EMPAC’s Research Impact tool attracts growing interest

EMPAC’s Impact Capacity Rating (ICR) tool has continued to attract attention from forces interested in increasing impact from research.

The focus on impact is vital in maximising application and usefulness from research, for the public benefit.

EMPAC developed the prototype IMPACT typology to inform commissioning, development and evaluating of policing research. This aims to help articulate the need policing has and limit research which offers little operational application. It is not enough to simply identify a topic for researchers in policing as the method and focus on impact can still be variable – policing needs the right topic, addressed in the right way, to apply to practice and achieve impact. Whilst this tool started from a policing need the principles here could be applied and extended to any blue light service or related partner.

Here is the typology, currently undergoing piloting:


Professor Ken Pease said, “For some time there has been a need for research to inform police practice more: we need to move away from research that is interesting to researchers and nothing more. The EMPAC impact capacity classification is innovative and useful in helping frame research in ways which speak to police priorities and public need in an applied way. The need to establish common language and understanding of impact potential is important to practitioners and researchers alike.”

Supporting research co-production

The Impact tool also helps practitioners and researchers (and indeed practitioner-researchers) working together on a common framework towards impact. Policing research needs to evolve away from something which is simply ‘done for’, ‘to’ or ‘about’ policing: collaborative research offers the best of all blends and helps focus on impact. This is not an either / or argument: it asserts the outcomes of research are better achieved by working together.

Given an articulation of what policing needs for impact in policing research, using collaborative models of impact and peer reviewing that includes professional policing practitioners too, better outcomes from research are offered.

This should be considered a pivotal moment in the evolution of research for universities, policing, and their governance. And of course, let’s not forget, for the public. If you are interested in getting involved in piloting and using the Impact Capacity Rating or simply want to know a little more please get in touch with john.coxhead@empac.org.uk.