Skip to main content

Police Service Modelling Associates (PSMA) Programme


The Police Service Modelling Associates (PSMA) Programme is a pilot programme working with Devon and Cornwall Police and other regional forces in Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset and the College of Policing. The programme supports analytical staff working in policing to undertake a modelling or data science project of importance for their organisation.

The PSMA Programme builds on the work of the hugely successful work of the Health Service Modelling Associates (HSMA) Programme. The HSMA Programme has led to huge impact for patients and NHS services across the region, including multi-million pound investments in new mental health services in Devon, support for additional stroke beds in Cornwall, and the establishment of a brand new Operational Research role at University Hospitals Plymouth.

Funded by the University of Exeter’s Policing Lab fund, the PSMA Programme involves PenARC staff working in collaboration with Devon and Cornwall Police to deliver the capacity building model developed for the HSMA Programme but applied to problems in policing.


- To pilot the HSMA programme model within the policing sector

- To expand the scope of capacity building to incorporate policing services that are an important part of the wider health and social care system

- To build awareness of and capacity to generate and use Operational Research and Data Science within policing in the region

- To enhance decision making and analytical power within regional police forces

- To learn which issues in policing might benefit from Operational Research and Data Science approaches

Project Activity

The programme is supporting 10 members of analytical staff from police forces in Devon and Cornwall, Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset, along with students from the College of Policing, to undertake modelling, simulation and data science projects that address questions of importance for their organisations. 

Associates are extensively trained in advanced Operational Research and Data Science methods, such as; Discrete Event Simulation for modelling processes and queues; programming in Python and R; Whole Systems Modelling; Agent Based Simulation; Forecasting; Network Analysis; Machine Learning and Neural Networks and using Artificial Intelligence-based Natural Language Processing techniques to extract information from free text records.

Associates are supported by a mentor - a modelling and data science expert from PenARC’s Operational Research team, PenCHORD - and a workplace supervisor. The mentor will provide advice and guidance throughout the project and the workplace supervisor - a senior member of the associate’s organisation -will facilitate the implementation of the project, ensuring that the work and newly developed skills of the PSMAs become knitted in to the routine analytical function of the organisation.

Anticipated Outputs

At the end of the programme, PSMAs will present their project work at a special event and have an opportunity to discuss the impact of their work and engagement with the programme for their organisation and its service users.

Next Steps

The programme begins on 28th January 2020 and runs until 30th October 2020.  At the end of April 2020, PSMAs will present pitches outlining proposed projects to take forward into the remainder of the programme.  Two projects will be selected to be undertaken, and the remaining PSMAs will be encouraged to join teams undertaking these projects.

Related Projects

The Health Service Modelling Associates Programme

Who is involved?

Executive Lead: Dr Iain lang

Project Lead: Dr Daniel Chalk

Research Manager: Sarah Carter

Who else is involved?

Dr Mike AllenDr Sean ManziMs Kerry PearnDr Andrew Salmon


Alexis Poole (Assistant Chief Officer – People, Devon and Cornwall Police)

Gavin Bardsley (Head of Performance and Analysis, Devon and Cornwall Police)

Avon and Somerset Police

Wiltshire Police

Dorset Police

College of Policing

University of Exeter Policing and Evidence Group

Upcoming Events


Searching and Review Clinic

Online appointments via Microsoft Teams

COVID-19 update: As a result of the pandemic, all PenARC staff are currently working remotely. While...
More information


PPI Advice Clinic

South Cloisters, St Luke's Campus, University of Exeter

Patient and Public Involvement Advice Clinics Held every month 30 minutes between 12pm-1pm Whatever your query, from finding...
More information


Research Projects

Understanding research priorities for young people with long term health conditions

Theme: ARC - Complex Care

A project to identify and describe, through patient and public involvement activities, the research needs of...
Read more

Getting Up Following a Fall

Theme: ARC - Complex Care

Although there is evidence that falls can be prevented, little attention has been paid to...
Read more

Research Projects