Dr. Susanne Knabe-Nicol is a police psychologist in the UK. She is a lecturer at Middlesex University in London and the founder of the Poice Science Dr.
She worked in policing for 10 years and has focused on translating research into digestible articles and videos so that the policing profession can make use of existing research, which is normally written in a dense manner.
Synthesizing concepts, ideas and findings is her passion, allowing for potential utilization for police services. Susanne often provides training programs, utilizing podcast and video streaming approaches.
We talked about the state of policing today, the value of research and areas to look for improvement.
[00:00:02.710] - Intro
Welcome to The CopDoc Podcast. This podcast explores police leadership issues and innovative ideas. The CopDoc shares thoughts and ideas as he talks with leaders in policing communities, academia and other government agencies. And now please join Dr. Steve Morreale and industry thought leaders as they share their insights and experience on The CopDoc Podcast.
[00:00:32.270] - Steve Morreale
Well, hello again, everybody. Steve Morreale here from Boston and we're beginning another episode today. We're talking in the morning here in Boston and in the afternoon in the UK to Dr. Suzanne say it your way, the right way.
[00:00:49.400] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Susanne Knabe Nicol.
[00:00:51.060] - Steve Morreale
Thank you so thank you for joining. You are holding yourself to be the police science doctor. You do a podcast, you're doing trainings. It drew my attention every time you were talking about bringing science into the practice of policing and especially with the approach to interviewing and such. So, Suzanne, begin to tell us how you got involved in the police side. I know that you've worked in a couple of places, Norfolk Constabulary, Suffolk Constabulary. You're now at Middlesex University as a lecturer, and you've done some other things. Tell us about your background and what drew you to the police side of things.
[00:01:22.470] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
It sort of started, I guess, with me having developed an interest in forensic psychology when I was doing my undergraduate psychology. I think you guys call it a major. We have a bachelor's degree, then we have a master's degree. So I did generically psychology as my undergraduates, but it did become interested in forensic psychology. And it was only years later that it actually did a master's in investigative psychology. And I did that's one year. I did that full time and then started working in policing in the number of civilian police roles. I actually had one before I started the Masters. And then whilst I was working full time for the police, I also studied part time for a PhD. And my PhD was mainly on things like offender profiling. But there was also some suspect interviewing involved. And as a student, you've got the University's subscription access to all the scientific journals that come out. And you have to work through this. You have to do your own research to be able to do your own studies. And I found it quite fascinating that a lot of information was being published and shared by academics and researchers on really relevant topics.
[00:02:20.250] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
How best to interview suspects, how to do X, how to do Y, how best to do this. But the practitioners weren't told about that. I was reading about it because I was studying. But the people I was working with, I mean, one of my jobs was interviewing suspects as an investigator in the Custody Investigation Unit. Nobody was telling these guys what the latest research was on how best to interview. They had their training, hopefully not all of them at one point when they started the job and then perhaps no further inputs thereafter. So I thought there was a big disconnect between what researchers know, and they're basically sharing the information with other researchers and students. It doesn't get to the practitioner. And that's just not right. We don't have that in medicine. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but the general practitioner, as we call them, I think you call them family doctors.
[00:02:58.850] - Steve Morreale
[00:02:59.170] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
I think they may have some set aside some certain amount of time per week or per month to actually go through the latest research findings and the guidance on what medical practitioners should be doing. I think it's updated a lot more regularly than for police practitioners. We really can't say that everything we do in policing is based on evidence and is based on what has been found to work the best. And I just don't think that's right. And many other people don't think that's right. And that's why we've got societies of evidence-based policing in a number of countries, and we've got a lot of people doing a lot of great work. But there's just not an easy enough transition from knowledge from the fields of academia in criminology, investigative psychology, forensic psychology, policing research to the actual practitioners on the ground, the people who do the policing either as civilians, as analysts, as investigators, or police officers. And I tried to fill that gap.
