GradEx is the annual graduate exhibition showcasing all of the fantastic work of our final year students to industry experts. This usually takes place on campus, but has taken place online the past two years, due to the pandemic. 

You can view all GradEx entries here, but below are the entries for subjects across the School of Law, Policing and Forensics.

Forensic Investigation and Forensic Science

An evaluation and comparison of LED torches for the use in scene examination

Kathryn Davis’ research evaluated ‘the PIT-LED torch using questionnaires completed by Forensic Investigators at Staffordshire Police and [compared them] with alternative torches focusing on the illumination of fingermarks on various reflective surfaces’.

Assessing the Policies and Processes for Sexual Offences at HEIs

Elliot Parkin’s project assessed ‘the policies and processes for sexual offences at HEIs; recommendations were made to improve these from staff and student responses to questionnaires, interviews and focus groups’.

Can we tell if wildlife have been shot with air weapons or .22 long rifles?

Eva Booth ‘worked with the Zoological Society of London researching methods to determine if birds had been shot with a 22 long rifle or air rifle by examining feathers’ and using a ‘Scanning Electron Microscope with energy dispersive X-ray analysis combined with image analysis to examine areas of damage, and quantity and distribution of areas of heavy elements.’


Do 3D-printed firearms pose a threat to the UK and Globally?

Ben Gordon researched ‘revolving 3-Dimensional printed firearms and the threats that may come with them.’ Ben said ‘It is important to conduct this research to bring attention to 3-D printed firearms and how they may be a breach of security. The current knowledge most people have on these 3D guns are either minimal or none, which allows this research to teach people of these uncommon hazards.’

Establishing Pro Forma for the Identification of Migrating Syrian Refugees

Jourdaine Das-Gupta’s ‘research involved creating a specified DVI pro forma for the identification of Syrian refugees, in light of the 6.5 million displaced persons since the Syrian Civil War in 2011. A number of specifying details were identified, and further research ideas were explored.’

Q-TOF LCMS Identification of Decomposition Chemicals in Aquatic Environment

Natalia Ciesielska’s ‘experiment successfully demonstrated that Q-TOF LCMS used for untargeted analysis to identify chemicals of interest released by mouse decomposition in aqueous environments is a powerful detection technique. The untargeted searchers identified complex chemical mixtures, containing 31 chemicals of interest in samples of the mice cadavers submerged in water.’

Reporting of Sexual offences in the Asian Community.

Aiyra Zahid’s project ‘looked at the reasons for under reporting of sexual offences in the Asian community and the stigma surrounding this topic . It utilised the knowledge of those in the community to create strategies of ways in which reporting rates can be increased in the community.’

The effect of menorrhea on persistence of semen in sexual offence victims

For their research, Wiktoria Flos used a ‘gynaecological model to simulate a female victim. Neat semen and mix bodily fluids of neat semen and menorrhea were deposited inside the model and left for 2 and 20 hours.  . The results revealed a statistical difference between the persistence of spermatozoa in neat semen and mix bodily fluids whereas, there was no statistical difference between the two-time frames used within this research.’

The perceptions of the current use of trace evidence, UK.

Lucy Watson’s project is ‘based around gathering the current perceptions (and opinions) of the use of trace evidence, from current practitioners and students, within the UK. This was done with the use of a survey, constructed in Qualtrics, and disseminated through LinkedIn, Twitter, and our own schools Blackboard.’




History and International Studies

How the Trauma of the Irish Famine led to support for the Revolutionary IRB

Helen Lee’s research ‘establish[ed] that the Irish Famine of 1845-52 led to social disruption and emotional trauma on a collective scale, [nurturing] significant working-class support for the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood and their fight for Irish independence’. 

Partners or Property – War interpreters and International Organisations

Aida Haughton said, ‘as a former UN war interpreter in Bosnia, I wanted to explore if what I have been through is anything like the experiences of my colleagues and this paper reveals some shocking details. Invisibility, sexual harassment, and traumatic experiences are some of the topics covered.’

The Genocide of the Kurds, the Halabja Massacre and the Anfal Operations

Nayaz Mohammed’s project looked at the suffering and genocide of the Kurs from 1987-1988: ‘It is well established that the Anfal & Halabja massacre was a series of military operations which were authorized by Saddam Hussein from 1987-1988 during the conclusion of the Iran-Iraq War.The goal of these operations was to fully exterminate the Kurds.’





