What is this about?
As part of the Knowledge Hub, there is a small amount of funding to support five research / evaluation / action research projects (one per each of five different geographical areas) carried out by members of the Police Service, in the area of child sexual exploitation. The focus may be only CSE or it may be on CSE where it occurs alongside other vulnerabilities such as trafficking, gangs, domestic violence and neglect (this is not an exhaustive list).
Who can apply?
Anyone employed by the Police Service in England or Wales can apply. You can be employed in any role and at any rank (e.g. call handlers, frontline police, senior police, analysts). You do not have to have any special qualifications or prior knowledge of research methods, although having this might help you to kick off your work more quickly. You simply need to work in the Police Service, have an interest in carrying out some research in the area of CSE and have a good idea that is supported by your manager! This is a great opportunity for professional development by increasing your skills in generating research and evidence.
What can I do a project on?
One of the first things that was done when setting up the Knowledge Hub was to identify the most challenging issues facing the Police Service in relation to child sexual exploitation and related vulnerabilities in adolescence. This was done by talking to the Police and partner agencies around England and Wales and looking at what children and young people have to say about their experiences of the police. Inspection reports and other policy documents that have highlighted challenges were also looked examined. After drawing together all of the findings, some initial priority areas to address in our work we identified
1) Improving engagement with adolescent victims of CSE (this could be initial contact, ABE’s etc)
2) Enhancing multi-agency working on CSE
3) Increasing knowledge about perpetrators of CSE
4) Working with concurrent victimhood and perpetration of CSE
5) Problem profiling and identification of risk and harm
How do I pick a topic of research?
You may, by virtue of your experience, already have a challenge that you face in carrying out your work in this area. This challenge could turn into an idea that you want to find a solution to through a research project. Alternately, you may want to talk to your colleagues or your manager about what problems exist in your force that you need a solution to. You would also be welcome to contact the National Hub to help you think through any ideas you have.
What kind of support will I get?
You will be assigned an academic mentor to help support you in conducting your research. This would be dependent upon where you are based. We have regional academics in the North (at University of Central Lancashire, covering all of the North except North Wales); in the South (at the University of Sussex); in the Midlands (at the University of Worcester); in Wales (covering all forces in Wales); and us – the National Hub at the University of Bedfordshire (covering London, the East and Yorkshire and Humber). You would meet with your assigned academic and work out, together, your research plan and what might be required in terms of training, access to a library, specialist software and any other requirements for you to effectively carry out the research. You, with your academic mentor, will arrange 3 meetings to suit you – given the distances you might have to travel, you may consider a mix of telephone meetings, Skype and a small number of face-to-face meetings. There is £5,000 funding per project to help support research activities that might include travel, transcription or software.
What do I need to do next, and by when?
If you are interested but want to find out more, contact Debbie Allnock (Project Manager of the Knowledge Hub) who will be happy to discuss this with you further – firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, please register your interest with Debbie by June 13th, 2016 via email. As part of registering your interest, submit your idea for your research project – stating clearly how it fits into the priority areas identified above – along with indicative support from your line manager. Please use the template provided in the document. Once the requirements are assessed and have been met, a more detailed research proposal (to a maximum of 2 pages) will be requested by the close of the day on July 8th 2016. A shortlisting process will be carried out and a short telephone interview requested if you are successfully shortlisted.