PIER’s research activity falls into three broad areas: sexual offending, policing for the 21st century, and extremism and counter-terrorism.
These areas of enquiry reflect the research specialisms of PIER staff and key international policing priorities. They align closely with ARU's research and innovation theme of ‘Safe and Inclusive Communities’ and overlap with the ‘Health, Performance and Wellbeing’ theme.
Our leading research in this topical and increasingly concerning field focuses two main areas: adult sexual offending and child sexual abuse. Through our research we seek to understand these types of sexual violence and inform the criminal justice response to them.
We examine sexual offending from different perspectives and work closely with criminal justice agencies to interrogate data to uncover patterns and trends. Our research supports the development of research, methodologies, tools, and technologies to enhance the investigation and prevention of sexual harms against adults and children.
Examples of our research in this area include Dawes Trust funded research into child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSAE) and a national review of the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).
The landscape of safety and security has changed dramatically since the turn of the millennium. Technology, globalisation, and the rise of more complex social problems pose significant challenges to the police who have limited resources and whose traditional ways of operating have struggled to keep up with the demand.
PIER works closely with police services and other external agencies to conduct robust evidence-based research in diverse areas such as violence against women and girls, domestic abuse and knife crime to better equip policing and other public sector agencies to respond to current and emerging challenges, both globally and in the UK.
The increased scope and complexity of these challenges the police face mean that they cannot tackle these issues alone and are increasingly working in partnership to foster a culture shift around the delivery of public protection, away from a single organisation mentality towards service provision based on whole-system approaches. PIER helps bridge that gap across sectors and conduct cross-sector research and knowledge exchange for the benefit of policing practice.
Examples of our research in this area include the national ARMS evaluation and our research partnership with Essex Police (2018-2021).
Our growing research in this area focuses on the multi-agency management of convicted offenders in the community, the identification of individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism and the relationship between vocal extremism and violence.
We work closely with national bodies such as the Ministry of Justice, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service as well as a network of Prevent practitioners.