EMPAC Fellows, the chief officer team and the Police and Crime Commissioner from Lincolnshire Police together with representatives of the University of Lincoln have hosted a new venture, and one with the potential for a regional roll-out.
Lincolnshire have established quite a track record in innovation and this latest concept helps bring together practitioners and researchers to root research findings in a professional impact setting through collaborative research debriefs. This most recent initiative develops knowledge in a problem solving operational context, encouraging reflection, insight and innovation. The remit is broad – any policing topic, but with an emphasis on contemporary issues, such as the globalisation of policing.
A series of research projects within the Police Studies module at Lincoln had been commissioned on various aspects of policing, ranging from public order to child sexual exploitation. These were then brought back to industry professionals for reflection, discussion and review. The Viva model in traditional academic use tends to be a final oral examination phase involving external academics who review and probe research findings. This new collaborative involvement of professionals alongside academics marks an innovation to help ensure context and impact are central.
Julie Wilkins (pictured with PCC Marc Jones), Lincolnshire Police’s Head of Strategic Development explains, “these advancements in our research-informed approach to improving policing supports PCC Marc Jones’ commitment to improved collaboration through key strategic priorities, such as community safety and prevention in partnerships and policing that works”.
Katie Strudwick, Programme Leader for Criminology at the University of Lincoln, said, “events such as this really bring to life the research environment for everyone concerned – bringing academic rigour to real world application and that’s got to be a good thing. I’m really pleased we’ve now got senior professionals, academics and researchers all in one place reviewing research that’s been done – it values it and ensures it passes the ‘real-world’ test of relevance.”
Other EMPAC universities are now exploring how such a professional viva model can be applied across a whole range of levels to support research impact.