Launch of the BA (HONS) Criminology with Offender Management in September 2018.

April 2017 sees the creation of a new government agency focused on providing an effective service for people who access custodial and probation services. The HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) will build on the work of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) to provide:

  • A new frontline service tasked with reforming offenders launched by Justice Secretary
  • Prison and probation staff to be given increased training and clear career progression
  • HMPPS launch coincides with prison governors being given greater control of establishments

Staffordshire University was the first university in the country to offer a workplace foundation degree in offender management. The Law Department developed a BA (HONS) Offender Management ‘top up’ degree to enable prison officers to graduate with a full award in Offender Management.

The announcement by the Justice Secretary coincides with the introduction of the Law Department’s new award in 2018; the BA (HONS) Criminology with Offender Management. This award will offer a new and exciting product to students who are seeking employment in the Justice and custodial sector, prisons, probation, youth offending services and the security industry. The award will be the first in the country to provide modules specifically designed to teach students how to recognise and manage individuals who are suicidal or present with potential mental health conditions.

The Howard League for Penal Reform highlighted that 19 people died by suicide in prison in England and Wales in 2016. This figure represents the highest number in a calendar year since current recording practices began in 1978. Of these 119 self-inflicted deaths, 12 were women – more than double the previous year’s figure. Ten per cent of the deaths by suicide in prison in 2016 were of women, despite women making up less than five per cent of the total prison population. The team at Staffordshire University are working on ways of teaching staff to recognise problems before it is too late.

The Government has just completed an inquiry into mental health and deaths in prison. The inquiry explored three broad themes: whether prison is the right place for vulnerable offenders such as those with mental health conditions and/or learning difficulties; the way prisoners with mental health conditions are treated in prison; how to ensure that lessons for the future are learned, errors not repeated and that good practice becomes common practice. The Staffordshire award is set to develop

The launch of HMPPS brings development opportunities for staff, looking to further professionalise and build pride in the service. As part of the Government’s commitment to boost opportunities for staff in the newly formed HMPPS, the government plans to create 2,000 new senior promotion opportunities for valued and experienced prison officers to progress into.

The BA (HONS) Criminology with Offender Management award was developed in consultation with HMPs in the Midlands. Academic staff who have worked closely with prison officers at all levels created an award that they will deliver together with tutors from the School of Health and Social Care. Tutors will teach students how to recognise and manage individuals who are suicidal or present with potential mental health conditions.

Probation services will also be more empowered in providing support to offenders both under the supervision of the HMPSS and in the community when they come out of prison. As part of the further growth opportunities, the HPSS is planning to enhance professional qualifications for probation officers and increase the integration of prison and probation services.

The HMPSS is ready to offer apprenticeship schemes to give recruits a clear progression pathway, underlining the Government’s commitment to develop the skills of prison and probation staff.

Staffordshire University is currently developing local commercial relationships with Prisons in Staffordshire to provide partnership opportunities for their prisoners and students. Students studying on the new award will have the opportunity to study with, visit our partners at local prisons, and become involved in research activities relevant to future employment.

For more information contact:

Digital Forensics Portfolio Board Quality Standards Project

Claire Gwinnet at presenting to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)   at a  Digital Forensic Network & Learning Event  this week entitled ‘ Digital Forensics and ISO 17025’.

Claire Gwinnet presenting on a a validation study for ISO accreditation.

– this is an all police forces event invitation only event to discuss and share best practice in accreditation in digital forensics.

Breaking News: no leeway on speeding limits.

You may not be aware but currently under the law, you are liable the minute you exceed the speed limit and subject to the possibility of receiving a speeding ticket. If you are travelling at 31mph in a 30mph limit, 41mph in a 40 you are liable. Many experts have stated that with traffic enforcement this strict, it could force drivers to watch their speedos more intensely than the actual road they are travelling on.

We also need to understand that speedometers are not always as accurate as you would like them to be, even on new cars. Therefore if your speedometer’s calibration is incorrect, a driver could think they were doing 70mph, as the speedometer was recording this, but they could innocently be travelling at a higher speed.

To try to take a more practical approach, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) is suggesting that police services do not prosecute until drivers exceed a margin of error of 10% of the speed limit. This effectively takes into account driver concentration and another 2mph for speedometer errors.

