56.% our social work and social policy research rated world-leading/internationally excellent


This was the University of Portsmouth’s first submission to the Social Work and Social Policy Unit of Assessment; staff were previously entered under two separate Units in RAE2008 (UoA 36 Business and Management Studies and UoA 50 European Studies). The submission comprised work from three research clusters: Policing, Crime and Investigation; Risk, Security and Counter Fraud and Youth, Crime and Social Justice. 24 staff were submitted (double the previous entry), all of whom have been involved in research under the umbrella theme of crime and social justice. This included six staff who were ECRs (25%) and 42% of staff entered are female. The submission included three impact case studies demonstrating our impact on provision for police interview training, provision for victims of fraud, and welfare-to-work employment policy.

With an entry of 24 staff the University of Portsmouth made one of the largest submissions in the area of crime and social justice research in the country.

  • 56.8% of our outputs were rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • Ranked in the top half of post-1992 institutions (9th out of 23) for quality of Outputs.
  • Overall, 50% of our our work, including environment and impact, was rated as 3* and 4*.
  • In terms of ‘research power’ (which measures the quality of the profile alongside the headcount of researchers entered) we are 26th out of 62 institutions nationwide.

Research groups / Research themes

The Policing, Crime and Investigation Cluster embraces research on policing, probation and criminal investigation. Its focal areas are investigative interviewing and evidence (Cherryman, Milne), police governance and management (Savage), professional cultures in law enforcement (Charman), policing hate crime (Hall), probation public protection and MAPPA (Nash), comparative criminal justice (perceptions of justice (Wilson), miscarriages of justice (Charman, Savage), and forensic technologies (Smith).

The Risk, Security and Counter Fraud Cluster focuses on societal and organisational risk, risk management and the delivery of security (Wakefield, Button), plural policing (Button, Wakefield), cybercrime and security (Wang) and the challenge of fraud and corruption (Tunley, Button).

The Youth, Crime and Social Justice Cluster focuses on research on young people, criminality, anti-social behaviour and youth justice, (Hayden, Nee, Pamment, Ellis), families parenting and families in trouble (Devitt, Hayden, Newnham), unemployment, welfare to work and payment by results (Finn), risk and mental illness (Nee) , restorative justice and compensation culture (Hand, Pamment, Ellis), missing persons (Pakes), safer schools (Hayden), discrimination, diversity and social justice (Carney, Feenan), multi-agency working and substance misuse (Pycroft)

Impact case studies

Improvements to the training and professional development of police in investigative interviewing

The University of Portsmouth research into effective use of the Cognitive Interview (CI) by police forces in the UK and overseas has led to recommendations for changes to training of police officers in this field throughout their careers being adopted in several countries across the world. The work, led by Dr Becky Milne, has also been used to inform the decision making processes of a variety of national policy reviews and professional bodies. Research has improved the standard of interviewing, particularly for sensitive investigations such as rape and child abuse.

Enhancing support for victims of fraud

This case study concerns the research of the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies relating to both individual and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) victims of fraud. It highlights how the underpinning research has influenced major national policy changes, such as the formation of Action Fraud and the services they and other bodies, such as the National Fraud Authority (NFA), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Office of Fair Trading (OFT), provide to support victims. It also demonstrates how the research has informed policy-makers of the significant impact of fraud on victims, stimulating changes in the services offered; with the Sentencing Council conducting a review of sentencing for fraud related offences.

Shaping the design and implementation of payment by results contracts in the delivery of welfare to work programmes

The research findings improved the comparative evidence base used by policy makers, providers and advocacy organisations when designing and delivering contracted out welfare to work programmes in the UK, including the development of service user safeguards implemented through the Department of Work and Pensions ‘Commissioning Strategy’ and Work Programme (which will cater for over 3 million unemployed participants between 2011 and 2016). The research findings have also had a wider impact in informing policy makers, providers and user groups in other countries that have introduced or are introducing such contracting systems.

Infrastructure and facilities

In terms of research infrastructure, governance of CSCJ research rests primarily with the Research Leadership Group, which includes all Professors, Readers and Research Cluster and Centre leaders, and which maintains responsibility for the Delivery Plan for research Strategy, including staff research policy. The Group also includes the department’s Ethics Officer, who advises staff on research ethics and who acts as the link-point with the Faculty and University ethics governance framework.

Infrastructural support in pursuit of external research funding is provided at Faculty and departmental levels. At Faculty level support is provided in the forms of:

  • A full-time Research Secretary
  • The services of the Faculty Business Development Manager and Finance Officer, both of whom support external funding bids

Additionally, the Faculty has funded a fully equipped interview suite for research on forensic interviewing (Cherryman, Milne), and forensic facilities which are being used for research on new forensic technologies (Smith).

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