Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies are brand new members of the Centre and here their force lead, Andrew Whinney, introduces himself and discusses the reasons for Norfolk and Suffolk being so keen to get involved.
"I have been aware of the work of the Centre for some years, and having expressed an interest in finding out more, I was invited to come along to one of the member group meetings last year to find out what the Centre is all about. I am passionate about the benefits that taking an evidence-based approach to policing can have, and as the strategic lead for evidence-based practice for both forces, I was intrigued to find out more about how Norfolk and Suffolk could benefit from joining the consortium and in turn, how we could best support the Centre in achieving its aims.
I was immediately impressed by the engagement of members at that first group meeting, and having discussed all that the Centre had to offer with Professor Jean Hartley and colleagues, it was clear that the Centre offered something new and exciting in the world of police academic partnerships.
It is abundantly clear that one of the fundamental principles of the Centre is collaboration. From the opportunities for officers and staff to take part in secondments to the Centre to be fully immersed in research and to bring that learning back to their home organisation, through to the way forces and academics from the Centre work together to decide upon research projects and work together to produce that research – it is collaborative working at its best.
The opportunities the Centre offers to translate research into practice was another key point for me. In order for evidence-based practice to be adopted in policing, it is so important that officers and staff can engage with the research, and understand the ‘so what’ in a quick and easily accessible way. The evidence cafes offered by the Centre seem to be an excellent way of achieving just that, in a targeted and engaging way. During the current climate, these types of events are more challenging to deliver but I know there are plans to move evidence cafes on line in the near future! I’m really looking forward to arranging one in Norfolk and Suffolk soon. I am equally looking forward to the upcoming annual conference in April – the theme of Resilience in Policing and Publics promises to deliver some highly relevant research to policing and the environment in which we find ourselves.
I have also been especially impressed by the learning opportunities offered by the Centre. Even before joining, I have encouraged my teams to make use of the excellent Open Educational Resources (OER’s) for their continuous professional development (CPD). With many new recruits to policing entering via the PCDA and PEQF, we must remember that many of our officers and staff who are longer in service may not have had the same opportunities for development, at least in terms of evidence-based practice. The resources offered by the Centre are high quality, accessible and very relevant to policing, and I look forward to seeing how they develop in the future.
I am really looking forward to meeting more of you via the Membership Group meetings and sharing ideas and expertise in police research and learning." Andrew Whinney