This should mean that most police services will not prosecute until you are driving at more than 46mph in a 40mph limit, for example, or 79mph in a 70mph limit. It is important to remember, that this is only guidance and any decision is at the discretion of the individual officers and police services.

There are various different ways in which you can be caught exceeding the speed limit;

  1. A speed camera.
  2. An average speed camera system
  3. Mobile speed camera vans
  4. Speed traps

There is still also the option of being stopped and spoken to by a police officer. If a police officer decides to take formal action the officer must have evidence of your speed to be able to prosecute. This can be obtained by using a hand-held speed gun, or through the use of a camera vehicle, like car or motorcycle. One thing to also be aware of, is that on a motorway, an officer does not need any extra evidence of speeding. The officer’s opinion under these conditions is enough to prosecute.

If your vehicle is caught on a speed camera, the police service concerned will make enquiries to obtain the address of the owner from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The registered owner of the vehicle will then be sent Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), where they will be requested to provide driver details in the post. The Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and the request to provide driver details are two different legal documents and should be treated as such, although in practice they usually appear on the same document. It is important to remember that if you are the owner of the vehicle, you will receive the document, even if you were not the person driving at the time.

If that is the case, you should complete that part of the Notice of Intended Prosecution. This allows you to notify the police of the name and address of the person who was driving at the time.

There have been times where people have decided foolishly to give incorrect or false details, but be aware that doing so falsely is an offence in itself, and can lead to a prosecution for failing to provide driver details, which carries a minimum six-point penalty or a disqualification from driving, or even worse a prison sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Once the driver has been established there are three options: an offer to attend a speed awareness course, a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), or a court summons, depending on your speed will be made.  If you dispute that you were speeding, but admit being the driver, you should reply to the police admitting that you were driving. But please remember if the police offer a speed awareness course or a fixed penalty you should not accept. This will then trigger the police to send you a postal requisition, where you can take your case to the magistrate’s court to contest.

The rules are slightly different if you are caught by an officer in person. He or she will either issue you with a Fixed Penalty Notice, or advise you that you will receive a court summons, depending on the severity of your offence. Remember, you have 28 days to decide and it is your right not to accept the FPN. If you decide to reject this offer, again you will have to take your case to the magistrate’s court.

Today the Fixed Penalty Notice for speeding will result in three points on your driving licence and also a £100 fine. If your speed is especially high where a court appearance is required, or if you decide to reject the Fixed Penalty Notice, these penalties may be more severe. The maximum fine for speeding is £1,000, except on a motorway, where this is £2,500 and your licence could be revoked.

The new system appears to be more complicated. Below is a broad outline, starting with the three main ‘bands’ of speeding, which need to be understood and also a speed limit table.

Band A

This refers to the lowest level of speeding. For example, you could be driving at between 21mph and 30mph in a 20mph zone, 31mph to 40mph in a 30mph zone, or 71mph to 90mph on a 70mph road. You can expect three points on your licence, and a fine of around 50% of your weekly income.


Band B

This is for more serious cases of speeding. If you’re in a 20mph zone and you drive at 31mph to 40mph, or in a 40mph zone at 56mph to 65mph, or up to 100mph in a 70mph, that will be a Band B fine. That means four to six points on your licence, or disqualification for between seven and 28 days, plus a fine of 100% of your weekly income.


Band C

This is for the most egregious speeding. If you’re doing 41mph or above in a 20mph zone, 51mph or above in a 30mph zone, or above 100mph in a 70mph zone, that’s a Band C fine. That means six points on your licence or disqualification for between seven and 56 days, as well as a fine of 150% of your weekly income.


Speed limit Min speed for a speeding ticket Min speed for prosecution
20mph 24mph 35mph
30mph 35mph 50mph
40mph 46mph 66mph
50mph 57mph 76mph
60mph 68mph 86mph
70mph 79mph 96mph

It is important to understand that mitigating circumstances can always make a difference to the final penalty, things like a genuine emergency, a lack of previous relevant convictions and “good character”. Aggravating factors can have an impact such as previous convictions, speeding in bad weather, speeding in a lorry, bus or taxi, speeding while towing, speeding while driving for hire or reward, speeding with passengers, or speeding somewhere particularly inappropriate, like near a school or crowded shopping street.

You could also be offered a speed awareness course as an alternative to a FPN. Many police services now offer a speed awareness course. This course is designed to make people more aware of their speed and the consequences of their actions. It is delivered over one full day.

