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Meet our new Research Fellow

Dr Ben Bowles, who has been a Researcher in the CPRL since 2020, has recently been successful in his application for a new Research Fellow post in the Centre which will l begin in July.

Ben has previously worked with the Centre on projects investigating police leadership during the Covid pandemic and, most recently, an extended piece of work on the effect of the Tutor Constable and Assessor roles on the professional socialisation of policing recruits. 

He will start his new post by scoping out and setting up research opportunities as part of the Centre's proposed commission to improve the legitimacy and trustworthiness of policing in the UK. This includes a short piece of work in partnership with Professor Mark Fenton-O'Creevy (Professor of Organisational Behaviour), exploring the usefulness of the concept of "uncomfortable knowledge" in a policing context.

Uncomfortable knowledge is an anthropological/sociological concept, developed by Steve Raynor, that describes the mechanisms that organisations have for avoiding things that they know about their operations that are embarrassing or hard to fix. These can include activities to deny problems, dismiss or discredit critics, divert resources into examining other more fixable issues, and to displace energies into measuring the issue or making changes in ways that do not challenge underlying issues. 

At the CPRL Membership Group Meeting on 15 June, Ben and Mark lead  a workshop with CPRL member practitioners to explore the ways in which they find the ideas of uncomfortable knowledge applicable or not to the operation of their forces. The findings from this workshop will be used to develop a paper that evaluates the existing scholarship on uncomfortable knowledge in organisations and looks at how, firstly, these insights could be applied to policing and, secondly, how techniques from the 'pedagogy of discomfort' could be used to help forces to translate this knowledge into practice and to produce spaces in which their uncomfortable knowledge is recognised and addressed.

Ben says:

"I am looking forward to continuing to work with academics in the CPRL at this fascinating moment in the history of policing in UK and in the context of police forces experiencing genuinely unprecedented challenges. As a social anthropologist, my interest in culture always primes me to focus on the ways in which cultures, including organisational cultures, develop and become resistant to change. The commission is an exciting moment to look critically at police cultures and their relationships with various authorities and publics, and to use research to create genuine change for the better in police practice."

Upcoming Events

Jun 13

Online Membership Group Meeting

Thursday, June 13, 2024 - 10:30 to 12:30

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