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New Academic Director

Dr Emma Williams has been appointed to be the new Academic Director of the Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL) following a formal interview panel chaired by the Associate Dean of Curriculum at the Business School. 

Dr Emma Williams takes up her post on 1 July 2023.  She takes over from Professor Jean Hartley, who steps down after 9 years as the founder and Academic Director of CPRL.  Jean will continue to work at the OU and with CPRL on a part-time basis. 

Emma has worked at the OU and CPRL for more than 2 years as Director of Research for CPRL and she also leads the CPRL research team which is making such significant headway on improving learning and wellbeing for police officers conducting investigations into rape and other sexual offences, also called Operation Soteria Bluestone. 

Emma commented: “I am delighted and honoured to be offered the role of Academic Director, leading the team of OU academics which works in collaboration with 26 UK police forces on research, education and knowledge into practice. CPRL is a unique collaboration between police and academics to undertake work which is academically rigorous and also relevant and practical for police.”

Jean will work with Emma over the summer to ensure an effective transition and then will work part-time from September.  She said:

“I have spent nine years creating and growing CPRL, so it is high time for a new leader at the helm.  I know CPRL will be in good hands with Emma and the wider team.  I am looking forward to focusing on my public leadership and policing research and teaching, including the work on the dynamics of police working with politicians, and of course, the CPRL Commission on police trustworthiness.”

CPRL’s police Chair, Dr Nick Caveney of Hertfordshire Constabulary was on the interview panel for the post.  He noted:

“I am pleased to have this opportunity to continue to work with Emma in her new role as Academic Director.  There are many challenges facing policing and society right now, and the collaboration of police and academics through the Open University’s CPRL is growing in national and international importance.  Emma’s energy, ideas and research expertise will be invaluable in addressing these matters.”

In addition to welcoming Emma as the incoming Academic Director, CPRL will now be nested within the Department of Policing (formerly called Policing Organisation and Practice), which is in the Faculty of Business and Law.  This change enables CPRL to retain its identity, purpose and impact, and will create further synergies between all the academics with expertise in policing in the Faculty of Business and Law.  CPRL will continue to work with its network of more than 80 academics across other disciplines and faculties at the Open University.

Jennifer Norman, Head of the expanded Department of Policing said:

“I welcome CPRL into the Department of Policing, enabling it to continue its innovative, wide-ranging and impactful work, while seeking out opportunities for greater synergy across the wide range of academic offerings at the OU on policing and other public services.”

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May 22

Online Seminar: Trust and confidence in policing

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 - 13:00 to 14:30

Jun 13

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

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