Spotlight on EMPAC experts: Graham Pickering

Graham is a Service Improvement officer within Leicestershire Police and the EMPAC point of contact in Leicestershire for two-way communication in our regional policing research collaboration. Graham performs a vital role in making things happen at the local level and ensuring research is helping the continual improvement of  policing in Leicestershire.

Prior to working for the Police, Graham Graham worked in Teacher Training and as a data analyst in Education. Outside of the Police, he is a cricket umpire in Leicestershire and Rutland, and mentors young cricket officials who are between the ages of 15 and 30.

Growing the research

Over the last year, Graham has been working on developing links with the local universities at De Montfort and Leicester to ensure policing research is focussed on policing priorities.

An undergraduate placement week has also been trialled, where undergraduate students from University of Leicester School of Criminology undertook a placement within one of the Leicestershire neighbourhood policing areas. During this week, they used the SARA (scan, analysis, respond, assess) problem solving model to explore a particular local issue, to help stimulate fresh ideas and thinking. After the success of 2020, another group of students from the School of Criminology will undertake their placement in February 2021.

There have been several projects with De Montfort University, such as the  PLOD project (Police Link Officers for Deaf people) and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing department to enhance policing communication tactics.

Spreading the word

Graham also organised an inaugural and highly successful Research Café, held at Leicestershire Police Headquarters and attended by University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University, EMPAC and the College of Policing. It was seen as a ‘one stop shop’ for Police officers and staff to enquire about research and what the various institutions had to offer.

After the success of the Research Café, Graham started developing a Research Showcase, due to take place in May 2021, to allow undergraduate and postgraduate students to present their research work as well as enhancing networking opportunities between local universities and Leicestershire Police

Leicestershire have also designed and launched a research library and a research newsletter. The library holds all dissertations from both undergraduate and postgraduate students who have conducted research on behalf of or for Leicestershire Police over the years. This library is split into directorates for ease of access and hopes to help officers and staff in looking for information and research which could aid or compliment their day-to-day work.

The research newsletter summarises the research that has been completed or is ongoing around the Force and also names the point of contact for the undergraduate/postgraduate student who is conducting the piece of research. It also highlights latest news stories within Force on all research and evidence-based policing topics as well as amalgamating this with Problem Management Plan learning.

The future

The future looks a busy one as there are new links, within EMPAC, with University of Leicester Applied Mathematics students, who are exploring  optimisation and forecasting of data within Force Management Statements and Understanding Demand, and Recruitment data to underpin at which point a trainee may leave the process and for what reason. Graham is seeking to expand this approach across other academic departments such as Sociology, Geography and Psychology to scope potential collaboration

At De Montfort University, there is ongoing work to design and develop a plan of action to aid future work with both new police joiners (PCDA and DHEP cohorts). As part of this work, Graham will be visiting De Montfort in January 2021, to discuss exciting research topics and areas with 2nd year PCDA students. The intention is this will be a rolling annual event for new students.

Going forward, there are plans to explore how research can be more used more dynamically Force-wide across Leicestershire, to include piloting ‘asking the Academic’ forums involving the local universities.

Further ahead, Graham is currently designing a 5 year research plan that will have a central topics suitable for researching by police cadets, HND students, undergraduate students, postgraduate students including, if needed, PhD students.

Graham said, “this is an exciting time for research and evidence-based policing at Leicestershire Police but I could not have done this without the help of my line manager Lindsey Hadley, Chief Inspector Dan Pedley, Chief Inspector Dwight Barker and tutelage of Dr. John Coxhead at EMPAC.

It also cannot be done without the extraordinary lecturers at the Universities, most notably Dr. Claire Davis, Dr. Jo Dawkins and Dr. Wendy Fitzgibbon at University of Leicester as well as Chris Alcott and Tracy Bradford at De Montfort University. Their support is vital.

The aim should always be to create the next generation of pracademics and academics, where we endeavour to put problem management and research at the heart of everything we do.

EMPAC says well done Graham and keep up the great work!

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