A Critical Analysis of the Crime of Genocide within International Law

Harry Gabell’s project was ‘an analysis of the main legal issues which are faced when considering the crime of genocide, and with international entities such as States or tribunals which are seeking to prevent and prosecute genocidal crimes, using scholarly articles, the Genocide Convention and ICTY and ICTR jurisprudence.’

Fairness in Family court should not require equal rights

Salma Hussein’s project aimed to highlight flaws in family court decisions where ‘parental equality rights are given to all fathers regardless of past parenting involvement [and are] designed to perpetuate the traditional concept of a family unit, despite the far-reaching problems caused to separated families.’



Why Children Between the Ages of 13-18 Go Missing from Home


Isobel Dove’s project analysed ‘why children between the ages of 13-18 may go missing from home and identified child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation as possible reasons.’




Sociology, Crime and Terrorism

Can bold and self-assured women succeed in Pakistan?

Nafeesa Mirza’s project aim was to ‘present to a wider audience the struggles that women in Pakistan continue to face, [by] analysing the patriarchal society and the Islamic interpretations of how women should be treated [and] exploring case studies of significant individuals’. 


Content Analysis of Gender Stereotypes and Gender Roles in LGBTQ+ Films

‘By utilising a qualitative content analysis [Ellie-May Newton] investigated LGBTQ+ films for their use of  gender stereotypes and analyse[d] how those stereotypes can impact the image of the LGBTQ+ community.’




Eurasia’s pivot towards Cyber Attacks, Psy-Ops and Electronic warfare


Christian Etheridge’s research paper focused themes of Eurasian unconventional warfare, exploring examples f Cyber Attacks on Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), Information warfare (Psy-Ops) and Electromagnetic Spectrum manipulation within the context of conflict. 




Mentoring Adults in the Criminal Justice System – What are the Benefits?

Katie Price’s project highlights the benefits of mentoring adults who have experienced the criminal system. Katie concludes that ‘mentors aid with the rehabilitation process by supporting ex-offenders to integrate back in to the community following a custodial sentence.’

Public Service Day 2021: Innovations in access to policing careers

On Wednesday 23 June we’ll be celebrating Public Service Day. The UN launched this international day in 2003 to celebrate the contributions those in the public sector and civil service make to our society. The theme for this year is ‘Innovating for a new era: Leveraging the role of technology for the future public service’.

Our University has delivered many innovations during the past two years of our regional police partnership and in April we launched Step Up to Policing. Our 10-week long level 3 course develops students’ academic skills and prepares them for their next steps towards a policing career. What’s more, it’s delivered completely online to provide accessibility to aspiring police officers across the region.

Step Up to Policing Course Leader, Phil Wagg, is a Recruitment Development Officer and has worked at Staffordshire University’s Institute of Policing for two years. He has recently achieved a Masters’ Degree in International Relations and is passionate about helping people to achieve their goals. In his spare time, he plays guitar and manages a junior football team. 

We sat down with Phil to find out how the first cohort got on. 

Hi Phil, how’re things going?

Yeah, good thanks. The Institute of Policing’s Recruitment Development Officers are all really busy, but the sun is shining, and the world seems to be getting back to some kind of normality. No complaints here. 

Can you tell us a bit about your role as a Recruitment Development Officer?

Our team engages with potential candidates from their initial enquiry, right up to enrolling them and carrying out their ID checks on their first day at university. We attend recruitment events to deliver talks about the PEQF and answer any questions, we check qualifications and provide advice to ensure candidates are eligible for funding. We work closely with our partners to plan and allocate places, complete eligibility checks and get the successful candidates enrolled with the university on time. We’re here to support our partner forces as they recruit onto the PEQF pathways into policing.

PEQF? Can you tell us what that is?

Absolutely, in 2018 the College of Policing launched the Policing Education Qualifications Framework which set out three entry routes into policing for new recruits. All new officers now need to be qualified to degree level, and the three pathways help them to get there. These include the Pre-Join Degree, Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), and Degree-Holder Entry Programme (DHEP). All of these routes require previous Level 3 qualifications such as A-Levels or BTECs, and we receive a large number of enquiries initially from candidates who would make great police officers but did not have sufficient qualifications to apply to any of the routes. This is why we designed the Step Up to Policing access course to meet the needs of these candidates and our regional police force partners.

