Serving to protect the citizens of the county, Lincolnshire Police cover the non-metropolitan county of Lincolnshire and are one of the largest police forces in England and Wales, covering over 2,800 square miles and a population of around 736,000 people.
As a result of the service’s size, there are a wide variety of graduates roles available whether you’re interested in becoming a police officer or interested in a different career path entirely – there’s something for everyone! Because of this reason, the Graduate Skills Builder team partnered with Lincolnshire Police to deliver 6 projects aimed to showcase the types of work opportunities available within the police.
The Community Differences Challenge
The first challenge with Lincolnshire Police aimed to explore the reasons certain areas of the county which, on the surface, seemed very similar regarding demographic or house prices had significantly different levels of crime.
The project team focused their research on four areas, using Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOA’s – a small geographical location classified for simplicity and data analysis). These areas included two areas of low deprivation and two areas of high deprivation, to allow for comparisons in criminological, sociological, and geographical differences. The group’s recommendations included partnering with schools to improve police perceptions from a young age, as education appeared to be a major factor in differing crime rates. Other recommendations included focusing on Anti-Social Behaviour (a crime prevalent across all areas, irrespective of the level of deprivation) by working with partner organisations, providing educational activities, and targeting key areas of repeat offending.
This project benefitted from the collaborative input of members of Lincolnshire County Council as well as the EMPAC to assist with research and data interpretation.
The Problem-Oriented Policing Challenge
The Problem-Oriented Policing Challenge was the second in a series of successful projects with Lincolnshire Police. This project evaluated the effectiveness of Problem-Oriented Policing and how it has been implemented within Lincolnshire.
Problem-Oriented Policing is an analytical approach used to pinpoint the causes of crimes so that an appropriate response strategy can be deployed.
The project team focused on how other police forces across the UK have applied this method of policing and how Problem-Oriented Policing can be further promoted, both within Lincolnshire Police and in the wider Lincolnshire community. Recommendations included adopting a Problem-Oriented Policing incentive scheme, delivering further training to ensure a culture shift of acceptance towards modern policing styles, and working with external partners to promote and utilise community outreach within this style of policing.
The group of students in this project were able to see first-hand how more contemporary methods of policing are utilised in tackling common issues and were able to act as third-party consultants to assess problem-oriented policing. On top of this, they were able to recommend ways to improve the implementation of this method of policing, forming networks within the police force in the process and influencing future policing research.
The Domestic Violence Challenge
The prevalence of domestic violence is slightly higher in Lincolnshire than the national average, so Lincolnshire Police asked the project team to investigate prevention methods to reduce the risk of domestic violence in the county. The group also explored the factors and demographics of repeat victimisation to influence future policing strategies.
The project investigated the impact of alcohol on domestic violence-related crimes, finding this to be a huge contributing factor across a range of demographics. One of the key drivers for the group’s recommendations was the strive to change the perceptions of domestic violence. The student’s research brought to light that 1 in 5 of those surveyed believed it to be acceptable behaviour in certain situations. The group’s recommendations included school visits, targeting individuals at a younger age, as well as community outreach sessions in areas with high rates of domestic violence.
As a common issue shared by many police forces, the student group in this project gained great insight into the factors causing and as a result of domestic violence. They were also able to recommend steps to combat the prevalence and risk of domestic violence which would, in turn, have a positive impact on cases of domestic violence in the region.
The Rural Crime Reduction Challenge
Lincolnshire is made up of a large variety of communities and areas, from rural farmland to the busy city of Lincoln. This diversity means that different policing approaches are needed concerning the types of crime that persist within specific areas of the county. When looking to adapt to this challenge, Lincolnshire Police asked the Graduate Skills Builder project team to explore rural crime reduction strategies and come up with a range of solutions to combat crimes in rural areas of the county.
When tackling the challenge, the project team came up with a range of solutions that fell into two key areas of their research: Methods to improve community relationships and, enhanced technological security. Their recommendations included data-tagging agricultural vehicles and strategies to improve overnight protection and reduce the change of theft. As well as promoting the use of camera traps to help livestock protection. The group benefitted from an in-depth conversation with members of Lincolnshire Police about their findings and discussions on how the team could implement the solutions into the real world.
The Missing Persons Challenge
With reports of missing persons rising steadily since the standardisation of recording data in 2013, Lincolnshire Police wanted to identify the trends and key factors that may explain missing person cases and develop recommendations to reduce the prevalence of missing persons in the region. Due to the availability of geographical data, the project team focused their research on demographic trends for missing persons and focused their research on adults and children who go missing voluntarily, as well as benchmarking with other police services.
Recommendations for children included an increased number and improved advertising of youth clubs, as well as improved collaboration with schools to ensure children are aware of where they can turn to. It was found that adults were much more likely to face harm as a result of going missing, despite going missing less frequently. The group generated their recommendations based on this research which included the promotion of support groups and improving the partnerships with local charities as well as engaging with communities that are typically less involved with the police. The students in this group were able to influence ongoing research into an important problem area for the county and see a real positive benefit to the work they put into the project.
The Vulnerable Children Challenge
The final project with Lincolnshire Police sought to examine the risk factors regarding vulnerable children across the county and their likelihood of being victims of exploitative crimes. The student team worked together to analyse the effectiveness of Lincolnshire Police’s current preventative schemes alongside a breakdown of the materials that Lincolnshire police use as guides for approaching these kinds of crimes.
At the close of the project the team successfully used the data and resources they found to provide a range of useful recommendations for Lincolnshire police going forward. These included re-assessing some of the wording used in literature to ensure that parents can better safeguard their children. Online safety was also a key concern with members of the team highlighting ways in which the police’s website could be altered to not put those reporting crimes at risk.
The solutions the students came up with were presented to members of the Lincolnshire Police team in a collaborative online call in which the students worked together with the police to suggest how these changes could effectively be implemented going forward.