[00:03:44.710] - Steve Morreale
So understanding. I'm going to play Devil's advocate for a moment, and I've been in policing for a long time. I'm an academic scholar now as a second career. But I can tell you so many people say that stuff that's written by the academics is so dense, it's so hard to read. It's so over my head, it doesn't matter. And by the way, what do they know about what I do? So there's that instant friction and almost distrust and disdain. And it sounds like one of the things you're doing is using your understanding of the scientific method and of research and synthesizing it in words and concepts that can be easily interpreted and understood by police. Is that fair?
[00:04:24.080] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Correct. Yeah. So I basically do that as in the form of videos. And everything that I do as a video also comes out as a podcast where I just strip the video out and I've got my police sign snippets in which I share three bits of research every week. But you made two points there. So the first point was that academic writing is written in such a way that people don't understand it. And that's completely true. It's written in horrible ways, and much of it is really boring to read and difficult to understand, even for other academics.
[00:04:52.010] - Steve Morreale
I don't mean to cut you off. It's easy to read if you want to fall asleep, right, Susanne?
[00:04:56.240] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Yes. It's easy to read. Hard to understand.
[00:04:59.590] - Steve Morreale
[00:05:00.060] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
So that's completely true. And I can't defend that. That's just how academics write, and that's how I guess they expect it to write when they want to get published. And I keep pulling up my students for not writing formally enough. They're writing too much like they would speak. So I'm contributing to the problem. Anyway, the second point you made is the distrust between practitioners and academics. And that is also a valid point. But there are quite a few academics who do a lot of work on the ground with police. I mean, for example, my University Professor, Professor Lawrence Allison MBE, he's got some kind of Royal title now, actually, he works with policing a lot. And everything that he does, all the research he does is actually in a field based research. And he has been training police for years and years now. So he works very closely with policing. And he has earned the respect because he's definitely applied. Whereas some other academics, if they never leave the University and actually work with policing, that might then the criticism of what do they know might be more relevant. But again, they might be basing all their research on other studies that have been actually done in conjunction with policing.
[00:05:57.950] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
So I understand that the distrust is there. It's not necessarily justified. But yes, we do need more research done within policing. But then policing is, like you say, quite suspicious of everything, not very happy to share data. It's not always easy to actually set up any research within policing.
[00:06:12.060] - Steve Morreale
That's interesting. I think when I use the word trust, it may be a lack of understanding and that many police officers span both sides of the pond are a little bit confused by some of the things. And I think the move towards evidence-based policing and I know that you had a stent at Cambridge, where the society is that where the society is of evidence based policing held or a center there's this Cambridge Center of evidence based policing that I worked at here. Talk about that. Talk about your understanding of where Cambridge, the UK and even the US, where we have the American Society of Evidence-based Policing. Talk about what you think a small number of people is trying to generate and trying to move towards policing, making decisions that are based on evidence, not on anecdote well.
[00:06:54.720] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
It always starts with small numbers, doesn't it? I mean, the field of evidence-based policing was, you could say, founded by Professor Lawrence Sherman, who is actually an American. He has been living in the UK for I think, a few decades now. And he runs the Cambridge Center for Evidence Based Policing. He also works at Cambridge University, and he has been teaching on a master's program for police leaders there for quite a while now. That's pretty amazing, because the people who come to do this master's course coming from all over the world, and they do their studies, they do a research project as part of their studies, and then they go back into their home force and they become an even higher police leader, but they have been infused in the knowledge and understanding of evidence-based policing. So even though there are relatively small numbers, they hopefully have managed to have a great effect and impact than in policing when they go back. So it always starts out small. It was actually one of the graduates of that Ms. It's called an MST Master's in teaching at Cambridge who founded the first Society of Evidence-Based Policing, Alex Murray.