So, you’ve just finished delivering to the first group of Step Up to Policing students.

Mmhmm, yep. The last 10 weeks have flown by!

How did it all go?

The course has gone surprisingly smoothly considering it was brand new. There were one or two minor technical difficulties which were to be expected from an online course, but all the students have been really enthusiastic and have engaged with the learning materials. 13 out of 14 passed their first assignment, and they will be handing in their second and final assignment on Monday 21 June which hopefully they will all pass. I am hoping for a 100% pass rate, so we will see what happens.

We’ve had a wide variety of individuals on the course. Some have had no formal education since leaving school, while others had achieved their A-Levels but wanted to build their confidence before embarking on Higher Education studies. Some of them are already working for the police in staff roles or as Special Constables, while others had no policing experience and were yet to apply.  

So it went better than expected?

I mean you always have high hopes for students on courses like this. They’re so driven and determined to do whatever it takes to get into their chosen careers. This was certainly no exception, and I was really impressed with all of the students. They took to some of the more complex concepts really well. It’s been nice to see that they can all achieve at this level with the right support and hopefully they will go on to succeed in HE.

What made you want to develop this course?

We wanted to give people a chance of achieving their career goals by removing barriers for them. For various reasons, individuals may not have progressed with education earlier in life, but that does not mean that they should be prevented from accessing HE as long as they have the willingness and motivation to do so, and have the right support to enable them to succeed. Unlike other access courses that are available, we wanted to make this course as accessible and as flexible as possible so that students could fit the learning around their work and family commitments. The entry fee is £300 which is way more affordable than any other access courses offered by other providers. We wanted to make the course policing-specific, rather than a generic HE access course, to help students be successful with their police applications. We also made it as short as possible to fit in with the fast recruitment timetable of our partner forces.

Who was involved in programme development?

I have been largely responsible for collating the learning materials, designing the structure of the course, the assignments and delivery, but I have had lots of help from a number of the Lecturers and Senior Lecturers who currently deliver on our other PEQF courses, my line manager, admin and IT support, and the programme manager of our existing Step Up to HE course.

What does the course involve/ what do students have to do?

Well, it’s a 10-week programme, with live lectures being delivered online every Tuesday. If students can’t make the live lectures, there are learning materials already available for them to access and complete in their own time. They have to complete two assignments, including a 15-minute Powerpoint presentation and a 1,000-word essay. This was quite a daunting prospect for some of the students at the start of the course, but we have specific sessions on how to tackle the assignments, and they all gave the first assignment a really good go. The course is built around supporting them to complete these assignments, and realising that as long as they plan properly and put the work in, they can achieve highly.

Oh, so people don’t need to travel to campus to take part.

No, its all online. We give them access to the Staffs Uni learning portal, Blackboard where they can access all the learning materials at any time, and we also give them an Office 365 account, which gives them access to all the tools they need to complete the assignments. It is entirely possible for a student to complete the course without interacting with the tutors at all. Although we highly recommend that the students attend the lectures and engage with tutors as this is a vital part of university study, and will enable them to get the most out of the course and a better chance of achieving high grades.

Is it true that you had people referred from the police for this course?

Absolutely, some of our partner forces had applicants who needed those level 3s to be eligible for the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship pathway into policing. We worked with our partner forces to identify candidates and we encouraged them to apply for the course. Our partner forces have a limited number of free spaces for each intake, but individuals can sign up via our website with a £300 entry fee.

What backgrounds have the students typically come from?

Honestly there is no typical. In this group we had some who were unemployed, a bartender, a prison officer, and some Special Constables.

That is a real mix. Now this is something I’m sure we all want to know. How did your students do?

Aha yes, of course. All I can say is that everyone will be handing in their final assignments today and then we can get on with marking. I’ll let you know when the grades have gone out to the students.

We look forward to hearing about how they’ve done! What does the future look like for Step Up to Policing?

We have three courses ready to run in August, November and March. We’re open for applications now. It’s my hope that in the future the course will grow to allow more opportunities for individuals who want to gain a level 3 qualification and progress on to Higher Education.

What does life after Step Up to Policing look like for your students?

They can pursue a number of different pathways into policing. They could apply for any of our Undergraduate policing courses at Staffs, and then progress onto the DHEP or Pre-Join entry routes on completion, or they could apply directly to the forces for entry onto the PCDA route. Whichever route they choose, I’m excited to hear about their journey and the impacts they go on to have in their communities.

