Guidance for peer reviewers

What is Going equipped?

The ethos of Going equipped is that it is written by the police for the police. Articles are deliberately developed in the voice of the contributor and should be easily understood and accessible to all officers and staff, particularly to those in frontline roles. Potential contributors are identified by police officers and staff through a number of different channels

What is the role of the peer reviewer?

Peer reviewers support contributors through the writing process. Some contributors may require encouragement to plan and write articles and peer reviewers can help by getting involved at the outset, providing valuable support early on to help them start writing the first draft. Encouragement and coaching may involve discussing the subject matter in some detail, suggesting possible structure and helping to reflect on experiences to highlight information likely to be of wide interest to readers. Peer reviewers may then provide ongoing constructive feedback on subsequent drafts. If a contributor is confident at getting started and producing a first draft, peer reviewers will be involved in discussing drafts. They have a central peer to peer role in facilitating and supporting people to contribute to Going equipped.

What skills are required to be a peer reviewer?

Peer reviewers are drawn from all ranks and roles in policing and work, or have recently retired from, a police force in England or Wales. We do not expect peer reviewers to have skills and experience in writing or publishing and they do not need subject specific knowledge to get involved. They can often support contributors who are experienced and confident writers who may benefit from advice about making their article widely understood e.g. written in simple English using non-specialist terminology.

How does the peer review process work?

Peer reviewers are matched with contributors, who have (or will) submitted an article for publication in Going equipped. Where required, specialists may also be requested to comment on articles; always in agreement with contributors. Some articles (particularly Long Reads) may involve several peer reviewers who are able to comment from different perspectives.

To start the process, a member of the Going equipped team will contact all peer reviewers for an initial phone conversation to discuss the type of article and the content that they will be working on. The peer reviewer can use this opportunity to find out more about their role and to ask questions before making contact with the contributor. We will then introduce peer reviewers to contributors via email and a submission date will be agreed.

We expect peer reviewers to contact potential authors at whichever stage the contributor needs help. This may be before writing has started or following a first draft. We strongly recommend that after the College introductory email, the peer reviewer sets up a phone or virtual meeting to discuss the article. Any suggestions that the peer reviewer has for changes to the article should always be discussed directly with the writer. Reviews should be constructive and positive and are in place to encourage participation. For this reason, a discussion via phone or a virtual meeting is preferred as a method of discussing possible changes or additions to articles – these can be followed up by email to summarise agreed changes. Adopting this approach ensures that the process of being peer reviewed is collaborative and supportive.

What should peer reviewers consider when providing support?

Peer reviewers can help contributors in a number of ways, for example by discussing ways to:

  • Identify the focus of the article and helping to align it with the purpose of the type of article, for example, if a 'practice note' ensuring that details of what was done are clearly explained 
  • Encourage inclusion of a brief outline of the contributor's role (with an explanation if required) early on in the article to contextualise their writing
  • Structure the article, this may involve discussing and agreeing questions or sub-headings to help to shape their writing 
  • Reflect on their role and/or on events that they describe in their writing
  • Use the article style guide and the word count as part of the planning and review process
  • Avoid using inaccessible or specialist terminology and ensure acronyms are fully explained
  • Use clear English to communicate to readers
  • Consider any sensitive areas and ensure that, where necessary, people, companies or organisations are not identifiable (this will also be checked by the Going equipped team)
  • Make writing relevant to frontline staff, retaining clear messages and linking to practice
  • Adopt a positive perspective on their practice and reflections, even where they may focus on difficult topics and include on moving on from an event or experience

 

What other guidance is provided to contributors?

General writing advice, below, is provided to all contributors. The Going equipped team will initiate direct contact with all contributors to explain the purpose of the publication, the options for contributing as a writer or otherwise and to assist with identifying the focus of their article.  For example, some contributions might be appropriate for development in a number of ways and might fit several types of article e.g. a practice note or a shift in the life of.  Following peer review and submission of a final draft, all articles will have a light touch proof read by the College copy editors to address any typographical, spelling or grammatical errors. This proof read will not address content and focus issues. 

General writing hints and tips shared with contributors:

  • Write in your own style. We want articles to be written in your 'voice'.

  • Use plain English and avoid jargon and local or force specific acronyms. If you do use a well- established, nationally recognised acronym, put it in full when you first use it with the shortened version in brackets afterwards.  From that point on use the acronym.

  • Be clear about the policing area you are describing. This might be well understood in your area of policing but might be unknown by other officers and staff who are not familiar with your role or geographic region.

  • Be specific about what you did. Include practical details rather than high level priorities or business requirements. If applicable, consider key information which would help readers replicate or implement your idea, advice, practice etc.

  • Avoid any information which could identify incidents or cases.

  • If you refer to research or statistics, try to state your source. You could also add a link in the text or add a reference at the end of your article.

  • Articles should normally identify you and your police force/agency as the contributor unless there is an operational issue or a personal requirement to the contrary. We will also ask if you would be willing to include your contact details for readers requiring further information. 


     

Who can I contact if I have any questions about the process?

If you would like to contact the Going equipped team, please email us at Goingequipped@college.pnn.police.uk 

 

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