New name, new focus for ARU research institute

Published: 11 June 2024 at 16:00

Blue light on a police car

PIER becomes IPPPRI as it extends its focus on global public protection challenges

Anglia Ruskin University’s Policing Institute for the Eastern Region (PIER) has announced its new name, as part of its continued drive towards delivering applied research that makes a difference to public protection.

At PIER’s annual conference, PIER24, held in May, Professor Sam Lundrigan, Director of PIER, formally announced that the institute has now become the International Policing and Public Protection Research Institute (IPPPRI).

Explaining the new name, and the future direction of the institute, Professor Lundrigan said “I’m incredibly proud of the impact our institute has made over the past seven years, and I’m delighted to lead this exciting new phase in our history.

“PIER was set up in 2017 by myself and Nick Alston, then chair, who was also the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex. We had a clear aim to coordinate and grow the research excellence at ARU, with the aim of advancing policing through applied research.

“As a civic university, rooted in our local community, our emphasis was clearly on the Eastern region, hence the creation of our name. Back then, we were a team of two, but thanks to the incredible work that has been delivered by my team over the years, and thanks to the network we have created, we have grown to a team of 15, and have secured more than £14.5m in external funding since we were established. Of particular note is the significant support we have received through the Dawes Trust, which has made a huge impact on the scale and reach of our research.

“Right from the start, we’ve been clear on our focus towards our strategic objectives, and on carrying out research that makes a difference. There has never been ‘research for research sake’ at PIER.

“Our postgraduate programme has become incredibly strong, and I’m delighted that we’re helping to create the world-class researchers of the future. They’ve worked on critical topics with key partners, to make sure their research is both meaningful and valuable, helping to build an evidence base to inform the work of our partners.

“Just some of the many examples of this have included our work with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) around the critical importance of the use of language when referring to victims, survivors and the act of child sexual abuse and exploitation. We’ve delivered academic evaluations of key government initiatives such as the effectiveness of multi agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) on behalf of the Home Office, and the management of registered sex offenders for the Ministry of Justice. These are clear examples of working with others to drive change and improve working practices.

“Today, key projects include work to understand researcher wellbeing - something that has been vastly overlooked right across academia. We must understand and respond to the impact of researching challenging subject matters such as child abuse on our teams. We’ve also been at the centre of innovative, first of its kind research into the impact on children and families of offenders arrested for online child sexual abuse.

“Understanding the whole system surrounding online child sexual abuse has become an area of specialism for us, and we have created a national child sexual exploitation network, bringing together representatives from around 40 organisations across the country to share knowledge and collaborate to drive change.

“Many of our partnerships are now global in nature, and our specialism has led us to a clear focus on policing and on protecting the public through prevention. This has led us to develop a new vision: ‘Through applied research we will support the global response to exploitation and abuse in all its forms’.

“It has been a privilege and a pleasure to lead my growing team of fantastic researchers, specialists and support staff for seven years. Our success is down to the work of the entire team, which brings such a breadth of experience, insight and perspectives to our work.

“Now, through IPPPRI, we look ahead with pride and ambition as we seek to further contribute towards global public protection efforts through the power and influence of our research.”