Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane and his team have partnered up with local universities in a bid to increase the use of academic research in shaping and investing in local services and influencing community safety policies.
A total of 18 Master students from the University of Portsmouth, Southampton University, Solent University and the University of Winchester are currently working on topics relevant to the work of the Commissioner, including cybercrime, stalking, sexual offences, and domestic abuse. The students are mentored and supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office to ensure their research meets the real needs of those working in the criminal justice sector.
The innovative collaboration comes after a successful pilot in 2018, which saw four students complete their Master dissertations through a placement with the PCC’s office.
Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Enzo Riglia said: “Policing and the Criminal Justice System all have to adapt to the changing nature of crime. If we want to keep making the right decisions when it comes to shaping and investing in services for victims and offenders, or influencing policies on how crimes are being dealt with, we need to have access to up-to-date research that provides insight into the problems we are dealing with and helps us identify what needs to change locally to keep our communities safer.
“Partnering up with local universities ensures academic research meets real local needs, and in turn we can help students gain access to the wider network of criminal justice practitioners across the Hampshire policing area.”
Johannes Oosthuizen, Senior Lecturer at the University of Winchester, said: “We have been privileged to work together with the PCC’s office in order to conduct research around contemporary issues and topics in the criminal justice sector.
“Our postgraduate students have not only been able to develop their research skills with working professionals but have also acquired valuable employment experience which will greatly benefit their post-graduate employment. We look forward to a productive and continued academic collaboration with the PCC’s office in the future.”
Fiona Pink, one of the students participating in the pilot, said: “Collaborating with the Police and Crime Commissioner and his office allowed me to widen my knowledge on the Criminal Justice System. 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.”