Tapping into crime expertise of law and order academics

A new initiative designed to help groups and individuals tap into the skills of crime and justice experts at the University of Plymouth was formerly launched at a top level symposium recently.

The Criminology and Criminal Justice Research and Teaching Symposium was organised to establish and strengthen research and teaching links between academics specialising in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies (CCJS) and local criminal justice agencies.

Academics in the CCJS team have a wide range of knowledge and skills of interest to local criminal justice agencies. Areas of expertise include policing, probation, restorative justice, community safety, youth crime, illicit drug and alcohol use, race crime issues, victimology and anti-social behaviour.

They used part of the Symposium as a platform to highlight their particular fields of research and the benefits they could provide to local criminal justice organisations.

Dr Patricia Gray, an expert in areas including youth crime, youth justice and women offenders, leads the criminal justice team. She believes the team is made up of some of the foremost experts in the fields of criminology and criminal justice with a wealth of knowledge and skills at their fingertips.

"We as a group are incredibly keen to develop new research links with some of the organisations so vital to our local criminal justice system," said Dr Gray.
"I am sure our team of experts could prove an invaluable resource to many local criminal justice practitioners."

Plans to establish firmer ties with local criminal justice organisations go beyond purely research opportunities. The group is also looking to develop student placement programmes whereby undergraduates can get vital on the job training with criminal justice agencies.
This will allow them to bring employment as well as academic skills to the workplace when they eventually embark on a career.

There are also plans to formalise current arrangements whereby students are able to carry out research necessary for their dissertation projects while on attachment at local organisations.
The plan is that those agencies who have supported student access for their dissertation projects will have the opportunity to benefit from the research findings.

Local criminal justice practitioners are also being urged to take advantage of the postgraduate MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies recently launched at the University.

Practitioners can study the course over two years and if successful, return to the workplace with theoretical knowledge and practical research training that greatly enhances their skills set.

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