What will you be doing between now and the next intake in August?

Taking a nice long summer holiday! Haha, no. I’ll be marking and providing feedback to my students. Then it’ll be time to prepare the next course for the August intake and review applications. A big priority for me will to also check the student feedback survey to refine the course and make it even better for future cohorts.

You can find out more about Step Up to Policing here.

International Women’s Day: Women in policing – the power to empower

Dr Sarah Jane Fox, who has recently joined Staffordshire University’s Institute of Policing, has written a piece for Policing Insight to honour the role that women play in policing. 

The article highlights the key role that women already play in policing and the efforts to address the gender imbalance in police services around the globe, as well as in wider society.

Sarah said: “In 2018 I was fortunate to be part of an international policing event which was had good representation from female officers. However, it was very clear that some nations were further behind than even my early experiences from the 1980s in terms of equality and opportunities afforded to these officers.

“As part of my degree developments, I’m looking to ensure that with the new Policing Education Qualification Framework (PEQF), that no one is left behind in terms of equality and opportunities – this includes serving and experienced officers. I wrote one of the first Top-Up’s in the UK and I am looking to use my expertise to develop programmes within the IoP.

You can read Dr Sarah Jane Fox’s full article on the Policing Insight website.

Policing and Forensics – Careers and Employability Event a Great Success

Wednesday 10th February saw around 70 students joining academics, alumni, police professionals and university careers staff on MS Teams to raise awareness and better equip students for applying for roles in policing and the wider forensics jobs market.

The event was borne out of conversations with police specialists who felt that former students applying for roles within Police Forensics weren’t giving themselves the best chance of being selected for interview.

The event was organised by Dean Northfield, the School of Law, Policing and Forensics Placement Coordinator, and Martyn Hordern, the Staffordshire Forensic Partnership Coordinator, with initial discussions taking place last autumn before the current lockdown.

Undeterred, an MS Team’s event was arranged and speakers were gathered to assist in as many ways as possible. The event saw two former students giving their thoughts on police and private role applications, a former Police Assistant Chief Constable demystifying the police application form and a current police Digital Forensic Coordinator giving his guidance and advice. Also present were police recruitment specialists, and specialists from the Institute of Policing and the University Careers Relationship team, supported by a student Careers Coach.

Vicky Cook from the University’s Careers Relationship team talked about students’ online presence and said “if you wouldn’t want your gran to see it don’t put it online”, emphasising that prospective employers will check what potential employees are doing online.

Former students Becky Teague and Kira Low gave their experiences as graduates from 2020. Becky had also been a police Special Constable and was now working with a private digital forensics company. Kira meanwhile works for Norfolk Constabulary in their Digital Forensics Unit. Both gave some insightful advice from the differing application processes used to prepare yourself whilst still at University.

Ian Ackerley, Course Leader for Policing and Criminal Investigation and a former Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) with Staffordshire Police, shared some helpful tips and advice on how to turn a good application into a very good one, whilst at the same time preventing a very good application becoming just an adequate one.

Adam Newbery from Staffordshire Police’s Digital Forensics Unit gave some insight into finding Police roles, preparing yourself, having a career plan and how to sell yourself in the application form.

The day concluded with Dionne Johnson (from the Staffordshire Police’s Recruiting Team) sharing police career advice, including the STEP IN process to assist potential applicants, and Bethany Hepher from the Institute of Policing, who talked about the PCDA and DHEP (Police Apprenticeship) routes into being a Police Officer.

Martyn Hordern said “I am sure that each and everyone of [our guests] will have helped those on the call to be better prepared to apply for and hopefully get roles within forensics, policing, or similar”.

Dean Northfield said after the event, “we are really passionate about employability skills and it was refreshing that so many common themes went through each presentation”. He added that it was hoped for such an event to become a fixture going forward.



International Book Giving Day

The 14th February is not only Valentine’s Day, it is also International Book Giving Day. The day is a volunteer initiative aimed at increasing access to books. We asked staff to suggest some books from their subject areas (both fiction and non-fiction) that they enjoyed reading and that others may find interesting.



