Policing Futures: an evidence based policing programme
The Policing Futures programme is a collaboration between the Universities' Police Science Institute (UPSI) and South Wales Police (SWP). The 2017/18 programme has run across nine months, and involves a group of 20 officers and SWP staff of mixed rank and functionality (who can either apply for the programme, or be nominated by SWP) attending regular meetings at the CSRI.
Participants divide into small groups, according to their area of interest, and discuss what they perceive to be the key challenges and problems encountered in policing within each area. Each group will select one issue they would like to address in depth, and embark upon their research, with the objective of creating innovative solutions to problems, creating cost or time saving implications, improving processes or creating policy change.
This year topics addressed include the effectiveness of engagement with communities; preparing for an ageing workforce; identifying vulnerability with partners; using digital services to improve communication and assisting with crime prevention / reduction (with particular reference to the 10-24 age group); and evaluating the effectiveness of police time spent with vulnerable persons and medical emergencies in hospitals.
Groups receive support throughout the project from a senior force ‘Shepherd’, who provides guidance on internal governance and operational input. Each group also receives the support of an UPSI researcher, who acts as an academic mentor, advising on study design, methodology and analysis. The groups meet with their shepherd and mentor on a regular basis.
The groups meet monthly for a series of masterclasses, during which they have an opportunity to hear from external speakers on topics such as Homicide Policing in Brazil, Nudge theory and behavioural crime prevention messaging and research concepts, methods and tools. Every month the groups present their progress to their peers, a wider academic audience and chief officers, providing an opportunity for reflection and adaption of their research, to ensure it stays on track.
This year’s programme will culminate in May, with the cohort of officers and staff formally presenting their findings to the SWP Chief Officer Group, together with a short, written report on their findings, interpretation of the evidence and recommendations in relation to the forces strategic direction. Participants also have the option to submit their work to the Chartered Management Institute, for a formal external accreditation.
“From inception, the aim of the programme has been to bring together academia and practitioners of policing to combine and share their knowledge to help address pressing issues facing policing in South Wales today, which may not only affect us, but can have a national context. Based around the three themes of People, Prevention and Partnership, this work will help to develop our response, so that we can tackle areas of crime more effectively, particularly around the key area of vulnerability.”
Chief Constable Matt Jukes
“Recent headlines in the media have clearly indicated how there are new challenges and demands for policing emerging. Set against this backdrop the research projects undertaken as part of this year’s Policing Futures programme are especially exciting because of how they directly respond to some of these contemporary high-profile issues.”
Professor Martin Innes, Director, Crime and Security Research Institute