14 December 2020

Introducing our registered pilots scheme

Our registered pilot scheme has been launched to support forces to trial and test innovative ways to reduce crime, by providing relevant research support and specialist advice

In a rapidly changing environment for policing, forces are under pressure to use resources more efficiently and effectively. In response, policing often seeks to adopt new and innovative approaches to emerging issues and perennial problems. Taking a tailored approach with each force, we work together to help plan robust evaluations for new practices that will build the evidence base and allow us to understand what works.

Involvement with the scheme starts with a conversation. This allows you to tell us about the new approach you are piloting – why it is being introduced, what it involves and what the intended outcomes are. Importantly, this initial discussion also provides an opportunity for you to share any concerns or risks arising from the intervention itself, or in the way it might be evaluated. After talking through the key issues, we can provide advice and guidance about potential approaches to measuring impact which will help you to  develop a structured evaluation plan. 

We will offer feedback on your evaluation plan with suggestions and guidance that may cover a range of technical, methodological and ethical considerations. For each plan we establish a review panel which is able to draw on our most relevant specialist research expertise, so we can best support the needs of the pilot.

For example, the Metropolitan Police Service approached us prior to the launch of their new approach to communicating with the appropriate adults of young people who have been arrested.. Project Guardian is now a registered pilot which aims to reduce reoffending by introducing a new video briefing and lightly scripted conversation for police officers to use with young people in custody suites. Follow-up emails or texts are then sent to appropriate adults as a further way of signposting to local support services. Rates of childhood re-offending, and confidence in the police custody process amongst the appropriate adults will then be measured for those receiving the new communication, as well as a control group of those who did not.

Our registered pilot scheme highlighted some useful additions and clarifications to benefit the final Project Guardian trial protocol. Discussions covered possible methods of analysis, understanding disproportionality within the trial and how to gather feedback on how the trial runs in practice. The College also contributed to discussions about ethical issues and were able to provide reassurance to the MPS team running the trial that these had been fully considered.

Superintendent Suzanne Hopper from the MPS said, "Pre-registering is an important step in rigorous experimentation, so being part of the Registered Pilot scheme was a good opportunity to do just that. The independent input from the College's researchers was really valuable, and we will ensure we continue working together in the future"

Project Guardian is now live and will run until early 2021.

If you would like to have a conversation about a trial or new intervention in your force, and how we might be able to support you understand what works, please get in touch with us by emailing research@college.pnn.police.uk.

If you would like to know more about Project Guardian, please get in touch with the MPS team by emailing StrategicInsightUnitMailbox-.SIUEnquiries@met.police.uk



If you would like to receive our regular College What Works email updates, contact us at whatworks@college.pnn.police.uk and ask to be added to our mailing list. 


 Useful links