What is the Institute for Public Safety Crime and Justice?

The Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice (IPSCJ) established in April 2014, is a new joint venture between the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire and the University of Northampton. It seeks to bring together cutting-edge academic research and evidence with practice, training and development across agencies.

By developing an advanced understanding of victim, witness and service user experiences in addition to the priorities and experi ences of the wider community, the institute will undertake sophisticated analysis of crime issues and agency activity. This will inform the further understanding of the inputs and outcomes of criminal justice and public safety interventions and help to embed a clear relationship between evidence of ‘what works’ and practice ‘on the ground’.

The institute is built on a strong team of highly experienced researchers, analysts and trainers. The team is supported by associates; expert practitioners in the field who can bring particular specialist skills to the Institute in areas such as evaluation, criminal justice management and victim centred approaches. One of the central aims of the institute is to be nationally and internationally recognised for high quality academic contributions to crime prevention, crime science and criminal justice practice.

Areas of interest

The work of the Institute is essentially delivered through three broad thematic areas, namely:

  • Strategic crime analysis i.e. detailed analyses to develop a thorough practical understanding of crime and associated issues, which will support the delivery of more effective operational policing.
  • Evaluation to build our understanding of what works, what doesn’t work and why. This will directly inform and promote the underpinning ethos of evidence based activity.
  • Engagement activity to ensure that the views of community, in its many forms, and practitioners across all agencies, are taken into account in developing responses and to promote the delivery of effective services.

Recent projects

Anti-social Behaviour in Northamptonshire (2014)

The Anti-social Behaviour (ASB) project had three main aims:

  • To build a picture of the scope, scale and nature of ASB in Northamptonshire;
  • To undertake a scoping exercise and review of the processes in place to respond to ASB; and
  • To make recommendations in relation to “what works” when responding to ASB, drawing on existing academic literature and practice.

The main project fieldwork was carried out over a three-month period between October 2014 and January 2015. This involved conducting semi-structured interviews with stakeholders representing 22 key organisations tasked with responding to ASB in Northamptonshire and analysing incident data.

Ascertaining the scope, scale and nature of ASB was important for a number of reasons. It allowed us to better understand the nature of demand, provided an insight into the experiences of victims, enabled the measurement of performance and, ultimately, may inform the appropriate allocation of resources.

A fundamental part of the research was also to examine the processes in place to respond to ASB, identifying any gaps in knowledge and service provision. In doing so, a clearer understanding of the “victim’s journey” could be mapped. This involved studying performance at the point of report, information sharing practices, meeting structures, partnership working, referral processes and service provision.

A key component of the project was to engage with practitioners; on the basis that they have a wealth of expertise and knowledge of practice “on the ground”. As part of each interview, participants were asked “what works when responding to ASB?” Responses were collated and key themes identified, including partnership working, listening, early intervention and taking a holistic approach.

Twenty-seven recommendations were made within the final report to build on good practice and facilitate improvements where necessary. Ultimately, it is hoped the research findings will be used to inform ASB policy and practice in Northamptonshire.

Current projects

Front Line Voices

The Frontline Voices project examines the perceptions and day-to-day experiences of staff working on the frontline within the emergency services and wider criminal justice system. Whilst some of the challenges, risks and opportunities found in frontline work may be clear and well understood across agencies, the Frontline Voices project will therefore bring to life the experiences and ideas of those ‘on the ground’. By gaining a greater understanding of the experiences of staff, the findings of the project will help inform policy makers and strategic management about the delivery of frontline public services within Northamptonshire and contribute towards future models of public safety.

Victim Experience and Public Attitudes Survey

This project is focusing on improving the methods used to survey victims and members of the public in Northamptonshire. Currently we administer a Victim Satisfaction Survey which asks victims about their experience with Northamptonshire Police, and a short Public Survey asking about people’s perceptions of crime and policing. The aim of the project is to expand our surveying methods to capture the whole victim experience right the way through the Criminal Justice System, from the point of reporting through to the outcome of the court case, if there was one.

We hope to gain a better insight into the impact of crime on victims, and how this may be reduced going forwards. We also hope to capture information from those who have not reported, and groups who we currently can’t reach via telephone, via online and paper-based surveys. The Public Attitudes Survey will also be expanded, to cover perceptions regarding the whole Criminal Justice System, not just the police.

Finally, we also hope to develop a Youth Survey which will capture perceptions of victims and the public who are under the age of 16 to see how crime affects this particular group. It is hoped that the new surveys will be in place by June 2015, after having been reviewed and piloted.

Special’s constabulary

The Institute’s Special Constabulary research programme has been designed to provide insights into the volunteer process, from an initial expression of interest through recruitment, training and deployment to the factors influencing retention and resignation. Following an initial scoping study, the Institute is now developing a number of discrete research projects including:

Employer Supported Policing (ESP): The institute is working with a county constabulary to support the expansion of the ESP programme within the force.  By working with local businesses, the ESP programme seeks to support the recruitment and retention of specials by helping to facilitate the agreed release of volunteers for specific ‘ESP’ duties. Here the IPSCJ will provide an evaluation of existing practices to identify the benefits as well as the challenges for individual volunteers, businesses and police of engaging with the ESP programme

Recruitment: The Institute is to conduct a detailed evaluation of a new volunteer recruitment processes recently deployed within a county constabulary. This evaluation work will examine the various marketing activities used to drive recruitment including the use of targeted marketing strategies. It will also consider the impact of a new ‘one-to-one’ guided application process, as well as the impact of different methods of training delivery and the influence this has with regards to onwards progression within the Special Constabulary. Informing this work will be a focus financial impact of volunteer recruitment including the wider delivery of volunteer programmes within the police.

External partners

IPSCJ works with a range of external partners and continue to build relationships nationally and internationally.

Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Working in partnership with the Office of Police and Crime Commission to evaluate strategic projects ensuring positive impact in Northamptonshire.

Northamptonshire County Council logo

Working with the Northamptonshire County Council on research projects that explore domestic violence in Northamptonshire and Community Safety Partnerships.

Northamptonshire Police logo

Working with the Police to deliver projects in relation to a number of areas including the Special Constabulary, Anti-Social Behaviour and managing demand.


Staff working within the IPSCJ include:

Laura Knight, Director


Sarah Armstrong-Hallam, Institute Manager

01604 892979
07870 572425

Rachel Hooper, Senior Coordinator

01604 892136

Angie Barker, Data Manager

01604 892294

Luke Hubbard, Research Assistant

01604 892931

Holly Hamer, Research Assistant

01604 892021

Kirti Joshi, Telephone Researcher


Sam Cole, Research Assistant

01604 893416

Gail Harrower, Telephone Researcher


Theresa Yoxall, Telephone Researcher


Martin Woods, Telephone Researcher


Wendy Palmer-Grundill, Telephone Researcher


Samantha Shrimpton, Telephone Researcher


Rebecca Beechey, Telephone Researcher


Working with IPSCJ

If you are interested in working with IPSCJ please contact ipscj@northampton.ac.uk


Select a recent output below or view all research outputs on NECTAR.