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MLA Applauds Link Between University of Ulster Students and PSNI

26 June 2013

David McIlveen MLA hosted seven final year undergraduate Criminology & Criminal Justice students from the University of Ulster at Parliament Buildings today, as they were presented with a certificate of achievement from the Policing Board’s Stuart MacDonnell as part of a dynamic collaboration between the University of Ulster and the PSNI.

The collaboration involved the students, as part of a final year project, conducting primary research within the Ballymena, Coleraine, Ballymoney, Moyle and Larne Council areas, or “H” District in policing terms. The research focused on PSNI’s Policing with the Community Strategy within “H” District, looking at its implementation amongst specific sections of the community.

The students were assisted by a senior PSNI officer who acted as a ‘mentor’ and whose role it was to act as an official liaison between the police and the student. In addition, all the students were supervised by Dr. John Topping, a lecturer in criminology and policing expert from the University’s School of Criminology, Politics and Social Policy.

The end result was the production of high quality and insightful research across a broad range of Policing with the Community matters, specifically:

- Anti-Social Behaviour within “H” District;
- Confidence in Policing within the Polish Community in Ballymena;
- Engagement with Ethnic Minority Communities and their Confidence Policing within Ballymena Area;
- Rural & Agricultural Crime within ‘H’ District;
- Interacting with the Ageing Generation within the Coleraine Area;
- Service Delivery within the PSNI.

The collaboration was of great benefit to the organisations and individuals involved, the PSNI, the University and the students, something not lost on “H” District Commander, Chief Superintendent Chris Noble:

“This has been a unique research programme which brought together students, police officers and the community. The research findings will assist the Senior Leadership Team in “H” District further refine how we deliver policing with the community. I thank the students for participating so enthusiastically in this collaboration, and also the policing mentors who gave their time to help the students.”

Dr. Topping, who was responsible for working with PSNI in the design and delivery of the programme, was delighted to see the students honoured for their work:

“The event today at Stormont is a recognition of the fantastic and cutting-edge police research undertaken by these final year BSc. (Hons.) Criminology and Criminal Justice degree students. The whole programme has not only been a unique collaboration between ourselves and PSNI, but has also opened up a range of new research avenues with PSNI in terms of using academic expertise to help generate evidence-based policy and practice as part of the delivery of policing in the country.

"It has been a real pleasure to both supervise the students and work with PSNI on the programme who also deserve significant credit for their work as part of the programme. The have taken the lead on a ground breaking research collaboration and we hope other criminal justice agencies take their lead. I also look forward to the roll out of the programme into the future".

Presenting the students with their certificates Stuart MacDonnell, Vice-Chair of the Policing Board said:

“This innovative research project delivered tangible benefits for all those involved and the findings will be used to enhance police service delivery to the community.

“I am delighted to present the students with their certificates today and wish them well for the future.”

David McIlveen MLA was delighted to welcome the young people to Parliament Buildings and mark their successes:

"As a DUP member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, I am extremely committed to policing within the community. It is a credit to these young people that they have produced such valuable research in this area and it is only right that they receive the recognition they deserve.

“H-District encompasses my own constituency of North Antrim and the research into such areas as Agri Crime, Anti-Social Behaviour and engagement with Ethnic Minority Communities are some of the most topical issues at present. Congratulations again to all those involved and I wish them well in their future careers."