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Student’s work on raising awareness of victims’ rights to be shared across UK police forces

Work by a Nottingham Trent University student to raise awareness of victims’ rights among police officers is set to be shared with forces across the UK.

Danielle Thompsett at her work desk with computer
NTU Psychology student, Danielle Thompsett, has been commended for her work while on placement

Work by a Nottingham Trent University student to raise awareness of victims’ rights among police officers is set to be shared with forces across the UK.

Danielle Thompsett, a third year BSc Psychology with Criminology student, is currently on a year-long placement with Bedfordshire Police working as a victim and witness intern.

As part of her role, Danielle was tasked with developing a strategy to ensure that all victims were appropriately treated by officers in line with the Victims’ Code of Practice.

To equip officers with a simple way to access information while on duty, she designed a set of QR code stickers directing officers to a website which she created. Danielle also sought support from senior officers within the force and promoted the stickers through targeted internal communications.

Following the success of the stickers, which included an increase in compliance, neighbouring forces are now interested in introducing the scheme in their areas.

In addition to this project, Danielle also discovered there was a low volume of applications for court special measures by officers on behalf of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses - such as having a screen between them and the suspect, giving evidence from a separate room via live link, clearing the public gallery and asking barristers to remove their wigs. She also found that when applications were submitted, they didn’t always include the suitable information for special measures to be granted.

QR code stickers on a laptop
Danielle's QR code stickers

Danielle has now filmed a series of videos in a local Crown Court to act as both a reference point for officers and also to demonstrate to witnesses what is on offer and familiarise them with the inside of a courtroom. A feature on how best to get applications for special measures accepted is also being created.

The videos are now set to be shared nationally as Danielle is adapting them to make them specific for all other forces in the UK.

Danielle is also passionate about a concept known as ‘voice of the child’ which discusses the importance of listening to what a child is saying when they are present at an incident. As part of this, she has visited a local primary school to discuss with the children the importance of the police listening to them and has subsequently created an emotive video of their responses which has been shown to the force.

Danielle has now been nominated to receive a Chief Officer’s commendation, which recognises outstanding work.

Danielle, age 21, originally from Welwyn in Hertfordshire, said: “The fact that other forces are interested in my ideas has reaffirmed to me the importance of my work and how much of a difference it can make. I’m really proud of these projects and how I’ve been able to have a real impact.

“I’ve found this placement really insightful, particularly the work with children and vulnerable adults as a lot of these cases discuss instances of mental health, which links to my psychology course and aspects of mental health diagnosis and warning symptoms.”

Detective Chief Inspector at Bedfordshire Police, Marie Gresswell, said: “Danielle’s refreshing take on accomplishing our team goal makes it an absolute pleasure to work with her, with her fresh ideas and imagination. She has handled every project to an exceptionally high standard and shown resilience, experience, knowledge, and critical thinking. We have loved getting her perspective on policing and the results have shown.”

Dr Sebastian Teicher, NTU Principal Lecturer and Danielle’s placement tutor, said: “I know Danielle as an enthusiastic and engaged student, and it is fantastic to see her being able to make a real difference. One of the key skills in a Psychology degree is the ability to think critically, and as Danielle has shown that is something that comes in handy beyond the realms of academia.”

Speaking about her achievement, Professor Daragh McDermott, Associate Dean for Psychology at NTU’s School of Social Sciences, added: “We are incredibly proud of Danielle and how she has been given the opportunity to apply the learning from her NTU Psychology degree and to be innovative during her career placement with Bedfordshire Police. To have her achievements recognised with the Chief Officer’s commendation is a significant achievement for her and for her family.”

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    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2021 for cultural heritage science research. It is the second time that NTU has been bestowed the honour of receiving a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research, the first being in 2015 for leading-edge research on the safety and security of global citizens.

    The Research Excellence Framework (2021) classed 83% of NTU’s research activity as either world-leading or internationally excellent. 86% of NTU’s research impact was assessed to be either world-leading or internationally excellent.

    NTU was awarded The Times and The Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2023 and ranked second best university in the UK in the Uni Compare Top 100 rankings (2021/2022). It was awarded Outstanding Support for Students 2020 (Times Higher Education Awards), University of the Year 2019 (Guardian University Awards, UK Social Mobility Awards), Modern University of the Year 2018 (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide) and University of the Year 2017 (Times Higher Education Awards).

    NTU is the 5th largest UK institution by student numbers, with nearly 39,000 students and more than 4,400 staff located across five campuses. It has an international student population of 7,000 and an NTU community representing over 160 countries.

    Since 2000, NTU has invested £570 million in tools, technology, buildings and facilities.

    NTU is in the UK’s top 10 for number of applications and ranked first for accepted offers (2021 UCAS UG acceptance data). It is also among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was the first UK university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge.

    NTU is ranked 2nd most sustainable university in the world in the 2022 UI Green Metric University World Rankings (out of more than 900 participating universities).

Published on 22 March 2023
  • Category: Press office; School of Social Sciences