In recent years, renewed attention has been directed at how policing can be further informed by academic research. In collaboration with others in at the University of Exeter and the Devon and Cornwall Police, through the Exeter Policing, Evidence, and Research Translation (ExPERT) project we are seeking to develop and sustain capacity amongst police officers and staff for evidence-based practice, to undertake research relevant to strategic priorities, and to improve knowledge transfer between the police and academia.

For instance, our “Making Sense of Evidence and Research” workshops have sought to provide officers and staff in the Devon and Cornwall Police with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to engage with research and research evidence in the course of their work. In seeking to further attendees’ willingness and capacity to alter their day-to- day practice, the workshops (and the ExPERT project more widely) are engaging with questions of how to bring about organisational change. More widely, the ExPERT project seeks to understand how data and evidence are defined, produced, and utilized within the police.

Currently, Dana Wilson-Kovacs, Hannah Wheat, Sabina Leonelli, and I are conducting an Economic and Social Research Council funded study to understand the use of digital forensics in policing in England and Wales. Digital evidence (for instance, videos, images, texts, GPS data) increasingly used in examinations of homicides, sex crimes, missing persons, child sexual abuse, drug dealing, fraud and theft of personal information, as well as in civil disputes. As the volume of cases requiring digital forensic analysis and the amount of information to be processed in each case have risen rapidly in recent years, law enforcement agencies are struggling to address this demand. Our project aims to offer a theoretically grounded and empirically based ethnographic analysis of the digital forensic resources, practices and expertise mobilised to provide intelligence for on-going investigations and aid the prosecution of suspects.

Related Publications

(For a complete listing of my publications click here)