Ten Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is SIPR?

    SIPR is a collaborative initiative between thirteen of Scotland's universities* and the Scottish police service. Members of SIPR undertake high quality, independent research of relevance to policing in Scotland, and engage in a range of knowledge transfer activities in order to strengthen the evidence base on which policing policy and practice are developed. By providing a single focus for policing research in Scotland, SIPR also helps the development of national and international links with other researchers, policy makers and practitioners involved in policing research.

    *The consortium of Higher Education Institutions involved in SIPR are: Abertay Dundee, Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt, Robert Gordon, Queen Margaret, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde, and The West of Scotland Universities, and the Open University in Scotland.

    Back to top

  2. How is SIPR organized?

    SIPR is not based in a single location but comprises four thematic research networks: Police-Community Relations (focused on the relationships between police and different social, cultural and economic communities); Evidence & Investigation (focused on the role of the police in the recovery, interpretation and effective use of intelligence and evidence in the investigation of crime); Education & Leadership (focused on the internal dynamics of police organisations, including issues of management, policy and leadership); and Public Protection (foucused on research on policing and public protection and links with existing bodies to influence policy and practice). Each network is headed by an Associate Director and managed by a steering group comprising academic and police representatives. The main aims of the networks are to coordinate research and knowledge transfer activities within their particular fields of interest.

    Coordinating the work of the four networks is an Executive Committee comprising: the Director, the four Associate Directors, senior police representatives drawn from the Police Service in Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority, a co-director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, and a representative of the Scottish Funding Council. The Executive Committee is accountable to a Board of Governance comprising University principals and Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary. There is also an Advisory Committee to provide independent and expert advice to SIPR from UK and overseas representatives of relevant organisations and individuals of international standing.

    Back to top

  3. What role do police representatives play within the management of SIPR?

    Police representatives play a key role at all levels of the management structure of SIPR. Within the research networks, there is a senior police representative on each network steering group whose role includes bringing forward proposals for research from within the police service and helping facilitate access to police personnel and data for researchers undertaking research projects. These police representatives also sit on the Executive Committee so have a role in developing the strategic research direction of SIPR. Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary is a member of the Board of Governance and provides input on the way SIPR is impacting on policing in Scotland.

    Back to top

  4. Does SIPR fund research?

    SIPR only has limited resources to directly fund new research projects and most of this funding is tied to Small Grant Awards and supporting PhD studentships. In addition SIPR has some funding to support Practitioner and Overseas Research Fellows for those wishing to undertake a piece of supervised research within one of the participating universities.

    Back to top

  5. How can SIPR help if I want information about research on a particular topic?

    By bringing together the research expertise on policing in Scotland, SIPR makes it much easier for researchers, practitioners and policy makers to identify individuals with knowledge of particular topics. The research profiles of members of SIPR on the website therefore provide a useful starting point for those wanting to find out more about research in specific areas. In addition, the core funded staff of SIPR (the Director, Associate Directors, new lecturers and PDRAs) will also provide consultancy-style advice to the police on topics where they have relevant expertise.

    Back to top

  6. How can SIPR help if I want to do research on policing in Scotland?

    There are a number of different ways in which SIPR can help those wanting to do research on policing in Scotland:

    • It can provide information on recent and on-going research on policing in Scotland and help identify researchers with expertise in particular topic areas;
    • It can help facilitate access to relevant police personnel and police data;
    • It can provide resources for a range of different types of research, from three year PhD studentships, to shorter Practitioner Fellowships aimed at police staff and others working in the policing field who wish to spend time at a university undertaking a piece of supervised research;
    • By being the national focus for policing research Scotland, SIPR can help develop collaborative research networks nationally and internationally.

    Back to top

  7. How can SIPR help with the dissemination of the findings of research on policing?

    Promoting and facilitating innovative ways in which knowledge can be exchanged between researchers and the police service is one of SIPR's major concerns. The website has an important role to play in this as a location where the findings of recent research can be posted. There is also a Policing Research Seminar series where researchers and practitioners can meet to discuss relevant research, an Annual Policing Lecture and Research Conference, and a SIPR Newsletter that is distributed to a wide range of UK and overseas researchers, practitioners and policy makers. SIPR's close links with the Scottish Police College also ensure that any research that has implications for training can be fed into relevant College courses.

    Back to top

  8. Is SIPR only concerned with policing in Scotland?

    No. Members of SIPR are engaged in research on policing across the UK and overseas and one of key concerns of SIPR is to promote an understanding of policing in Scotland within an international context. Research which has a comparative dimension that might yield insights into the distinctiveness of policing in Scotland or allow scope for policing in Scotland to benefit from the experiences of other countries is of particular interest to SIPR. In addition, SIPR's Overseas Fellowship Programme is specifically designed to bring researchers to Scotland to facilitate comparative work.

    Back to top

  9. What is the relationship between SIPR and the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR)?

    Like SIPR, SCCJR is a collaborative initiative involving several of Scotland's universities but its focus is on issues of crime reduction and criminal justice policy. Given this remit, there will be important areas of research and knowledge transfer activity where the work of SIPR and SCCJR will intersect and there will be fruitful areas of collaboration. SIPR and SCCJR are therefore in close communication with each other, with representatives of each body sitting on the others management/executive committees.

    Back to top

  10. How do I find out more about SIPR?

    SIPR's website includes information about the research networks and profiles of the members of SIPR and information on recently completed and on-going research projects will be added shortly. If you have any questions about the research and knowledge transfer activities of SIPR, please contact the Director, Dr Liz Aston, (l.aston@dundee.ac.uk), or the Business and Knowledge Transfer Manager, Tim Heilbronn, (t.heilbronn@napierac.uk), or the Associate Directors who lead the networks:

    Back to top