[00:07:47.630] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
He's a commander in the Met now. And as you say, we have the Canadian Society of Evidence Based Policing in the American society and Australian and New Zealand Society of Evidence Based Policing. They're each holding conferences every year and sharing papers and keeping their members informed. So that's fantastic work going on there, but a lot more still needs to be done. And I guess just going back to the same point we made earlier, that whilst it's great to share that knowledge, I guess the bit that I add to the whole thing is that I tend to communicate these things in a way that I think are really absorbable by practitioners. You don't need to have a subscription to a Journal, you don't need to have studied the concept or the field at all. Because I think I explain it pretty clearly in my videos. I have these explainer videos, teaching videos, and I interview a lot of people like you do, who are subject matter experts and have something to add. So hopefully I'm removing the barrier of something being very dense and convoluted, and I can't help but being a pretty strange talker, I use as few words as I need to and to get the point across.
[00:08:41.770] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
And I think that works because practitioners don't have time for a lot of unnecessary words.
[00:08:45.790] - Steve Morreale
One of the things I'm trying to begin to teach my students is not to write as densely, but to understand how to write executive summaries. But always find as you would in your teaching, always have them have supporting literature in that so that people can go and find that. But let's talk about this. It sounds to me, in watching what you do, I actually took a list of the things that you have covered in the past. It sounds to me like you're trying to turn research into practice and as you say, bring it down to easier terms, synthesized terms. What made you do that? And when you got started, what helped you gain traction? Here you are, the long voice. Think about that, because I feel that way as a podcaster sometimes, but you start out with the loan voice and you get traction over time. What's your experience in terms of podcasting and video casting and doing some training videos?
[00:09:35.590] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
I guess there's two things that contributed to my doing that or the way I do that. One was, like I mentioned earlier, the sheer lack of this already being in existence. It just wasn't happening. And the other thing is there's a website called Nutritionfacts.org, and as a Dr Michael Greger, it's all about nutrition, but it's evidence-based nutrition. And he talks about a specific topic and he records a short video about it, basically showing extracts of text from various research articles, which I think is already a lot more comprehensible than people reading things themselves. So I thought that was quite good. And I did mention, I do remember mentioning it. I'd worked with some superiors that, shouldn't we do that? Shouldn't we go through research and make these short video snippets of something that has been found? And I've never got it done at work. But then I started my own website as soon as I finished my PhD. I am the kind of person who needs to be working on something. I feel a calling to be doing something with my time more than sitting around and enjoying myself. So I started working on something else straight away and that just turned out to be my website.
[00:10:31.820] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
And fortunately, there are a lot of people who do have a great interest in it. So I contacted Alex Murray that I mentioned earlier, who founded the first Society of Evidence Based Policing and said, look, can I come to your next conference and can I interview some of your speakers? And then I can create videos from that and you're happy to use these videos if you want. And he was very open to that because nobody else was offering to do that. And I'm also pretty well connected through my studies at Liverpool University and my professor, who was my supervisor there, because he knows some very influential people. And if there's something that I can do that benefits the field of investor psychology, evidence based policing or these areas in general, people are quite open to that, because I've got the necessary academic background to understand what they're working on. I also have the background of work, having worked in policing, in practical policing for over ten years, myself as a civilian, and I've got the media knowledge to turn these things into videos, interactive videos, podcasts, quizzes, all kinds of things. And I've set up the Police Science Doctor Academy, where I work with subject matter experts to put their courses online.
[00:11:30.870] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
And I want that to grow in such a way that will be the go to place for someone to have to do an online course delivered by an expert on any specific topic that we've got on there so far.
[00:11:40.470] - Steve Morreale
So we're talking to Police science. Doctor Susanne Knabe - I'm going to have problems with this.
[00:11:46.730] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
You're not the only one
[00:11:47.830] - Steve Morreale
We're talking to Dr. Susanne in the UK. Suzanne, where are you getting traction beyond the UK?
