ExPERT: The Exeter Policing, Evidence and Research Translation project


Lead institution
University of Exeter

Project contact
Dr Katharine Boyd

Collaborating partners

​* Devon and Cornwall Police


Summary of activities
The ExPERT project aims to:

  1. To develop and sustain capacity amongst police officers and staff to engage with, understand, and use research and research evidence;  
  2. To ensure that the team does research that is relevant to the needs of the policing family and local communities;  
  3. To improve knowledge exchange: that is, to ensure that relevant and appropriate research problems are identified to direct research projects to improve policing, and enhance the knowledge base both in policing and academia.


Project objectives

    • To promote and improve evidence-based practice within policing in the South West region;
                      a)   To build staff capacity for understanding, critiquing and using research within their
                      b)   To build research into strategic planning and decision making processes
                             (eg through commissioning and delivery quality research).
  • To identify what factors help and hinder evidence-based practice in policing.
  • To develop an understanding of what counts as 'evidence' within the police.
  • To explore the relative benefits of methods to promote academic-police research collaborations.
  • To increase and advance collaborations between the University and the police:
                    a)            To promote and undertake collaborative projects;
                    b)            To improve knowledge, skills and learning experiences for undergraduate
                                    students and police staff through joint working opportunities.
  • To support the growth and reputation of Criminology at Exeter University.

Additional Policing objectives:

  • Increased use of best available research evidence to solve policing problems by:
                    a)            Raising awareness of the value of evidence based practice
                    b)            Providing knowledge of how to access to research tools and guidance
                    c)            Advocate evidence based practice across all policing bodies.
  • The production of new research evidence by police practitioners and researchers by:
                    a)            Supporting police practitioners to undertake research projects and give them the
                                    skills to complete high quality research
                    b)            Supporting police practitioners to access research expertise
                    c)            Supporting researchers to access police data - e.g. via knowledge brokering /
                                    secondments etc.
  • Communication of research evidence to police practitioners and the public by:
                    a)            Disseminating police based research to different audiences
                    b)            Presenting  the implication of research findings for police practice.
  • To encourage and enable police to undertake research locally, as individuals/in teams/through commissioned work.
  • To share the outputs of local research more widely to support practice improvement locally and nationally, across forces.
  • To achieve a cultural shift towards practicing in an evidence-based way and promote understanding of the importance of this (e.g. through staff engagement in evidence-based initiatives).
  • To raise the profile and interest in EBP (e.g. through appointing regional representatives in each force).
  • Completion of systematic reviews to enhance the knowledge base in areas of key importance for policing and local communities.

The project is a strategic alliance between:

  • The Devon and Cornwall Police force
  • The Office of Police and Crime Commissioner
  • a cross-disciplinary group of staff members at the University of Exeter.