The Metropolitan Police Service is undergoing significant and multiple strategic and operational changes, including new and emerging structures, roles, interfaces, processes and technologies. All of this is taking place against a backdrop of London as a global city as well as financial restraint across public services. In common with other police services, there is an increasing emphasis on safeguarding and protection of vulnerable people and specifically for the Metropolitan Police Service, there are growing expectations about the quality of relationships and partnerships with the communities of London.
The action research programme is planned to take place over 2 years and 4 months, with the work broken down into three phases, each with outputs and evaluation. The research team is mindful of the MPS request to focus on possibilities for practical action, and our empirical work is therefore based on the principles of action research, which is targeted towards change and experimentation, and assumes the early and sustained engagement of stakeholders. We have devised an approach which begins with an assessment of the current context and set of practices, and the factors which both enable and inhibit organisational learning. Data will be collected via desk research reviewing key documents and semi-structured interviews. The analytical framework will be Thematic Analysis, designed to allow key themes, patterns and tensions to emerge from large quantities of data. Other methodological techniques to be used include Discourse Analysis, Narrative Analysis, Critical Incident Technique, Phenomenological Analysis and Delphi Analysis. For the particular scope and focus of this project, we have operationalised 'action research' as consisting of four types of research and engagement activity: