The Centre exists to create and use knowledge through both research and education to improve policing for the public good. In this way, the Centre contributes to the work of police agencies as they adapt to a changing policing landscape, with its greater emphasis on evidence-based practice. The programme of work includes:
The Centre is based in the Faculty of Business and Law and is also supported by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, though it works with all faculties and areas of the University.
Some activities of the Centre are open to all police officers and staff, working in the spirit of The Open University (to be open to people, places, methods and ideas). However, the Centre also works in a highly collaborative way with a partnership of 23 police forces, which help to shape and undertake the programme of activities.
Learning and education
The Centre offers a wide range of educational courses and qualifications. Open Educational Resources (OER) are free, informal short courses available on the internet (e.g. on a laptop, tablet or smartphone) which can provide police officers and staff with informal learning and/or with continuing professional development.
There are also more formal learning opportunities such as:
The Centre research is based on a genuinely collaborative working relationship, bringing together the key knowledge, skills and experience of academics with those of police practitioners in a co-research approach. This collaboration is valuable in identifying and analysing problems in order to improve policing. Research projects can come from a range of sources; police policy makers and practitioners may identify real-life, operational or organisational issues to research, or academics may suggest topics which will benefit from practical research.
Knowledge into practice
The Centre is concerned not only with creating new knowledge but also testing and exploring whether, when, how and why it works in practice. So the Centre has a range of innovative activities designed to maximise learning between members of the police, between police organisations, and between the police and academics.
The Centre for Policing Research and Learning's Annual Report is a record of the programme of work, the activities, outputs and achievements over 2022. With more than 80 OU academics working closely and collaboratively with 23 UK police agencies, the collaboration has a lively and ambitious programme concerned with education, research and knowledge into practice. The report gives some examples of the Centre's work in each area. Many of the activities and outputs of the Centre are free to use by any police agency or police individual (e.g. Open educational resources to support CPD and conferences) while the police agency partners have privileged access to design, shape and participate in the whole programme of work.
Click below to view the latest annual report
About the partnership
Representatives from all police agency partners and chaired by the police - jointly decides on the programme of work on education, research and knowledge exchange to embed research evidence in daily practice. The multiplier effect of the membership is considerable: activities and outcomes benefit all partners and the partnership also gain from a variety of sources, grants and funding.
|Avon and Somerset Police
|National Crime Agency
|British Transport Police
|North Yorkshire Police
|Greater Manchester Police
|Police Service of Northern Ireland
|South Yorkshire Police
|Thames Valley Police
|West Midlands Police
|Metropolitan Police Service
Partners have shown, in “TripAdvisor” type sessions, and in discussion, that membership provides value for money in creating evidence-based practice, in providing new concepts and ideas with which to understand policing; and supporting practical changes to enhance operational and organizational performance. Policing is informed by world-leading, cutting-edge research. High-trust relationships allow for data sharing which makes research outputs and educational resources rigorous and relevant.
If your force or policing organisation wishes to find out more about becoming one of the Centre's partners then please get in touch with the centre.