[00:11:53.100] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
So last year I did actually ran a few online conferences. I want to do that again this year. And that was the best way for me to see where people are logging in from, because it was the rapid-fire conference on behavioral science and policing and then investigative interviewing. And I always ask people to just comment because I was broadcasting live on LinkedIn and YouTube and Facebook or Twitter, and people tell me where they're from and they're from a large number of countries, everything I published in English. So obviously that limits it to an extent, but probably limits it a lot less than if I publish it in a different language. But I guess the main audiences are probably UK and North America, but there are a lot of other countries that I have been very interested. And I get emails and I've got email subscribers and they email me just saying that they find these snippets really useful that I send out or they've been to this or they've been to that. And so it's really good to see that there's such a large number of international people who are interested in what I do, because like we said, I listed the societies of evidence-based policing earlier.
[00:12:45.630] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
There are English speaking countries at the moment. Obviously, we're hoping that there'll be more in the future, but at the moment it's still quite limited and more needs to be done in all of these fields. So it is an international audience that it does reach people internationally, but yes, definitely mainly English speaking based.
[00:13:01.440] - Steve Morreale
That's good. So I'm curious, how do we identify the questions of the future, the questions that need to be answered? And I know an awful lot of people. I'm actually headed to Las Vegas, to the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and I'll hear from an awful lot of different people and panels that are doing research, but again, sometimes it's only used the word incestuous. In other words, we're only talking with ourselves. I think it's so important to bring practitioners into this. What do you think is the future of policing? Where does policing have to begin to focus to get back its trust, gain back its trust?
[00:13:36.590] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
So if you're again, two different questions. One is about the future, the other one is about trust specifically. So in terms of trust, I think we really need to look at police legitimacy more. And there is some great research that has come out. I think there are four points about police legitimacy. How well do you explain approach? Let's say you're stopping and searching someone or stopping and frisking? I think in America you can do it in a way that is much more likely to gain their compliance and you can do it in a way that is much more likely to get a hostile or defensive reaction. It can be influenced to a large extent by the officer doing it. Not in all cases. There are some people who are going to complain no matter how you do it. I wouldn't become hostile if I was getting stopped, even if I thought the officer wasn't doing it very well. And some people will become hostile no matter how they're being dealt with. But if you're involved in them in the process, if you're explaining things, if you're treating them with respect, which you should always do anyway, and if you're explaining well the greater context of why this is being done, you're much more likely to make this as little unpleasant and experienced as possible for either side.
[00:14:32.540] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
No police officers out to hopefully no police officers out to upset anyone and to abuse their power. Some do, but there'll be a minute minority. I would hope so. It's better for everyone involved if the police deal with the public in a way that shows a lot of compassion, respect and emotional intelligence. So that's the other question you ask is about future of policing. I think it needs to be based a lot more on evidence, and it needs to emphasize the soft skills, a lot more emotional intelligence, how to deal with people, how to deal with people in crisis, because most things that police deal with nowadays, they're not necessarily crime related. It's about mental health, it's about interpersonal conflict. It's about personal crises. And they're always encountering people in crisis one of the worst moments in their lives. You can't just go in all guns blazing, but we're still making policing look as it's all about blue lights and handcuffing people and throwing them into the backs of bands, when really it's about being much more of a listener and almost more like a social worker and a crisis negotiator. And we need to start recruiting for those skills a lot more than we are doing now.
[00:15:29.780] - Steve Morreale
Well, policing is about relationships, in my view. And I think if you don't know the people you are policing because you're running from call to call or you're being moved from one sector to another, then it breaks down the opportunity for those relationships. But I'm curious, there are so many things. One of the things I'm starting to do some work on is social political risk. And I think at the top, when you're talking about command staff, they're far more apt to be engaged or involved in some political discussions, but sometimes political interference as opposed to the street officer, the beat officer. But I do believe even in the UK, you see that one of the main players just resigned. One of the players in Canada, in Ottawa, where the caravan was, the Freedom Caravan, just resigned. I just talked to Carmen Best, who basically the politicians, while she was the chief in Seattle, with all that was going on last year, said you've got to trim out your budget. You need to lay off 400 or 500 police officers. And she started a conviction, said, I'm not doing that, I'm not doing it. I walked away.
