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Personal profile


Iain works with the police and other public safety organisations to encourage, innovate and improve the engagement, experience and impact of volunteers. Many millions of people worldwide volunteer in policing and public safety. Iain is a leader nationally and internationally in developing this significant field of research, policy and practice.

In his current role as Senior Researcher with the Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice, Iain is active as a researcher, writer and speaker on police volunteering. He specialises in practical, applied consultancy and research projects with police and public safety organisations, and has delivered a large portfolio of projects working in police forces across England and Wales.

Iain sits as national academic advisor on the Citizen in Policing Strategic Board in England and Wales, also supporting and advising national policing portfolios relating to Special Constables, Police Support Volunteers, Employer Supported Policing, and Volunteer Police Cadets. He is also lead for evidence and international relationships for the Association of Special Constabulary Officers, sitting on their national council. Iain is also a founder and convenor of the International Research Network on Police Volunteering.

Iain has research interests in the strategic development of volunteering models, the leadership of volunteers, innovation and specialisation in volunteer programmes, diversity and inclusion, culture, retention, and understandings of ‘value’. He is interested in international comparative research and is involved in a growing number of collaborative relationships and joint projects in many countries (including the USA, Canada, Malaysia, and Japan).

Bringing an ecletic background of past roles in the probation service, youth justice, drugs treatment and policing, Iain is a former Chief Executive of the Northamptonshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. He has considerable managerial and executive experience in policing and across criminal justice, with a track record of innovation, community engagement and partnership working. His background in practitioner and leadership roles in policing and across criminal justice is atypical for academia, and roots his research in practical, real-life experience.

Iain is always enthusiastic to link up with police and public safety organisations who are ambitious and innovative in how they engage volunteers and who are committed to developing evidence-based approaches.

Research Interests

- Special Constables

- Auxiliary and reserve policing models

- Police Support Volunteers and Volunteers in Policing

- Volunteer Police Cadets and Mini Police

- Volunteers across public safety and criminal justice organisations

- Community Speedwatch

- Volunteer street patrols

- Crime prevention volunteers

- Neighbourhood Watch

- Street Pastors

Industry Connections

Iain travels widely working in police forces across England and Wales and has an extensive network of police volunteers and those who have roles in police forces to support and lead them. He also works closely with colleagues in the UK Home Office, College of Policing, the national Citizens in Policing portfolio, and the Association of Special Constabulary Officers.

External Roles

Academic advisor to the national Citizens in Policing portfolio, the national Special Constabulary portfolio, the national Police Support Volunteer portfolio, and the national project to develop Employer Supported Policing.

Lead evaluator for the Home Office Police Transformation Fund 'Transforming Citizens in Policing' programme (2017-2019)

Co-investigator for ESRC funded collaboration on Citizens in Policing between the UK and Japan (2019)

National lead for evidence-based practice and international relatonships, and national council member, for the Association of Special Constabulary Officers.

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Research Output 2016 2019

Analysis of Special Constabulary National Statistics: Briefing Paper 4

Britton, I., 1 Jan 2019, Northampton, 8 p.

Research output: Working Paper

Open Access

Attracting People to Join the Special Constabulary

Britton, I. & Knight, L., 21 Jun 2019, Citizens in Policing. 32 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report

Open Access

Employer Supported Policing: Impact Report 2019

Shelton, T. & Britton, I., 17 May 2019, Citizens in Policing. 36 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report

Open Access

Leading the Special Constabulary

Knight, L., Britton, I., Cahalin, K. & Borland-Jones, C., 26 Jun 2019, Citizens in Policing. 84 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report

Open Access
Open Access

National Evaluation of the Police Cadets

Callender, M., Cahalin, K., Moloney, D. & Britton, I., May 2019, IPSCJ. 84 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report

Open Access
youth group