Context and clusters

This week, the Research Inspector looks at a study being conducted into how the ‘forager theory’ could help map future thefts from motor vehicles and explains how the impact of police research can be better illustrated.

Jan 10, 2018

It is important for policing professionals to both be aware and involved in policing research as this both helps support researchers to embed operational ‘context’ and for the policing professional to be able to quickly realise where emergent findings can be used for the public benefit. As you might imagine, there is lots happening in research. That is why ‘knowledge exchange’ and curation is increasingly important to link up the worlds of the policing decision maker, the police analyst and the whole virtual army of researchers out there, so people can work together to improve policing services quicker. For policing professionals it is about recognising that the research is actually a form of asset that can help inform your strategic risk, threat and harm – and the more policing gets involved the more that asset will respond. The College of Policing Research Map (click here) offers a very useful interactive tool to be able to scan for much of that research. This time we take a look at just one of the many hives of activity there are in policing research: we will continue to share information about others in future editions of Police Professional. Loughborough University is home to a ‘Mini’ Centre for Doctoral Training, ‘Policing for the Future: Socio-technical Resilience and Innovation’. The Loughborough Centre includes fully-funded interdisciplinary PhD studentships in policing, which began in 2015 and focus on the following areas: The impact of leadership styles on subordinate behaviour (Jamie Ferrill); Experiences and perceptions of sexual harassment on the London Underground network (Sian Lewis); Forensic science at the interface of chemistry and physical ergonomics (Beth McMurchie); and Counter terrorism and the protection of crowded places (Alasdair Booth). In this article we interview Anthony Quinn, who is researching ‘Mapping repeat and near repeat victimisation: To what extent do counts of theft of a motor vehicle follow the same spatio-temporal patterns of the ‘forager’ theory?’. This study is concerned primarily with the spatial movements of offenders responsible for theft from a motor vehicle (TFMV) offences. It uses mixed methods analysis to investigate this particular crime type more closely with a view to discerning whether police resources are being allocated to best effect. The first half of the research involves quantitative crime mapping, while the second stage draws upon qualitative interviews with former offenders. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with several East Midlands police forces as a form of ‘What Works’ crime reduction. Police Professional: What are you researching? Mr Quinn: My PhD research study engages with vehicle crime repeat victimisation in Leicestershire. I am interested in the spatial and temporal patterns of vehicle crime offences and the contexts of where this crime type is seen to cluster. Through the use of police recorded crime data and visually-based qualitative interviews with offenders, I examine the specific contexts of where vehicle crime has been seen to occur in order to distinguish how and why target selection is undertaken. PP: What interested you about the topic? Mr Quinn: The subject of vehicle crime is of interest to me because it is a volume crime, which can be seen to occur with some regularity. This makes it a topic of appeal because it might therefore become possible to anticipate when, where and how vehicle crime might be experienced in certain locales. The multi-faceted government classification of vehicle crime also leads to fascinating inquiry into why each different vehicle crime offence might be committed. PP: What are you hoping to achieve? Mr Quinn: Through this study, I aim to examine whether and how particular contexts might be vulnerable to vehicle crime victimisation. This lends itself to an understanding of where and how crime prevention measures might be be

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