We spoke with Millie Garrod, a Higher Analyst at the Strategic, Evaluation and Analysis Team (SEAT) within Suffolk and Norfolk constabulary.
Tell us a bit about you?
My role is to supervise the improvement and evaluation side of the SEAT team. This involves supporting my colleagues with their work as well as making decisions in relation to the evaluations or evidence reviews which the team gets involved with. I also form the main point of contact with our academic partners and support the organisations around embedding EBP.
I have worked for Suffolk Constabulary for nearly 10 years. I started my journey as a Special constable, which gave me valuable insight into the world of frontline policing. I have also worked in Criminal justice preparing files for court and have worked in the improvement and evaluation team for the last 6 years. I have been fortunate enough to witness and be part of the progress the team has made from its inception and I look forward to seeing how it will continue to develop.
I am passionate about what we do and am always eager to engage with other forces and partner agencies to learn and share our knowledge.
Tell us about your team?
The Strategic, Evaluation and Analysis Team sits within the Strategic, Business and Operational Services department. This is a joint department across both Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies. SEAT is made up of two functions: the improvement and evaluation team and strategic analysis.
The improvement and evaluation element has been in existence for approximately six years. Our primary function is to embed evidence-based policing (EBP) across the two forces. The team works to produce evidence reviews and evaluations to assist in strategic decision making and highlight best practise, as well as helping to bridge the gap between academia and the police.
Why is evidenced based practice important?
Evidence based practise is something which has been the norm in medicine and healthcare for years. You would not give a drug for treatment to a patient, unless it had been tested to see whether it was effective and identify any side effects. The same principle is true for policing: why introduce a way of working without being able to independently identify if it has achieved what it is set out to. With budget cuts and additional demand on policing, it is important that constabularies are working efficiently and effectively to have the greatest impact on their communities. Evidence based policing helps to do that.
The improvement team use EBP through evidence reviews, which help to draw together research from academia and evidence of what works from other forces, with the intention of highlighting best practise to officers and staff across both forces to assist decision making. Recent evidence reviews which we have produced include:
- Modern slavery and human trafficking;
- Child exploitation, county lines and gangs;
- Residential burglary, and;
- Anti-social behaviour.
Furthermore, evaluations are independently produced to measure the impact or effect of a change or new way of working. This is done using quantitative and qualitative research methods to then analyse and generate findings and recommendations.
What are you currently working on?
Some examples of our current evaluations include:
- A pilot of Out of Court Disposals, where a new two-tier system (Conditional Cautions and Community Resolution) is being rolled out across one area within the force, with the aim of tracking recidivism and measuring victim satisfaction.
- An evaluation of a new police tutor system, where dedicated police tutors (who do not carry their own workload and have had enhance tutor training) are directly compared to standard police tutors (who may carry their own workload) to assess student officers satisfaction and preparedness for independent deployment.
The findings and recommendations which are made as a result of the evaluations help to steer decision making and future working.