Blue: A memoir: Keeping the Piece and Falling to Pieces by John Sutherland

Suggested by: Dr Lauren Metcalfe, Policing Course Director






Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials that Defined Modern Britain by Thomas Grant

Suggested by: Jo Beswick, Law Lecturer








Crossing the line: Lessons from a Life on Duty by John Sutherland

Suggested by: Dr Lauren Metcalfe, Policing Course Director





I am Pilgrim: Can You Commit the Perfect Crime by Terry Hayes

Suggested by: Dr Fran Stubbs-Hayes, Forensics Lecturer





In Spies We Trust: The Story of Western Intelligence by Rhodri Jefreys-Jones

Suggested by: Associate Professor Tony Craig, Lecturer in International Studies






In Your Defence: Stories of Life and Law by Sarah Langford

Suggested by: Jo Beswick, Law Lecturer





Isis: The State of Terror by Jessica Stern and J.M Berger

Suggested by: Aman Jaswal, PhD Researcher







On The Farm: Robert Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancourver’s Missing Women by Stevie Cameron

Suggested by: Emma Tilley, Policing Lecturer for the Institute of Policing




Police Socialisation, Identity and Culture: Becoming Blue by Sarah Chapman

Suggested by: Dr Lauren Metcalfe, Policing Course Director






Research Ethics: In the Real World by Helen Kara

Suggested by: Sarah Page, Criminology Lecturer





Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken by The Secret Barrister

Fake Law: The Truth About Justice in an Age of Lies by The Secret Barrister

Suggested by: Dr John McGarry, Law Lecturer




Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid

Suggested by: Professor Graham Williams, Forensics Lecturer






The Cyber Effect by Mary Aiken

Suggested by: Abbeygail Standen, Policing Lecturer for the Institute of Policing






When the Dogs Don’t Bark: A Forensic Scientist’s Search for the Truth by Angela Gallop

Suggested by: Professor Graham Williams, Forensics Lecturer

Guest blog: ‘Here it comes… the year 3 research project’

Staffordshire University is partnered with Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands Police to deliver Police Constable Degree Apprenticeships, the Degree Holder Entry Programme and the Detective Constable Degree Holder Entry Programme. We currently have more than 1200 student officers from across the region on our programmes and, as many cohorts of our student officers progress onto year 2 of their studies, Steve Webb, Warwickshire Police’s Operational Learning Sergeant, took some time to share his thoughts and insights into tackling research projects.

“The aim of this blog is to give you some ideas and tips on what I would be doing if I was completing my own research, how this can fit around your workload and bring value to your force.

So what would I do, I would plan early and take one step at a time.

My name is Steve Webb and I am the Operational Learning Sgt from Warwickshire Police, I am currently seconded onto the West Midlands regional PEQF project team working closely with Staffordshire Police, West Mercia Police, West Midlands Police and Staffordshire University specifically looking at End Point Assessment (EPA) and the year 3 research Project.

If I were starting on this journey early in year 2, I would be starting to lay the foundations for my year three project. To begin with, you could have an early conversation with your force about what you can do as a project and how this fits in with their vision, priorities, crime reduction plan or local hotspot problems. 

Think about where you will be posted in Year 3 (or ask if you don’t know) so that you can work on a project in the same area. Alternatively, you can find a real life subject on your patch so that you can deal with your shift workload and the research project at the same time. What do I mean by this? Well, if you’re working on a safer neighbourhood team and dealing with an ASB problem, you could be looking at the bigger picture. What is going on? Why? What has been done before to solve the problem? Why didn’t the intervention work? What’s the national picture? Is this happening elsewhere?  And then… finally developing my own solutions using the SARA model. You may find it helpful to look at the College’s Logic Model which helps in planning interventions. Also, see the best-evidence about problem-oriented policing in the Crime Reduction Toolkit.

Remember that it is you that has to complete the research in a relatively short timeframe, there will limited assistance from other departments in your force so make sure you factor this in when thinking about your project and how you can achieve it. 

We are all on a learning journey and you will get inputs from your Higher Education Institute. As part of your modules, you will be expected to write a draft proposal and presentation. So I would be getting ahead and finding out what my force expects of me… and going to them with an idea of something that you’re interested in that excites you. I couldn’t think of anything worse than being given a subject that didn’t appeal to me.

My time is precious, so if my draft proposal is 1000 words, I’d use this towards my final project.  You’ve already completed 10% by doing the prep work for the module… so if you asked me how I would approach the year three project, I’d say one step at a time, working smart and planning ahead.”

