The East Midlands Policing Academic Collaboration (EMPAC) exists to improve policing and cut crime in the region through research and innovation. 

Our purpose is to improve policing practice by drawing upon the best research and innovation ideas. We do this by bringing together policing and security professionals with academic researchers to:-

  • drive research and innovation with a policing purpose, focusing on policing priorities
  • inform solutions to shared policing problems in the region by working with a diverse network of researchers to proactively identify insights and innovation opportunities

Our approach

EMPAC focuses on cross border shared policing issues and networks with academic researchers wherever they may be to help connect the best data, insight and innovation to support policing capability. We work together to co-problematise and co-produce high impact research for professional policing practice. 

We also have our own specialist expertise to deliver research products and can also support and advise local forces on research and innovation opportunities. 

EMPAC is not a research funding body but will act as a bidding partner for external research grant applications. 

Respecting the importance and sensitivity of policing and security within society, collaborative research data will be owned by the Police, and will not be not be used or disseminated without explicit Police permission (e.g. a specific jointly agreed data processing contract or data protection agreement).


EMPAC’s strategic lead is Dr Paul Gibson, Deputy Chief Constable, a genetics graduate with a doctorate in molecular medicine. DCC Gibson heads the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU).  EMSOU is a collaboration of five East Midlands police forces (Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire)  that works with strategic Government Agency partners to tackle major and organised crime and co-ordinate counter terrorism. See EMSOU’s Strategic Plan 2021-22 here:- EMSOU Annual_Strategy_2021 .

DCC Gibson started his policing career in Grantham before becoming a detective in 2000, then progressing to ACC in Lincolnshire before moving to Derbyshire in 2018, prior to his EMSOU post. Dr Gibson is the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) strategic lead for transforming forensics and the national forensic capability network.


EMPAC’s Principal Researcher is Dr John Coxhead, a former senior police officer, now employed as security vetted specialist police staff, leading on strategic research intelligence. Dr Coxhead is a ‘pracademic’; being uniquely active in both academic and policing professional practice for decades; supervising doctoral students and authoring national problem profiles. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and holds professorships at Keele and Loughborough Universities. At Keele John focuses thematically upon researching professional interdisciplinarity, and at Loughborough upon innovation and learning within policing. 

Professor Coxhead undertakes appropriate overt and covert commissioned work via EMSOU, where he enhances research impact environment and in the operationalising of research insights and findings by facilitating a collaborative co-problematisation, co-creative and co-production approach.

Professor Coxhead is undertaking a series of national projects currently including:

how to encourage applicants into policing (NPCC)

-role of the community in policing learning and development (NPCC)

-evaluating serious organised crime interventions (Home Office)

-desistance and lifetime offender management (Home Office) 

He is also external examiner at Manchester Metropolitan University (MA Applied Criminology) and the University of Wales (MSc Strategic Police Leadership), resident journalistic columnist with Police Professional (the UK’s biggest selling policing publication) and founder of the national Innovation in Policing competition. 

Contact us

EMPAC Principal Researcher:-


Telephone 07470 181050