How and to what extent can Problem Based Learning for police officers improve service delivery to victims of domestic abuse?

Research Institution / Organisation

University of York

In Collaboration With

North Yorkshire Police

Principal Researcher

Chloe Boyce

Level of Research

PhD

Project Start Date

October 2016

Research Context

In Problem Based Learning (Pbl), learning is a student- centred learning technique that challenges students to learn through engagement in a real problem. Pbl simultaneously develops both problem solving strategies and disciplinary knowledge bases and skills by shifting the focus on teaching, to learning.

The aim of the research is to implement and evaluate how using a Pbl method for domestic abuse training for police officers can improve service delivery to victims of domestic abuse. The research will involve the creation and implementation of a model of Pbl, as additional training for a group of police officers from North Yorkshire Police. This method of training will be evaluated on how it’s received by officers, this will include analysing the activity in the Pbl sessions and, having participants take part in some reflective learning processes after their training.

A report by the HMIC conducted in 2014 on policing domestic abuse found:
‘a lack of visible leadership, frontline officers without the knowledge to spot dangerous patterns of behaviour and a failure by some forces to collect evidence properly’ (HMIC, 2014. p.7).
HMIC (2014) declared that action needed to be taken immediately; there were too many weaknesses in the services provided to victims, meaning they were put at unnecessary risk. The report stated that:
‘the police need to have the right tools, training, resources and partnerships in order for them to do their job as well as they should’ (HMIC, 2014, p.8).

These findings are worrying because it’s essential for officers to have a proper understanding of domestic abuse, and an appreciation of the harm it causes to victims and their children if they are to carry out effectively their core policing activities of ‘keeping victims safe, preventing crime, investigating crime and bringing offenders to justice’ (HMIC, 2014. p.7).

Research Methodology

​The participants will all be serving police officers from North Yorkshire police force. Each Pbl group will contain 5-8 participants and there will be 6-8 different training sessions. North Yorkshire police are keen to invite some participants to take part via internal email notifications to staff, by posters/ newsletters to be circulated to staff and by word of mouth via police leaders. However, North Yorkshire Police are also keen to ensure that those officers who may have a particular training need in the area of domestic abuse attend the training, making the Pbl sessions compulsory for those officers. A Mixed co-hort of around 50% volunteers and 50% of participants that have being referred as a training need will make up the participant groups.

Although the Pbl sessions will be compulsory for those officers who have been referred to the training, the data collection after these sessions such as the reflective learning will not be compulsory. The Pbl sessions will be evaluated on how it is received by officers, this will include analysing participant activity in the Pbl sessions and, having participants take part in some reflective learning processes after their training, which will be analysed by thematic analysis.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

July 2019
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