Skip to main content

Research and Projects

Police Service Modelling Associates (PSMA) Programme

Who is involved?

Theme: ARC - Methods for Research & Improvement
Status: Live


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


News Stories

Pioneering scheme to support evidence-based policing launches

Operational Research to help improve patients’ experience of mental health services in the South West


Others Involved

Dr Mike Allen, Dr Sean Manzi, Ms Kerry Pearn, Dr 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