Innovative policing: TVP develops in-house Behavioural Science Unit

Innovative policing: TVP develops in-house Behavioural Science Unit

In October 2022, Thames Valley Police proudly set a precedent as the first police force in the UK to launch its own Behavioural Science Unit (BSciU), marking a significant step toward enhancing our understanding of human behaviour and making a positive impact within policing. Led by experts Clare Bricknell and Niki Ward, the BSciU focuses on creating lasting positive changes in the way TVP work, fostering wellbeing, and improving the overall environment.

The BSciU team, consisting of specialists with diverse qualifications in areas like education, leadership, organisational change, mental health, and policing, aims to identify specific behaviours, patterns, biases, and motivations. By applying behavioural science principles, TVP strive to enhance the quality of life for both officers and the communities we serve.

Operating across the entire Thames Valley Police force, the BSciU provides practical support in various ways: 

  • Consultation: Offering support through emails, meetings, and initial research to pinpoint areas for improvement. 
  • Workshops: Creating and conducting workshops on specific issues for departments and teams. 
  • Research: Running focus groups and interviews to identify root causes of specific challenges. 
  • Interventions: Implementing pilot studies with targeted interventions for larger behavioural changes. 

The BSciU has already left an indelible mark, bringing about positive transformations in critical areas like Serving Victims, Domestic Abuse, and Missing Persons. Their active engagement extends beyond internal team meetings to include participation in conferences and national events, where they eagerly share valuable insights with the wider community. 

The BSciU is currently working in multiple areas, two examples of which are with the Force Implementation team, to help support change across Thames Valley, and the Forensics department on their Forensics Improvement Plan. Moving forwards, the BSciU is exploring the wider innovation landscape within TVP, alongside our Evidence Based Policing Specialist Dr Jess Phoenix.   

Supported by Deputy Chief Constable Ben Snuggs, the regional Science and Innovation lead, and Superintendent Felicity Parker, the TVP will to be able to explore and support many of the great innovations on the front line.

If you’re interested in discovering stories from across TVP, visit our News page.