We interviewed Dr Yvonne Hail from Edinburgh Napier University on her experiences being a partner on the Unity Project..
What has your role been within the Unity project?
My role on Unity has been working as a research fellow on Work Package 2 which looked to ensure that all social, cultural, legal and ethical dimensions underlying best practice in CP and policing research were followed. WP2 was also responsible for designing the research instruments used by our consortium partners and in analysing the qualitative data collected from our 323 interviews before developing WP2 deliverables using the research findings. These findings where then used by our partners in planning the technology outputs and the scenarios developed in each country to test the technology. As academic police researchers my colleagues at WP2 and myself were also responsible for ensuring that our non-policing partners were supported in relation to the policing processes and practices.
What has the highlight of the project been for you?
The highlight has got to be working with such an amazing and passionate team of colleagues who were all focused on improving community policing across Europe and beyond. As a newly qualified doctoral researcher, I have learned so much from every single member of the consortium, from the variety of community policing models employed to the business architecture required to develop the technical components of our project. Having such easy access to our police practitioner partners has certainly provided me with a wealth of experience that could take years to acquire in the field, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity. I had heard that working on such an interdisciplinary consortium with international partners could be extremely difficult, however on this project I believe that our joint focus on improving police community engagement, and therefore community safety, supported our successful outcomes.
What do you think the legacy of the Unity project will be?
I would like to think that the legacy of the Unity project will be threefold; Firstly we have provided Work Package Deliverables which can be used to develop an EU wide policy framework for the delivery and operationalisation of CP across Europe; secondly Unity has developed a safe and reliable communication tool which will enable the further development of locally delivered CP and finally that the CP specific training developed using the findings from the Unity data will support local officers in understanding the role of CP resulting in a more efficient and effective service at a local neighbourhood. From an academic context there is an additional and important legacy that the Unity project will leave and that is the creation of Unity 6 pillars of CP. These broad pillars will enable future researchers to conduct important work in relation to CP which until now has been affected by the ambiguous nature and variety of labels attached to CP within jurisdiction.
What is next for you?
My hope is that I can build on all that I have learned in the Unity project and continue to conduct research which is focused on CP, police community engagement and police training in order to strengthen police engagement and improve community policing.