Staying safe on the roads

Adam Greenslade standing in front of police carOrganisations around the country have been running campaigns to highlight National Road Victims Month and, now that the DVSA have begun reopening driving test bookings and more cars are back on the roads, road safety should be a consideration for everyone.

Based on his expertise, we asked Lecturer in Policing, Adam Greenslade, to share some advice with us on how to stay safe on the roads.  

“According to, 27,820 people were killed or seriously injured on our roads between June 2018 and June 2019. As a career police officer, I spent many operational years in the specialist area of roads policing and now, as a lecturer at the Institute of Policing here at Staffordshire University, I share my knowledge and experience with the roads policing officers of the future.

Reflecting on the many incidents I attended over the years, from country roads, motorways, to built-up urban areas, the first thing I would say is, “accidents” in a roads sense are best described as “collisions” as in most instances they are entirely avoidable with some basic common-sense care when driving. Adam Greenslade sitting in his police car

Here are the things I found to be the five top causes of collisions during my policing career:

  1. Speed

Things happen faster when you’re travelling faster and in simple terms, the quicker you’re travelling the less time you have to react if something does happen. I’ve been to countless jobs where the first words out of the driver’s mouth were “there was nothing I could do to avoid it, it all happened so quick”. 

Slow down and give yourself time to take in and react to what is developing around you.

  1. Over Confidence

Whether it’s a new or a more established driver, over confidence or an over estimation in their ability or lack of understanding of the performance of their vehicle was something I saw time and time again. Driving too fast for a bend, going for an overtake on a country road when you can’t see what’s round the next bend or what’s coming out of that gateway, speeding up for an amber traffic light and jumping the junction instead of slowing down to a stop, underestimating the effects of snow, high winds or heavy rain on vehicle handling… the list is endless. All too often drivers would come unstuck (literally in the case of driving too fast on an icy road!) and end up in a collision.

Know your vehicle and know your own abilities, be realistic, don’t take risks or chances with your own and others’ lives… and never be an “amber gambler”!

  1. Mobiles – texting

Despite stiff penalties and publicity people still use mobile phones and other electronic hand–held devices when driving. They may have a hands free, but you would still turn up at really bumps and find that a driver involved had been checking emails, texting or browsing the web on their phone or a tablet. Literally trying to steer with one hand, text with the other, with their eyes off the road and their mind concentrating on the message not the developing danger ahead of them.

Leave your phone in the glove box and check it when you get where you’re going.  If it’s a long journey and you really can’t be out of touch for that long, pull over, have a brew and catch up on your messages. Don’t risk it while you’re behind the wheel. It really isn’t worth it.

  1. Impairment

Alcohol and drugs are a sad but common factor at collisions. Time and time again you would find at least one of the parties in a collision had consumed drink, drugs or in some instances both. Any alcohol will impair your driving ability, whether you are over the limit or not. It affects your judgement, your reactions, gives you false confidence and increases your risk taking. As for drugs, well, you don’t have to be a pharmacist to know that whatever the substance it’s going to seriously impact on your cognitive and psychomotor functions.

If you’re driving, don’t drink, at all. Don’t take drugs, any. If you’re on a prescription, follow the advice on the bottle, if it says don’t drive, don’t.

All the myths about “it’s OK with a big meal”, “I’m OK on 3 pints”, “I’m more chilled after a spliff and drive better” is a load of old rubbish. You’re risking yourself and others. You will get caught, lose your licence and if your involved in a serious incident you may well go to prison. Just don’t do it.

  1. The vehicle

Vehicle condition or items carried in or on it are a frequent cause of collisions. You could fill a warehouse with the number of ladders and planks of wood that I have picked up off the carriageway after they have come off a roof-rack and caused a collision. Defective tyres can drastically reduce your grip and ability to stop or blow out entirely and cause a loss of control or a vehicle to overturn. Basics like faulty lights, worn windscreen wipers or running out of screen wash affect your ability to see and be seen. Even something as simple as a break down can put you and your passengers at risk, especially if you’re in a live lane of a motorway or dual carriageway… and on the subject of passengers’ safety, make sure they are wearing their seatbelts and children are in a properly fitted appropriate child-seat that you check every journey. In a collision any loose object, whether it’s a box of shopping or a passenger, flying about inside the vehicle is going to cause a serious injury if it hits you.

