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The Steven Chase Memorial Award

Dr Paul Walley receives the award presented by Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, OU

As part of the Memorial Lecture on 15 June, we had The Steven Chase Award which is for a CPRL project which best illustrates “research into practice and practice into research” and which is based on collaboration between an academic (or team) and a police organisation (or several). It needed to achieve value for both the University and the police.

There were many fantastic projects submitted, but we're delighted to say that Dr Paul Walley received the award for his project “Improving the police forces’ public demand management by using failure demand analysis”, conducted with Gloucestershire Constabulary. 

Paul has given a brief description of the project:

"The aim of the work was to reduce the demand on police officers' time spent on non-urgent calls by stopping repeat or what is called "failure" demand.  We analysed this in Gloucestershire Constabulary, reviewing a large sample of non-urgent calls including listening to the entire telephone conversations that people had when reporting incidents.  A notable feature is that the Centre for Policing Research and Learning has pioneered the use of "Senior Practitioner Fellows" who are seconded from their police forces to work alongside us. In this case our Gloucestershire SPF was Anna Jennison-Phillips, who worked with me for 3 months and co-authored the first report.

Our analysis showed how much unnecessary repeat work was created by the practice of postponing low priority work - often causing people to call in again etc., so we devised a new approach to work allocation where some non-urgent calls were dealt with immediately by contact centre staff or other officers.  In conjunction with a number of other changes, this new approach significantly reduced the amount of time response officers were spending on non-urgent work.  The ideas were taken on board by a number of other forces and is now influencing other innovations such as the Single Online Home.

It may also be worth noting that the demand reduction work is now supported further by our Open Societal Challenges team and we are now working intensively with Hertfordshire Constabulary on reducing the workload dealing with children reported missing.

In terms of winning the award, this is quite overwhelming given that the Centre now has a ten-year track record of producing some excellent, relevant research across all the Faculties of the OU.  To be singled out amongst some incredibly talented groups who have produced some outstanding work is really astonishing and quite unexpected.  I'm always aware this could not have happened without the support of the Centre, Faculty colleagues and the OU."

Forces and agencies who are a member of the CPRL partnership, and OU academics, can view more about this project on our members area.

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