[00:16:28.880] - Steve Morreale
So there's some real friction between politics or the political spectrum and the police chief. Are you seeing that? I think you saw it right in London recently. What's your thoughts on that?
[00:16:38.500] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
I think it's always a big problem that we have with politics is that it's based on votes, and votes are you need to please the public, you need to please the more basically, and as soon as that is your main criterion, that is a big problem, because policing is not about pleasing people. Policing is about keeping people safe from each other and from themselves. And it's one of the very few jobs where it's almost in the definition of policing that you're going to have to do something as a police officer or police member of staff that is going to upset someone in most other professions, be it a health worker being someone who fixes things. In theory, nobody needs to get upset. But with policing, it's always about intervening with something that somebody does. So somebody is always going to be upset. So you can't please everyone. You can be hyper vigilant and really careful, and people are going to complain about their liberties being compromised. You can be very lax and you can be very hands off. And people are saying, well, there's not enough policing being done. So it's very difficult to strike a balance.
[00:17:42.080] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
And policing is unique as the profession because of what I said, that somebody is going to get upset if there is police action, most likely in most cases, and you don't have that many other professions. And also what is unique to policing is that for some reason, policing is always seen as one entity. I've heard that. I think it's a 250,000 Americans die every year because of mistakes made by doctors in America that are completely avoidable. But I haven't seen any massive protests or uproar against the medical profession because of it. But we have one person making very bad decisions on an arrest with George Ford, obviously, I'm referring to. And that completely went wrong. And it was wrong. What happened? Absolutely. But that sparked worldwide protests and people were becoming hostile towards police officers who had nothing to do with the police officer that caused all this. That caused the situation. And then George Floyd died. Now, that is quite, quite interesting. How come that policing is seen as one entity and not as the millions of different individuals that they are? Whereas other professions, like healthcare Dr. Harold Shipman was a serial killer in the UK who killed, I think, over 100 people, but nobody distrusts their doctor because of it.
[00:19:05.890] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
But we distrust the police when a police officer somewhere around the world does something wrong. So that's very difficult for police to handle. And then again, policing is one of the fewer professions where you go out and risk your own life, especially in the US. I mean, you guys have a lot more guns on the streets than we do. We don't even arm our police officers. Generally. You risk your life to protect other people, and yet you're being shunned and verbally abused by those other people. And you still have to go out. And that takes such a level of commitment. Again, it's just policing really works and handled very differently to many other jobs that I can think of.
[00:19:45.220] - Steve Morreale
Yeah, I have to agree with you, because in the same vein as you're talking about medical doctors and the mistakes that they make and the behavior of some of them, I'll give you an example. Just happened in Boston, where Mass General, which is one of our Premier hospitals, was just fine, severely because surgeons, highly regarded surgeons, were involved in three to four surgeries at the same time, can't be in four different places and they were in different rooms and people were being hurt and being built. And so there's an issue. But again, we're not saying I'm not having surgery because I can't trust the doctor that way. But we have bad lawyers, we have bad teachers, we have bad professors, we have bad politicians, and we do not throw the baby out with the bathwater to say not all of them, unfortunately, with policing, I don't know why it is. I suppose it's because of the authority that is granted in policing, but I think very often they're painted with, as you just said, this broad and toxic brush that one person did this, therefore everyone did this. There's this generalization. I want to run down the list of some of the things that you have been involved in and focused your work on.
[00:20:59.920] - Steve Morreale
Investigative interviews, academics versus training, police versus academics or academia, crime analysis, spatial behavior of criminals, the psychology of influence, urban youth violence, mental health and policing. The chief science advisor. So where are you headed next and how are you picking up these particular topics? I know I ask compound questions. I know what you're going to say because you split them apart.
