Criminology student Megan Witty with Humberside Police


Could you help solve some of the biggest challenges facing police forces?

A new and unique mission driven entrepreneurship module – ‘Hacking for Police’ – is giving final-year University of Hull Criminology students the opportunity to work on real policing challenges while helping the police force to solve critical issues.

The University is the first to offer the groundbreaking module, partnering with the charity Common Mission Project, and the Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE).

Criminology students are tasked with validating and solving a range of the problems facing frontline police officers as part of the course – including domestic violence, youth gangs, and building public trust and confidence in police. Working in small teams, students present their work to high-level experts in their field at the end of the course. The results help inform policy and practice while students gain crucial employability and career skills.

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Nick Sparkes, Chief Inspector, Kent Police recently worked with a team of University of Hull Criminology students as part of the initiative. Students were asked how Kent Police officers – and particularly those in non-uniform – could quickly identify themselves as legitimate police officers in a publicly trusted way, in order to rebuild trust between the police and the Kent community.

The student team came up with two solutions that included increasing their presence on Kent Police’s social media channels and opportunities for public engagement with the force.

Chief Inspector Sparks, Kent Police, said:

“Getting the opportunity to work on these types of policing challenges with university students has been so inspiring. We face very real challenges that are going to be there for each generation, so it is important that young people are starting to engage with them. Implementing the students’ solution ideas would increase public confidence and transparency and increase the public’s understanding of our role. We now need to move from a concept and idea to a design phase where we discuss how this is going to be practical and how we overcome any barriers.”

Criminology student Megan Witty with Humberside Police
The new module will present students with real-world challenges and experience

Peter Smalley is a final-year Criminology student at the University of Hull. Earlier this year, he worked on a project to develop solutions for Leicestershire Youth Liaison Officers. The team needed an effective way of engaging secondary school students on the risks involved with knife crime to reduce the number of young people participating in gang activity.

Peter said:

Coming up with a solution and then being able to make progress and develop it to the point where it may actually be implemented is really rewarding. One of the most valuable things I've learnt is how to break problems down. You actually get experience creating a practical solution and having that practical information is so helpful for real life.

Peter Smalley

final year Criminology student

Professor Robert Dover, Professor or Criminology at the University of Hull, said:

“The course gives students the chance to engage critically with a specific and complex policing problem. They learn to work effectively as a team, demonstrate a strong professional ethos, and work to challenging deadlines to help provide solutions to some of the key issues facing forces on the frontline.”

Dr Nicola O’Leary Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Hull added:

Students gain a deep understanding of how police forces work and how they respond to crime during this module – all while engaging in the real world of Criminal Justice problems and solutions.

Dr Nicola O'Leary

The Common Mission Project, a UK registered charity, works with universities across the country to deliver mission-driven entrepreneurship with their ‘Hacking for’ courses, each designed to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society, from national security to natural disasters, from energy to the environment.

ACE is a Home Office unit that takes a highly innovative and disruptive approach to solving technology and data problems facing public sector agencies, primarily in law enforcement and national security.

Further information on studying Criminology at the University of Hull is available on our course page.

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