Have you seen and met the police officers around the campus? No, it’s not an undercover investigation of any nefarious activities of academics. We have five police officers and staff who are or have been on secondment to the Centre for Policing Research and Learning as Senior Practitioner Fellows. Their secondments were funded by the Police Knowledge Fund and enabled them to join existing research projects, both to learn about research skills and also to contribute to research with their practical knowledge of policing and police organizations.
Quoc Vo, from Thames Valley Police and Jim Beashel from Dorset Police worked with Professor Jean Hartley on the project on leadership to create public value. Quoc and Jean used Q methodology to investigate policing priorities as seen by police, their service partners and the public and Quoc designed the Q Board to collect the data. We also discovered a practical interest from the police in using our Q Board in consultations about police priorities quite apart from the research angle. (so would this make a REF impact study).
Jim has mainly worked on research interviews in Wales and eastern England about leadership in one case study about multi-agency victim support and one case study about leadership in preventing illegal hare coursing. Anna Jennison-Phillips from Gloucestershire Police has just started working with Dr Paul Walley on research on demand management in policing. Our Consortium forces are requesting help from Paul in managing external and internal demand so we are very fortunate to have this extra help on his research projects.
So far, researchers have learnt about policing, which helps their research and the police have learnt about research which will help them in their work back in force as well as in their dealings with academics in the future. The use of practitioners in academic research is part of the distinctive interest in engaged research which is a hallmark of the Open University Business School.