[00:21:35.710] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Well, not on this occasion. So one of the things I'm planning to do this year, as I mentioned earlier, is to do more conferences. I've got three potential topics of conferences in mind. At the moment. None of them are confirmed. So there may be three rapid fire conferences this year, one on crime analysis, one on interpersonal competence in policing. And that's how police DEA with people, but also with themselves and their relationships. I did an interesting interview with Dr. Olivia Johnson a few weeks ago. She's from Illinois, and she confirmed that basically the top reason that the top thing that can lead to suicide and police officers is problems with the relationships with their spouse. And whilst men especially don't like talking about relationships, if that's one of the most contributing killers, most of them contributing reasons to their suicide, I think we need to talk about it. And interpersonal competence is not just about your personal relationship, but again, we talked about how we need to speak to people a lot better in policing. So that might be a conference topic and then potentially evidence-based policing as well. So these are three events that I may be holding this year in terms of how I choose the topics.
[00:22:56.530] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Sometimes I come across potential speakers. I see something on LinkedIn, or I read about something. I know someone where I think I want to share what they are saying more widely and then ask to interview them like you did with me. And I do that interview, or I do these explainer videos. I haven't done them for a while because they take a lot of time. In terms of the police sign snippets, I publish every Tuesday. So these are actual pieces of research that I think can be used by Frontline almost straight away. That really depends on what's been published. So I get these email alerts by various relevant journals, and I just scan through them and see if the title is interesting. And I look at the abstract and if there's a piece of knowledge that I think might be useful, I use that. So it's a number of ways that I'm sort of guided by what's there and what I think people want to hear about and what I can get information from.
[00:23:53.530] - Steve Morreale
What about your relationship with some of the police? Not so much of the agencies, but people who are working in policing. Are you in constant contact with them? Obviously, you're doing interviews and such. What is the relationship there?
[00:24:08.170] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Yeah. So I work with the Society of Evidence Based Policing. I'm part of the media team and I've been helping them with their conferences for the last three years. And that is really interesting because I think they do some amazing stuff. And again, I can just use some of my media knowledge, my media software to help, and I do that very gladly. And through them, I'm also connected with some of the other societies of evidence-based policing around the world, and some really amazing work is being done there. I'm a member of the International Police Association, and I'm in contact with someone with regards to potentially starting an online platform for IPA members to exchange knowledge and tips on training and to have some online place where they can all meet and interact, because as the name says, it's a very international group. And I work with my former Professor, Professor Lawrence Allison. He's got the Ground Truth website and he does a very high impact training on interviewing suspects, for example, or child sexual abuse research. And I'm helping them turn some of their findings and research, again, translating that into something more visual, something more digestible.
[00:25:18.290] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
So I work with a number of organizations, and I'm also going to be working with Badge of Life in the US, which is in police. Wellbeing, organization is a charity, not for profit. And yes, there's a lot of interesting people and organizations to work with, and I'm always happy to do that.
[00:25:42.270] - Steve Morreale
So tell me about the concept of your rapid-fire conferences. What does that mean? What will people get how do we make them understand what that means when you do a rapid-fire conference?
[00:25:54.140] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Yeah. So that's all about being able to get high-impact learning. So some conferences you go to and you listen to 1 hour talk on something and it becomes really boring. And basically, the way I teach and the way I do my conferences is how I would like to be taught or how I would like to be served as a delegate. So I switch off if I'm listening to something that becomes boring. The rapid-fire conference concept is basically, first of all, it's all online. Secondly, rather than having 1 hour talks by the speakers, I always ask them to send me to record a ten-minute training session. So it's not about the theory, it's not about anything abstract. I want them to teach something in ten minutes. Those videos that I then get are usually longer, maybe 20 minutes, 25, but it doesn't matter. It's still hard hitting and high impact in a short space of time. And then the conference is a live online event that I stream live and they've all been free. And then I play that training video and I also summarize it and I transcribe all the training videos and then you can get it as an e book.
