing across the region, using methodology that has been proven to be successful in the medical profession.

“Police officers and staff across the region will have the opportunity to learn and develop skills in relation to research, to further enhance policing delivery and focus on methods that are proven to work.

“This is even more critical at times of budget constraints and when the police and our partner agencies are striving to innovate to deal with demand from a huge variety of sources.”

The Police Knowledge Fund is supported by The College of Policing, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Home Office.

The Fund aims to support the development of sustainable education and research collaborations between police forces and academic institutions in England and Wales. The fund will contribute to the evidence base in priority areas of policing. It will also develop the skills of frontline officers and staff, build their knowledge and expertise about what works in policing and crime reduction, and put it into practice.

Date: 19 August 2015

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