NTU 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, 21, 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.

She 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.”

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.

The student, originally from Hertfordshire, also sought support from senior officers within the force and promoted the stickers through targeted internal communications.

Two of the stickers Danielle designed (Credits: Nottingham Trent University)

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.

This included 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.

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.

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, said: “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.”

Lead image: Nottingham Trent University

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