Police Research Unit



The Police Research Unit is a centre for research excellence in policing. Members of the PRU provide cutting edge independent research which aims to make evidence-based impacts on policy and practice at local, national and international levels. The PRU also provides opportunities for policing students to engage in cutting edge research.

Research Projects

Research Projects

Visible Policing: The affective properties of police buildings, images and material culture

Project funder: ESRC, 2018-2020, £406,775

Professor Andrew Millie, Professor Michael Rowe (Northumbria University) and Dr Matthew Jones (The Open University)

This research programme is the first to explore the visual culture of contemporary policing. It develops understanding of the importance of visible policing in ways that move beyond established interest in patrol work by conceptualising visibility in much broader terms.

The Attitudes, Values and Beliefs of Police Recruits

Project funder: Lancashire Constabulary, 2016-2018, £17,466

Professor Andrew Millie and Dr Steven Hirschler

This project examines the attitudes, values and beliefs of new recruits as they join Lancashire Constabulary. The study focuses on whether the attitudes, values and beliefs of new recruits challenge police cultures, and the extent to which they become aligned to dominant norms and practices.

Volunteering within the Police

Project funder: Lancashire Constabulary, 2016, £13,776

Professor Andrew Millie

Volunteering has long been a feature of the police and opportunities for volunteers are throughout the police service – including joining the ranks of the Special Constabulary or becoming a Police Support Volunteer (PSV). This research explores why some people volunteer for the police, issues regarding their recruitment, management and supervision and factors that might inhibit or reinforce successful outcomes.

Policing in a Time of Contraction and Constraint: Re-imagining the Role and Function of Contemporary Policing

Project funder: British Academy, 2011, £1,280

Professor Andrew Millie and Professor Karen Bullock (University of Surrey)

The starting point for this project was the nature and scale of the fiscal challenge facing state-funded police forces in Britain following the financial crisis. Public sector cuts had immediate implications for the police service with a 20 per cent reduction in funding by 2014/2015 (HM Treasury, 2010). The project received funding for a day conference held at the British Academy in London and led to the publication of a special issue of the journal Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Research in Action

Research in Action

Members of the Police Research Unit are involved in important and innovative research on a range of topics. Summaries of some of their work are available here.

Re-imagining Policing Post-Austerity
Reassurance Policing
Police Architecture




5 November 2019
PRU Guest Lecture
Dr Richard Hough, University of West Florida and Visiting Fellow in Policing, Edge Hill University
Investigating Homicide

4 November 2019
PRU Research Seminar
Dr Richard Hough, University of West Florida and Visiting Fellow in Policing, Edge Hill University
Legitimacy, Accountability, and the Use of Force in American Policing: Lessons Learned?

7 February 2019
PRU Annual Policing Lecture
Chief Constable Andy Cooke QPM, Merseyside Police
Policing should be fair and equal for all. So why isn’t it?
I4P and the Department of Law and Criminology

17 April 2018
PRU Annual Policing Lecture
Professor Michael Rowe, Northumbria University
Futures of Policing: Towards a Cultural Perspective
I4P and the Department of Law and Criminology

8 February 2017
I4P and Department of Law & Criminology Annual Policing Lecture
Policing Gender and Ethics: An Ethnographic View of Culture and Practice
Dr Louise Westmarland, The Open University

10 December 2015
I4P and Department of Law & Criminology Annual Policing Lecture
The Recent Politics of the Police: Re-Professionalisation and Regulation
Professor Simon Holdaway, University of Sheffield



The PRU welcomes proposals for study at MRes or PhD, as well as enquiries for collaborative ventures.

To contact the Police Research Unit, please contact Professor Andrew Millie

Police Research Unit
Department of Law and Criminology
Edge Hill University
St Helens Road
Ormskirk, Lancashire
L39 4QP
United Kingdom

(0)1695 657202

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