An interview with Dr David Walsh
What is your role within the Institute?
“I’m the Lead for Research which means that it’s my job to encourage staff to undertake applied research that makes a real impact on the world. I develop the research strategy, support and encourage research efforts, and look to form associations with external partners.
“I believe that universities must be knowledge constructors, not just knowledge dispensers. This is what separates us from the further education sector. We can then bring this new knowledge into the classroom so that the people we teach benefit and learn something that they wouldn’t get elsewhere.
"Research and the publication of external peer-reviewed material is also vital because it’s how we test our own ideas and thinking.”
What is your professional background and experience?
“Before becoming an academic, I spent over 20 years working in government departments: first as an investigator, then as a trainer of investigators, and finally, as a manager of investigation teams.
“While I was working I did some part-time teaching but I began my full-time career in lecturing at the University of Derby in 2006.”
What have been your key successes or achievements in the field of policing?
“My area of expertise is helping police and non-police investigators use new techniques to interview victims, witnesses and suspects.
"My research in this field has expanded my knowledge so I’ve been able to introduce new ideas and approaches that have improved the task of interviewing in this country and abroad.
“Through this work, I’ve helped to raise the profile of the University of Derby internationally: only last week, some academics came over from Slovenia and Indonesia to talk to me.
"I’ve also been asked to do training for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and for the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (part of the UK Government). Last month I was in Philadelphia in the US delivering a session for their police force. Furthermore, my work has been translated into training for detectives in countries as diverse as Norway and China.”
What do you think are the greatest challenges and opportunities facing international policing today?
“The increasing pressure to ensure policing is carried out with openness, democracy and with respect for international standards of human rights will be a big challenge; not only for developing countries with relatively new police forces, but for more established countries also.
“For example, the 2008 European Court directive, which made it mandatory for suspects to see a legal representative before the police can question them, has not yet been adopted by all the nations in the European Economic Area (EEA).”
How do you think the Institute and its partners can benefit from working together?
“The Institute will bring together a range of individuals and organisations so that we can discuss these challenges in an open forum and try to develop a new era of policing.
"Through our research, we can address questions as fundamental as: ‘Do we need a police force in the UK?’ Building on our existing track record, we hope to lead the debate around policing on a national and international scale.”