Keep your vehicle roadworthy – especially basics like brakes, lights and tyres, top up your screen wash and secure loads both inside (especially passengers!) and outside the vehicle.  Oh, and always defrost your glass before you move off on winter journeys.”

Watch the video for Adam’s 7 top tips for staying safe on the road:

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Human trafficking is the trapping of people using violence, deception, or coercion and exploiting them for personal or financial gain. The National Crime Agency have said that it’s difficult to know exactly how many victims there are of human trafficking and modern slavery in the U.K. In 2019, of 10,627 potential victims of modern slavery that were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), officials believed that 8,429 were victims.

This year, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons focuses on the first responders who work to identify, support, counsel and seek justice for the victims of trafficking.

Lecturer for the Institute of Policing, Phil Parkinson, took time to reflect on his work supporting the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery.

“Prior to entering academia, I had a very interesting career as a police officer. I found that I had a real affinity for dealing with victims of various crimes, along with a passion for investigative interviewing.

Amongst the highlights of my time as a police officer were the years I spent working in a specialist unit dealing with offences against and/or involving children, and intra-familial offences; in particular sexual offences. The experience I gained in that unit instilled in me a recognition of the need for the authorities to identify and protect the most vulnerable in society, together with an appreciation of just how powerless some people can truly be.

After leaving the police, I spent six years working with Lincolnshire Police as a specialist crime trainer, a large part of my role being to train police officers and other staff in interview techniques and how to use those techniques to obtain quality information from witnesses, victims and suspects.

I left the above role in order to form a training company (Zakon Training) together with a business partner. Amongst the contracts that we secured were the delivery of various training events for staff employed by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

The GLAA deal with offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and offences include keeping someone in a condition of slavery or servitude and also human trafficking. These are of course very serious offences that carry penalties up to life imprisonment on conviction.

Whilst I was involved in the design and delivery of all the training for the GLAA, such training covering various specialist areas, I was most pleased and proud to be involved with training GLAA investigators and other staff in advanced interview techniques used when obtaining accounts from witnesses, victims and suspects.

I am well aware that the GLAA staff I have helped to train have dealt with some very serious and high-profile human trafficking cases. I am proud to say that the training that I and the other Zakon Training staff delivered has upskilled many of the GLAA staff such that they became more confident in their abilities, and more sure of proving cases in court and thereby helping more victims.

Another specialist group of people that I have worked with through my association with Zakon Training has been police interpreters. Many of the victims, witnesses and suspects in human trafficking cases do not have English as a first language. Without the help of interpreters, it would be very difficult for prosecuting agencies such as the police and GLAA to obtain accurate and timely accounts from the victims in particular, or for suspects to be dealt with legally and ethically. 

I have helped Zakon Training to deliver a number of workshops to hundreds of interpreters from all over the UK, covering such subject matters as their role in the police interview, and the recognition of modern slavery and human trafficking offences and victims.”

Join the conversation using the hashtags #EndHumanTrafficking and #HumanTrafficking on social media.

You can find out more about how to report suspected cases of human trafficking here.

Natter Me Duck

Policing Lecturer and Mental Health Coordinator, Deborah Sproston-Bewley, talks about the ‘Natter Me Duck’ initiative she created to help out students during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Within a few days in March the measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 became immediate and were drastic. You don’t have to be at the epicentre of the pandemic for your life to be turned upside down; due to the Covid-19 lockdown, it is a scary time for students.

Our campus became quiet and our classes moved on-line, all of which impact on the students.

We have students who are still living on campus and maybe feeling sad and isolated.

I am the Mental Health Coordinator for the school, and as such I thought about what I could do while we were all in lockdown and unable to communicate with each other on a regular basis. 

I came up with Natter Me duck, which is a platform through collaborate that students can log into on a specific day and just have a natter, not just with me but with other students.  For those of you that don’t know in Stoke-on-Trent duck is a common phase used.  E.g. you OK duck?

The idea behind ‘Natter Me duck’ was for students to natter about anything.  From how I cut my fringe? how do I bake a cake? or I’m suffering with anxiety due to void 19. It is a place where students can share their experiences and support and advise one another.  

The main aim is just to have a natter and for students not to feel isolated and on their own.  

An e-mail is sent out to all 750 students in our school which informs them of the date and time of a ‘natter me duck’ session and gives them the link to join.