[00:26:52.100] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
So I try to make it as easy as possible for that knowledge to be absorbed in your brain. And that's been really popular and I've enjoyed doing them, but obviously a lot of work.
[00:26:59.560] - Steve Morreale
I was just going to say, that is an awful lot of work on your shoulders. What do you do to just get away? What are the things? What are your hobbies?
[00:27:07.410] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
I like martial arts.
[00:27:08.930] - Steve Morreale
Do you? Great.
[00:27:09.720] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Yeah, I've started kickboxing again. I've done karate in the past and some other bits. I like that. I like hiking, holidays, seeing nature. I like kayaking, not Whitewater rafting, that's too much adrenaline. But I enjoy the landscape whilst doing it. So obviously covet has been bad, most of these activities really, but we started to come out of these lockdowns and I think they want to lift all restrictions here very soon, which is a little bit scary, but the weather is picking up again, so more of these will be able to be done again soon.
[00:27:37.040] - Steve Morreale
What drew you to Liverpool?
[00:27:38.180] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
It was just the course, just the Masters that the first Masters in investment psychology. It was actually set up there by Professor David Kanter, who is the father of investment psychology, you could say. And whilst he wasn't teaching my course, it was Professor Lawrence Allison that was teaching it. But I was attracted to the fact that it was not just forensic psychology, but investigative psychology. And these two fields are different. So forensic psychologists, they mainly work with offenders in secure institutions. They work with them after they've been convicted and they help at court and give assessments and give a professional opinion. They do sometimes get involved in investigations as advisers because they have the most exposure to these offenders and to their way of thinking. But I find investigative psychology a bit more interesting, even personally, because it uses psychology of mainly suspects, but also witnesses and victims to see how they can support the investigative process. How can we interview witnesses, victims and suspects better? How can we do this better? How can we make crime analysis better? How can we do geographic profiling? I find it very interesting because all of crime is psychology, all of policing is psychology.
[00:28:40.560] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
And people don't usually realize that. But everything is a decision that somebody made when it comes to crime. It's usually the offender who made that decision. Okay, so how can we understand this? How can we use this understanding to help the investigators in this case? And I find that very interesting.
[00:28:53.010] - Steve Morreale
That's great stuff.
[00:28:53.790] - Steve Morreale
So how do people find you?
[00:28:55.520] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Just go to policesciencedoctor.com or just Google Police Science? I'll come up on this on the first page. Now, though, the website itself is polic.com. You put that in, you'll find me anymore. You put my name in, which you won't because you don't know what it sounds like, how it's written, unless you're seeing the title of this podcast. But yeah, Police Science. Just Google that or Police Science Doctor, and you'll find all my stuff there.
[00:29:15.340] - Steve Morreale
And what's in the future for you?
[00:29:17.400] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Good question. So I started Lecturing, as you mentioned, at Middlesex University in London in September, and so I'm still a new lecturer. I'm doing my teaching qualification there and I want to start also publishing some academic articles once. Now that I've got more of the marking out of the way, I can start focusing on that a little bit. I'd like to work with police agencies and set up research projects to create new research because I still need to publish some work from my PhD that I haven't even published yet. So it's going to be research publishing, but definitely carry on with the website. More online events, more courses by experts on the Police Science Doctor Academy. Just carry on with what I'm doing.
[00:29:52.140] - Steve Morreale
So I just want people to know, actually, the way I found you was on LinkedIn, and that's certainly a great vehicle for you. What other social media sites are you using? I know that you're using YouTube. What else?
[00:30:03.590] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
I'm also on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram as Police Science Doctor.
[00:30:07.150] - Steve Morreale
Great. Do you have any hope for the future of policing?
