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29 April 2019: Natasha Fletcher on our research partnership with local universities

29 April 2019

Policing, the Criminal Justice System, support and intervention services all have to move and adapt with the changing nature of crime. But how do we know we are making the right decisions when it comes to shaping and investing in services or influencing policies?

One way we’re tackling this is by partnering up with local universities. Last year we piloted a collaboration with Winchester University, through which Masters students placed with us gained work experience and research opportunities while undertaking their final dissertation. Their areas of research met the complex needs of the office of the PCC (OPCC), while providing the students with a unique placement opportunity that gave them access to the wider network of criminal justice practitioners in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Several months down the line we now have four research papers and four students who have completed their course, one finishing with a First, two with a Merit and one with a Pass.

Two of the students have subsequently taken up a one-year entry-level positions as researchers at the OPCC, applying the skills acquired through their academic learning to the hands-on world of research here at the office.

“Having the support of the staff at the office helped me complete my piece of research to a high quality. They provided me with useful contacts to interview, up to date information, and any other support I needed. Because of all the support I received whilst on my placement I will now be graduating with a Distinction this October.”

Fiona Pink, Research Assistant

Following the success of the pilot, we have now expanded the project to other universities. There are now 18 students placed with the OPCC, working on topics such as:

  • Out of court disposals for sexual offences
  • Perception of domestic abuse in LGBTQ relationships
  • Stalking
  • Appropriate support for child victims of domestic abuse
  • The psychological impact of cybercrime

Working directly with university students and exploring new and innovative approaches to accessing high quality evidence and research allows the OPCC to gain up-to-date insights that help us keep up with the changing nature of crime, identify what needs to change and how we can keep our communities safer.

The effects of crime and the Criminal Justice System at different stages go beyond the individual, impacting upon families, wider community networks and support services. It is through our partnership working where we can make a real difference.


Natasha Fletcher
Senior Research Officer