Weekly academic research summary
LATEST RESEARCH: This summary curates the key policing-related research that's been published online in the last week, with links to the original journal articles, and selected abstracts.
ANALYSIS: The Mendéz Principles build on interviewing models in England and Wales to offer a global standard for effective interviewing practices that ensure non-coercive methods and procedural safeguards; ahead of next month’s conference on the subject at the Canterbury Centre for Policing Research (CCPR), Policing Lecturer James Harris and CCPR Director Dr Martin O’Neill explore the background to the principles, and the development of techniques and lessons drawn from UK cases.
OPINION: This weekend’s coronation of HM King Charles III is likely to be the largest deployment in peace time of uniformed officers on the streets of London; Policing Insight’s Graham Wettone, who served in the Met Police for 30 years, looks at the challenges of the day – both for those policing the route, and for those maintaining public order and community safety away from the event – as well as the unique opportunity such an operation offers.
ANALYSIS: A series of recent reviews and reports have highlighted issues around misogyny and gender inequality in UK policing; in this article Dr Wendy Laverick, Professor Peter Joyce and Dr Emma Cunningham explore the context of some of those issues, and consider the advances as well as the continuing challenges in relation to gender equity in British policing.
OPINION: As he approaches his retirement, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for child protection, reflects on 30 years spent in policing, and in particular the work he has done to combat child abuse in all forms.
ANALYSIS: While the Casey Review focused on the shortcomings of London’s Metropolitan Police, other forces around the UK have their own challenges in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion; Criminal Justice Lecturer Dr Ali Malik argues that Police Scotland, the UK’s second largest force after the Met, has plenty of work to do to address concerns around racism, misogyny and bullying within its ranks.
FEATURE: After a series of high-profile incidents and damaging reviews, levels of public trust in policing have fallen significantly; now a new briefing by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology highlights the current trends around public trust and confidence in policing, the barriers to building that trust, and what policing can do to reverse the decline, as Policing Insight’s Keith Potter reports.
LONG READ: Humberside Police’s Right Care, Right Person (RCRP) initiative has transformed how the force handles mental health incidents, freeing up officers to focus on fighting crime – and with RCRP set to roll out nationwide, policing’s approach to these incidents is about to change significantly; but there’s a more complex story to tell about policing’s role in mental health work, as Policing Insight’s James Sweetland reports.
OPINION: The Macpherson Report into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence made many recommendations around improving the police response, including ensuring the availability of dedicated, trained family liaison officers (FLOs) at a local level; Professor Fiona Brookman of South Wales University looks at how this role has now become an integral part of policing, and what more can be done to ensure forces are making best use of FLOs.
ANALYSIS: The authors of a new report – the first in a series of five on policing ‘seldom heard groups’ published by Police Scotland, the Scottish Institute for Policing Research and the Scottish Police Authority – have called for more to be done to overcome the challenges of policing people with multiple social identities and characteristics such as race, religion, sexuality and disability, as Policing Insight’s Sarah Gibbons reports.
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE: Last year’s rather damning report into UK policing’s digital forensics performance highlighted crucial concerns around lengthy delays failing victims, and forces unable to get to grips with a huge and growing backlog; a digital forensic ‘blueprint’ approach offered by Telefónica Tech provides the flexibility, speed and necessary compliant storage to address those concerns, as Will Wilkinson and Ed Taylor explained to Policing Insight’s Keith Potter.
OPINION: Despite an apparently well-developed framework of accountability arrangements, British policing is still facing a ‘polycrisis’ resulting in a significant loss of public trust and confidence; Police Foundation Director Rick Muir believes that a fresh approach to the principles of accountability – as underlined in a report published recently by the Foundation – could prove crucial in underpinning efforts to tackle the key challenges.
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ANALYSIS: Latest research from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime suggests the global market for cocaine has hit new record levels despite the interruption of parts of the trade during COVID-19, with a significant increase in production, the emergence of supply chain specialists, and traffickers exploiting new markets and international events such as the war in Ukraine, as Policing Insight’s Sarah Gibbons reports.
INTERVIEW: In the latest in a series of interviews with leading figures involved in the research and investigation of organised crime, Policing Insight’s Chris Allen spoke to Alan Edwards, a former Royal Military Police officer and detective chief inspector who now works as a civilian expert specialising in serious organised crime, about the growing pressures of investigating online crime, the potential of the ChildLight initiative, and why law enforcement in the West could and should be doing much more to tackle Africa’s barbaric people traffickers.
FEATURE: The recent attacks in the UK on two men leaving mosques, along with this year’s Jehovah’s Witness Hall shootings in Hamburg and Koran burning in Stockholm, have highlighted once again the threats to places of worship and their congregations; in the last in a series of articles on the PROTECTOR project, and ahead of this week’s conference on the issue, Policing Insight’s Andy Staniforth looks at latest initiatives to tackle the threat, and the key themes set to be explored at Tuesday’s event.
LONG READ: Thirty years after the murder of Stephen Lawrence – and the subsequent Inquiry description of the Met Police as “institutionally racist” – the force, and UK policing more widely, is wrestling with many of the same issues; Policing Insight’s Ian Weinfass spoke to officers involved both then and now to find out what has changed over the past three decades, and what more needs to be done.
INTERVIEW: An EU-funded three-month mentoring scheme is connecting female police officers in The Gambia with experienced colleagues in Thames Valley Police; Policing Insight’s Sarah Gibbons spoke to Sarah-Jane Bray, who is managing the mentoring programme, about the shared challenges facing female officers, and the strong connections built between officers based more than 3,500 miles apart.
ANALYSIS: New data published by Canada’s Tracking (In)Justice project suggest that the average number of police-involved deaths each year between 2011-2022 rose by two thirds, compared to the annual average figure for the previous decade; project members Andrew Crosby, Alexander McClelland and Tanya L. Sharpe believe that the increase, together with the racial disparity and jurisdictional variations within the figures, support calls for greater accountability, transparency and scrutiny of police conduct in Canada.
INTERVIEW: In the fifth in a month-long series of articles exploring the EU-funded PROTECTOR project, which aims to design, develop and deliver the next generation of measures to enhance the protection of places of worship and their congregations, Policing Insight’s Andy Staniforth spoke to Fiene Flos, Counter-Terrorism Analyst in the Antwerp Police Department, about her organisation’s role in the initiative and the benefits the project has brought to policing in Belgium.
OPINION: With the growing prospect of the responsibility for large national IT programmes passing from the Home Office to policing, the way the service gets its technology looks set to change; Sharad Rathi, Operations Director and Public Sector lead at HCLTech, believes that how that technology is developed and delivered is at least as important as which public body is delivering it.
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE: There has been intense discussion about police use of facial recognition in recent years, with questions surrounding the ethics and practical implementation of Live Facial Recognition in public spaces. Ian Williams discusses how Motorola Solutions’ Pronto digital policing platform is leveraging other applications of facial recognition technology that address the interests of victims and the public at large.
OPINION: The recently published Casey Review highlighted issues of a “toxic culture” in parts of the Metropolitan Police including racist, sexist and misogynistic behaviour; but doctoral researcher Kathryn Farrow of the University of Oxford argues that while the findings and headlines have focused on the Met, other forces around the country still have much work to do on many of the same issues.