[00:30:09.260] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Yes, we have more and more people with the right mindset going in. I think we are already crunching a more diverse section of the population. We've got some direct entry programs and quite interested to see how that all pans out because that's relatively recent, so I don't have any data on that yet. But policing is becoming better and I'm really pleased that UK policing is a frontrunner when it comes to being based on science. And so there's a lot of exciting things coming up.
[00:30:31.930] - Steve Morreale
If you had a chance to talk to somebody dead or alive, who is inspirational to you, who would you want to talk to? Who would you want to pick the brain of?
[00:30:41.510] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
That is something that requires an intellectually sounding answer.
[00:30:44.840] - Steve Morreale
[00:30:47.570] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
I don't know. The first person that comes to mind, someone that I admire, but for very different reasons, is Jackie Chan. I think the guy is great but has nothing to do with policing. I don't know if I can.
[00:30:56.110] - Steve Morreale
Why? Let's talk. Why would you pick him?
[00:30:57.690] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
So he was very good at taking something that, again, was quite serious, like martial arts, and made it fun and made it interesting to the public more generally. I'm not saying there's a direct parallel to what I'm doing in there, but I just think it's great that he does that. And like I said, I love martial arts and he does it really well. And it's so impressive that he does all the stunts himself or did could never get health insurance because he was just damaging himself far too much. Not saying that's a great thing, but it's a very impressive thing and I just think the man is pretty impressive.
[00:31:25.630] - Steve Morreale
Well, we've been talking in the UK with Dr. Susanne Nicole and she is the police science doctor, and you can find her on YouTube. You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook. I strongly suggest that you listen in either by video or podcast afterwards, because it can be very valuable. And one of the things I think, Susanne, you're going to have the last word. Why do you feel that understanding research, synthesizing research, translating research is important for the future of policing.
[00:31:54.850] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Because it's a no brainer. That's where the knowledge is. And every police officer can build up their own experience of policing. But we should share what works best. We should find out what works and we should tell everyone else about it so that we can just become better at policing.
[00:32:08.350] - Steve Morreale
As a fellow researcher, I'll leave you with one question too. Quantitative or qualitative or mixed methods?
[00:32:13.760] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Mixed methods. Why I always visualize quantitative is you've got a large Lake of a lot of different data points, but the only 1 CM deep. They can tell you what's going on, but you don't know why what is going on. Whereas qualitative is where you've got maybe something that's only 2 CM wide, but it can go 2 km deep. If you really want to understand something, why things are the way they are and why all these data points and quantitative methods the way they are, you need to sort of look into the qualitative and actually speak to people and look into their history, look into the ecology of whatever it is we're looking at. And I think I know that many journals are a little bit snobbish towards qualitative work, right? Yeah. Because they think that's based on a handful of people Well, yes, but we're trying to understand what's going on here whereas you're just dealing with anonymous data points and they are very informative and we need them but sometimes we just need the depth and the understanding as well.
[00:33:04.150] - Steve Morreale
I'm glad I asked that question because that was very well described. That really makes it very clear and that is why you are good at what you do that you take big pieces of complex issues and synthesize it and break it down to understandable terms. I'm so happy to talk with you. Thank you so much, Susanne. I really appreciate it. Thanks for being here.
[00:33:21.510] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Thank you so much for having me on.
[00:33:22.810] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
So you've been listening to the Copyright podcast Steve Morreale and Dr. Susanne. I know I screw your name up but you say it
[00:33:30.380] - Susanne Knabe Nicol
Susanne Knabe Nicol.
[00:33:31.740] - Steve Morreale
There you go, Nicole over in the UK so thank you everybody for listening. I look forward to other episodes. Hearing from you is amazing. We appreciate it and I'm always interested in talking with you so reach out to me copdoc. firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks very much. See you on another episode.
[00:33:51.110] - Outro
Thanks for listening to The CopDoc Podcast with Dr. Steve Morreale. Steve is a retired law enforcement practitioner and manager turned academic and scholar from Worcester State University. Please tune into The CopDoc Podcast for regular episodes of interviews with thought leaders in policing.