Why we've been helping police get more efficient

Published: 30 June 2016 at 11:22

David Arkell headshot

Helping the police with their inquiries is something law-abiding citizens generally try and avoid, but academics at a Cambridge business school have been doing just that.

The team from the Institute for International Management Practice (IIMP), which is part of Anglia Ruskin University's Faculty of Business and Law has been trying to help the Force become more efficient.

It is one of a number of projects undertaken by researchers led by Dr David Arkell, the school's director of business development. He said:

“We've been working with the police force, you might say helping them with their enquiries! It involved getting to know officers, understanding their needs and working practices. Our job was to look at how they could become more effective and identify ways they could make their work more efficient. That way the police force can make monetary savings, and officers can spend more time on the important parts of their job."

Arkell joined the team at the Faculty of Business and Law earlier this year and has been tasked with driving the school's engagement with the business community. This means his is a wide-ranging role.

“We have a team of researchers from very different backgrounds, and our remit and purpose is to work with wider society to apply our research so that it doesn't just rest in academia. It can be useful to companies and make an impact in the real world."

With considerable first-hand experience in the real world, Arkell knows what he's talking about. He is a former head of service at Cambridgeshire County Council, where he raised £27m of EU and match funding to pioneer smart cities thinking and large-scale projects. This led to the formation of SmartLIFE, an organisation dedicated to promoting the use of sustainable methods and low-carbon technology in construction. Arkell was the founding director, and oversaw the building of two smart life centres in Cambridge, on King's Hedges Road, as well as centres in Hamburg and in Malmö.

He is now using this experience to advise staff and students at the business school on how to take advantage of funding opportunities, a process which could be about to get more difficult with Britain set to exit the European Union. He said:

“Getting finance has always been a very competitive market, but the great thing about ARU is that we do research well, and work across fields and disciplines to put together interesting bids. It's important to try and solve meaningful problems."

This article first appeared in The Cambridge News Business Magazine.