Bringing research closer to collaborative practice at LEPH2019


Bringing research closer to collaborative practice at LEPH2019

James Clover*,

The fifth iteration of the Law Enforcement and Public Health Conference (LEPH2019), hosted in Edinburgh, Scotland, focused on what conference conveners entitled Collaborative Leadership. Among the range of intended objectives the well-attended international conference strives to achieve, the collection of both delegates and presenters hope to use innovative research to improve the quality of health and safety in all communities. New for 2019 was the introduction of a PhD workshop and master class, as part of a plenary experience intended to provide PhD students an international platform to share their respective research and contributions to the scholar and practitioner community.

Thirteen PhD candidates from across the globe and from varied backgrounds and experiences were welcomed to the plenary by Professor John Middleton, the current president of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER). Professor Middleton shared his personal experience in translating research into measured practice to be leveraged for future social and policy responses.

The collection of PhD topic presentations was divided into three general themes: Criminal Justice Systems’ Response to Public Health Issues, Contemporary Policing: Education, Training and Communication, and Mental Health and Vulnerability. Presenters were allocated only five minutes to pitch their thesis and findings, followed by questions from other presenters and attending guests.

The spectrum of topics included a description of lived experiences and expectations from incarcerated adult females in Canada, to which Mr. Dan Jones, from the University of Huddersfield, aligned the prisoners’ voices describing the systemic lack of supportive programing in the community compared with the prison setting. University of Melbourne student Ms. Melissa Willoughby described how leveraging coroner data might provide evidence to prevent violence-related deaths amongst people in direct contact with the criminal justice system.

The group learned of the work being conducted by Ms. Donna Evans and others in South Africa. The RMIT Melbourne academic and practitioner described the complicated and often adversarial relationships between law enforcement, sex workers and the community at large. Violence perpetrated by clients and police against sex workers, stigma and culturally entrenched beliefs, and well-established barriers to bureaucratic reform all point to the efforts described being daunting. However the presentation included anticipated opportunities for positive change, focusing on establishing venues for discussion and collective dialogue to seek out shared values and health expectations by all parties involved.

Mr. Robert Skinner, from Heriot-Watt University, took top prize, a complementary membership to the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association, for his presentation Approximately there: Video-mediated interpreting in a frontline policing context. This research, which explores how those with hearing disabilities can engage with the criminal justice system, provided deep consideration of the baseline of services that need to be provided for all clients that are potentially to be served. The themes of the research included (1) the use of videoconferencing technologies to locate a British Sign Language/English Interpreter, (2) how police staff and interpreters work together, (3) the potential to provide meaningful access to deaf citizens, and (4) the broader context of how police interact with all diverse populations.

At the completion of the presentations, the cohort of students was subject to a master class, provided by Dr. Isa Bartkowiak-Theron, from the University of Tasmania, in a discussion on how academics, practitioners, and those with lived experience struggle to find a shared definition of what vulnerability means. The day concluded with a question-and-answer period with attending guests, including Dr. Bartkowiak-Theron, Dr. Middleton, Liz Aston, Director of the Scottish Institute of Police Research, and Dr. Maria McLennan, from Police Scotland.

There exists a necessity to bring together promising and innovative academic research with existing and profitable experience. How to help the fields of criminology and public health benefit from each other, and find collaborative ways to both lead and support students in their research, is a primary tenet of the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association (GLEPHA). The GLEPHA Education Special Interest Group will be dedicating energy to delivering a second iteration of the PhD workshop and master class at the LEPH2021 conference, in Philadelphia, and it is hoped that readers of the Journal of CSWB will consider sharing this information with potential participants for future consideration.


The author declares there are no conflicts of interest. This submission does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the author’s affiliations.


*Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton, AB, Canada,
MacEwan University, Faculty of Health and Community Studies, Department of Public Safety and Justice Studies, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Correspondence to: James Clover, MacEwan University, Faculty of Health and Community Studies, Department of Public Safety and Justice Studies, City Centre Campus, c/o PO Box 1796, Edmonton, AB T5J 2P2, Canada. E-mail:

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This article is related directly to the Law Enforcement & Public Health (LEPH) Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, October 2019. ( Return to Text )

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Journal of CSWB, Vol. 4, No. 4, December 2019


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

ISSN: 2371-4298 (Online)