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Reflections on a Senior Practitioner Fellowship with the CPRL

Lucy Bottomley recently completed a 3-month secondment to the Centre from Thames Valley Police working as a Senior Practitioner Fellow. Here she tells us more about her experience... 

"I joined the Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL) at the Open University on a three-month secondment as a Senior Practitioner Fellow from Thames Valley Police. After attending a selection board in London in 2020, and a period of Covid leading to a few months’ delays, I started my secondment In January 2021. I was immediately met with a friendly, smart and passionate team who really made me feel welcome in a new world of academia.

I was given opportunities not only to work on the Domestic Abuse and Victim Disengagement project, which was, and continues to be, such an amazing experience, but also encouraged to look outside of the circle to attend further seminars, groups and training - something which I normally would have no access to as a Response Sergeant. I had access to many interesting meetings and exposure to a lot of the fantastic research CPRL is doing. This really enforced for me how many people are passionate about improving the Police Service nationally and the hard work involved in this.

The three months flew by, where I participated in a review of police practice and policy around Rape and Domestic abuse, assisting in designing police focus groups and learning huge amounts as I went.

Since returning there is ongoing work around DV in Milton Keynes and force wide. I am feeding back to the force strategic group the benefits of the CPRL but also taking what I have learnt to improve our evidence-based practice to make it more rigorous, looking to find ways to get involved in further research projects while still a visiting fellow with the Centre. Whilst back working with my force, I am still actively involved in the DV and Rape Disengagement project and am looking forward to working with the team on the upcoming police focus groups. We are presenting to the European Conference of Domestic Violence, certainly something that I never thought I would be involved with and that is another fantastic opportunity that the CPRL has created for me. I am excited to continue to work with such a fantastic team on such great work and look forward to the next few months." Lucy Bottomley

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