A Speed awareness course cannot be requested by a speeder. It is totally at the discretion of each individual police service. However, the reason that most people decide to attend one of these courses is because they will not get any points or a fine. Although this was designed to prevent points or fines being issued, some car insurers have now started asking whether you have attended a course, so that they can increase premiums.

The police cannot issue a FPN If you had nine or more active penalty points on your licence on the date that you were speeding. The case will have to go to court. All drivers who get twelve or more active penalty points are disqualified at court for at least six months. However you may be able to plead exceptional hardship.

My advice before deciding to reject an FPN and take a speeding offence to court would be to seek advice from a legal professional.

Procedures do need to be correct for a prosecution to be successful and things that can prevent a successful prosecution are:

  1. The NIP must be served on the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days of the day following the offence and if it does not arrive within this time period, can be contested. However, the NIP only has to be served on the registered keeper within 14 days and there is no time limit for serving a request for driver details. If someone else names you as the driver, for example if you were driving a company car or a hire car, it is quite likely that the first notice will come more than 14 days after the offence.
  2. Convictions can be overturned by demonstrating that the equipment was not calibrated correctly. In fact, all speed-detecting equipment must have a calibration certificate valid for the day it is being used, and motorists accused of speeding are within their rights to request a copy of this certificate.


I hope this blog gives you a better insight into the latest legislation in force from today (24th April 2017)

Dave Tapp


Make a Difference in Policing

From Professor Andrew R W Jackson

Arguably, an evidence-based revolution is underway in British Policing and you could be part of it.

This blog outlines:

  • the basis of this revolution;
  • a briefing founded in this revolution that I co-presented last week to senior leaders of Policing in Staffordshire;
  • opportunities for our students that arise from this revolution.

What is the revolution?

 Police use the following as engines of progress:

  • democratic accountability;
  • effective leadership;
  • line management;
  • post-operation debrief;
  • challenge provided to senior officers by members of their teams;
  • reviews and inspections.

To this list, they are increasingly adding research-informed knowledge of ‘what works best’. By doing this, they are able to engage in evidence-based practice. In my view, this is not just a new tool in the policing tool-kit, it is revolutionary.

What was the briefing?

 On 4 April, myself and a colleague from Keele University gave a briefing to Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Staffordshire’s Chief Constable, and their senior staff. This informed them about the £290,541 project work that we have been undertaking for the Police Knowledge Fund. This work is aimed at enabling police to better engage with knowledge production and exchange, empowering them to identify and use ‘what works best’ and to adopt evidence-based practice.

What are the opportunities?

 Amongst the opportunities that this work has identified are projects that are highly suitable for students to become involved with. Indeed, three of our current students have already started on such projects. There are concerned with:

  • an evaluation of the predictive abilities of a risk management tool used by the police in cases of domestic abuse;
  • the development of a toolkit for the evaluation of the effectiveness of police training;
  • improved methods of performance review.

The exciting thing about these projects is that they enable students to apply what they have learnt with us to real-life challenges faced in every-day policing. By studying at Staffordshire University, you too will have the opportunity, through project work like this, to be part of the evidence-based-policing revolution.

What happens in the labs when you are away

So it is the Easter break. Time to relax, spend some time with the family, eat chocolate!

For us technical staff the breaks are often as busy as the teaching term! We have large-scale cleaning, disposals, stocktaking, ordering and replenishing just to start. With the third semester for the MSc students on the horizon, there is also solution making for the wet practical labs, setting up and preparation for the criminalistics labs, a deep clean of the crime scene house and some trauma make-up, engineer visits, maintenance of instrumentation and equipment; not forgetting all the normal weekly routine work, whilst still available for support of the MSci, placement students, and our Belgian and Dutch interns. Thank goodness for bank holidays J

Welcome to World Book Day!

I asked our staff to talk about books that had inspired them.

Neil Lamont , Senior Lecturer in Forensic Chemistry wrote: As a youngster I was an avid angler and this was the catalyst for my continued love of the environment. Visiting the library to research my hobby, I found many well-loved books, from the fifties and sixties, on how to become the complete angler. The authors, themselves conservationist showed great insight with regards to the complexity of the environment, with in-depth observations on the feeding habits of the fish and the life cycles of the insects on which they feed. Their study of the aquatic environment ultimately influenced my choice of Degree and even the subject of my PhD.

Keith Puttick, Associate Professor of Law wrote: 51YYZKvOQrL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_

Erin Pizzey Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974). Inspirational and transformative, Pizzey’s analysis was also matched by action – Chiswick Womens Aid and Refuge  It is reading for the DV section of the Social Welfare Law and Practice Level 6 option (and L7 module). Incredible then as now, it spawned a vast literature on domestic abuse, social housing, and liberation politics. Compare its messages with contemporary priorities. Look at the Womens Aid site Consider, too, today’s challenges. Cuts to services, refuges, and helplines. Forward into the past!



Aidan Flynn, who works on Constitutional Law remembers reading Peter Hennessy’s ‘The Hidden Wiring: Unearthing the British Constitution’ (1995). “It has a name that captures the mystique of an uncodified Constitution.  In 2010, PM Gordon Brown initiated work that led to the Cabinet Manual, published in 2011.  Hennessy co-authored a report:  ‘The Cabinet Manual and the Working of the British Constitution: The Hidden Wiring Emerges.’  The report describes the manual as “the broadest description of the constitutional landscape to be found in any single official document yet published.  But it is not the expression of a fully codified UK constitution.”  Full codification may come before the 21st century is out.”

for Matt Sadler, who works on Business and Commercial Law, it was when his mother gave him John Rawls’s book A Theory of Justice. 41Yigkd9kfL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_

 “When my mother was completing her BA in Crime, Deviance & Society as a mature student in 2001 at Staffordshire University, she handed me a book and said ‘you’d enjoy this!’.I eventually got around to reading it and was intrigued by the notion that justice ought to be blind and that a ‘veil of ignorance’. Rawls suggests that ‘we must nullify the effects of specific contingencies which put men at odds and tempt them to exploit social and natural circumstances to their own advantage’. In other words justice can only be metered out when the system adopts this filtering of facts so that, as Rawls suggest, the ‘veil of ignorance’ precludes discussions of a person’s place in society, his fortune including natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength etc.It was this socio-legal position that first caught my attention and began to foster an interest in fairness, justness and equality in the eyes of the law and that in order for jurisprudent application of legal theory in the real world to be robust and adopt the ‘justice is blind’ position there needs to be a protection against bias and unfair categorization of those who come under the legal system’s scrutiny.It was at this moment that the seeds were planted and I have spent the last 8 years since beginning my legal education entrenching this philosophy within my own research and teaching.

Laura Walton Williams from Forensic Science writes: I have two, the non-fictional book, ‘Maggots, Murder and Men’ was written by Zakaria Erzinçlioglu who was 9k=a forensic entomologist.  I read this book before I started studying Forensics, and it was fascinating to find out how biological evidence could be used to aid criminal investigations. Fiction wise, the Sherlock Holmes books by Arthur Conan Doyle captured my imagination and I still enjoy reading these to this day. The concept of deductive reasoning based on observations is very well depicted in these stories.


A great frustration in my previous career as a police officer was the prevalence of unsubstantiated assertions, cavalier approaches to the truth and an emphasis on style over substance. Thinking that these indicated very low intelligence or a deliberate intention to deceive I often sank into despair. Reading Princeton Professor Harry Frankfurt’s essay called “On Bullshit” completely changed my outlook. It was published as a book in 2005 and became a NY Times #1 best seller. He traces the etymology, concepts and the social functions of bullshit. Importantly he explains the difference between lying and bullshit. A hugely influential book, it gives great insight into the communications of politicians, public officials and corporate leaders. As a taster, see Prof Frankfurt’s article in Time magazine in which he analyses Donald Trump’s communications using his theory. – David Simmonds


 Louis Martin wrote: “I found that my experience of teaching in the Law Department led me to a very important book. I was captivated by Rupert Haigh’s Legal English (fourth edition). I think all law students should have a Haigh close to hand during their studies. Haigh explains the importance of learning the legal terms and specialised language of law. Legal English is a very distinct and discrete branch of English and can be very challenging for the modern law student.  Many students need to be familiar with complex legal terms and Haigh really helps with his hints and tips.”

