OU joins partnership to improve UK policing

Feb 17, 2014


Following a successful bid for funding from the College of Policing, the OUBS will work with ten police forces and agencies and two police and crime commissioners, initially for a period of four months, with the intention to generate longer-term research and education links between the forces and the university.
The consortium aims to make real strides in tackling areas of priority for policing, such as:
• How to more strongly link research to the day-to-day practice of police officers;
• How to develop smarter working in an environment of greater public expectations and reduced resources;
• Developing leadership structures which enhance service effectiveness.
Research by OU academics involved in the consortium will draw on areas of expertise covering forensic cognition, technology and data use, organisational change, strategic management and the history of policing.
Consortium chair Jean Hartley, Professor of Public Leadership at the OUBS, has significant experience of academic-policing collaboration. She said: “Policing provides a fascinating and vital source of investigation for academic researchers.
“We are fortunate to be able to attract a number of the UK’s largest and most innovative forces to our bid. The consortium is first and foremost about developing a continuing dialogue between police practitioners and academic researchers in order to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges facing the police and thus to make a difference to the quality of research available to support the fight against crime and its causes.”
Sara Thornton, Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, said: “As a diverse and dynamic police force, Thames Valley prides itself as being at the cutting edge in terms of how it gathers and analyses evidence and also in broader policing issues. We draw upon the latest research in the field to further advance our policing practice.
“The partnership between forces and agencies will provide an excellent opportunity to share expertise. Working alongside The Open University  will provide a platform to further our research and understanding of policing in the future.”
The OU’s Walton Hall campus will host a two-day Policing Research Fair later this month to develop research themes further.
It will act as a forum where both academics and police will be able to connect current and future research between policing and higher education and discuss topics such as cognitive forensics and visual identification; community engagement; leadership; organisational change and innovation; strategic management; the use of technology and digital data; workforce development and engagement, and working with vulnerable people.
The Policing Research Fair takes place on February 27-28, after which two flagship research projects will receive initial funding to create and develop longer-term partnership work.
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