9k=“A life time ago when I was a law student I found a copy of Graveson’s and Crane’s A Century of Family Law in a second hand book shop. It was published in 1957 and covered the period 1857 to 1957. While it had little bearing on my then studies, it was a window into the past that began my fascination with the development of family law and how the law and social conventions influence each other. The most startling revelation was that less than ten percent of the contents covered the law relating to children in 1957, the majority of the contents covered the breakdown of relationships and financial obligation’s between family members. Today that statistic seems absurd as there is far more law relating to children than to adults and their relationships. Graveson and Crane was a seminal work in its time and now highlights how family law has changed, fundamentally for the better recognising the needs and rights of the most vulnerable members of society whose voices were barley heard in 1957”.- Sue Jenkinson

World Book Day – somewhat late! from Forensics team member Julian Partridge.IMG_1402_Treasure Island Front Cover

When siting back and reflecting upon the books that inspired me as a child I suddenly remembered how bare the bookshelves actually were in my parent’s home and how few books I actually possessed at the time, thankfully this is now rectified. However, I did have my father’s illustrated copy of “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson published in the 1950s.IMG_1404_Billy Bones and Black Dog at the Admiral Ben Bow

A story of adventure, loyalty, daring, betrayal and murder- strangely all of which have had some part to play in my career as a forensic scientist and ex-volunteer serviceman, I just haven’t found the treasure yet!

A chance to meet Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police, Jane Sawyers; International Women’s Day at StaffsUni

International Women’s Day 2017: Celebration of the Great Women of Staffordshire

Tuesday March 7th

‘Be Bold for Change’

 You are invited to join us at an event to celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday 7th March.  We are delighted to welcome Chief Constable Jane Sawyers and key inspirational women of Staffordshire to debate the theme of International Women’s Day – ‘Be Bold for Change’

Programme overview:

5.30pm: Arrival, Networking and Refreshments

Science Centre Atrium/Lecture Theatres

Staffordshire University, Leek Road Campus, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF

6.30pm: Welcome, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Liz Barnes

6.35pm: International Women’s Day Lecture, Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police, Jane Sawyers, will give an insight into her career journey, Inc Q and A

7.10pm: BSc Hons Music Technology and Management student, Lorraine Lionheart to perform

 7.15pm: Celebration of the Great Women of Staffordshire, ‘One Show’ format on sofas with invited key inspirational women of Staffordshire leading the debate entitled ‘Be Bold for Change’


Prof Liz Barnes, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University

Cllr Abi Brown, Deputy Leader of Stoke City Council, Chair of City of Culture bid for Stoke-on-Trent

 Jaime Lee Cunningham, President of Students’ Union

 Theresa Heskins, Artistic Director, The New Vic Theatre

 Fleur Robinson, Commercial Director, Burton Albion FC

 CC Jane Sawyers, Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police

 Sara Williams, Chief Executive, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce


Closing Remarks: Vice-Chancellor, Professor Liz Barnes

 If you would like to attend this event please email:



Fighting Cyber-crime

On Tuesday the 7th February, the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit’s (WMROCU) Cyber crime team attended Staffordshire University.

Detective Inspector Rob Harris (Pictured) and Detective Sergeant Gary Sirrell hosted a workshop for the Crime Prevention and Urban Criminology students, on what was a very a fitting day, Safer Internet Day

Cyber crimeWMROCU has the responsibility of protecting the communities in the West Midlands from serious organised and complex crime.  Gary and Rob gave a fantastic insight into the current cyber threat landscape, and the UK Cyber Strategy, whilst also providing some local case studies. They concluded with some advice around what businesses and the public can do to protect themselves against a cyber-attack.   The input clearly linked to topics already discussed with students, such as partnership working, education and future threat.

New Placements for Policing Students

Juliet Prince, our newest member of staff, is using her experience knowledge and contacts to assist our major partner Staffordshire Police to develop opportunities for some students to secure short placements in their Justice Service Department.

policing 3

On Wednesday 1st February Juliet took a large group of Level 6 PCI students to the home of the Staffordshire Police Justice Department in Etruria not far from the University. This visit enabled police staff to provide compelling information to the students about their role and services. Juliet was extremely complimentary about the professional and competent approach which was displayed by our students in their demeanour and active responses. Well done them!
Policing 1Policing 2The hope is that this will now drive students to provide ideas for some suitable placement projects which will assist the Justice Department to enhance their performance, productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.

We are all looking forward to seeing the evolution of this exciting new project!