Research Associate Vacancy

Legitimacy & Confidence in Policing Research Associate


Cumberland Lodge, an educational charity based near Windsor, seek to appoint a freelance Research Associate to support a forthcoming conference, ‘Legitimacy & Confidence in Policing’. This role will include researching and writing a pre-conference briefing document and a post-conference report summarising key recommendations for change. The successful candidate will also be required to participate in a residential cross-sector conference in Windsor Great Park, an online consultation, and a central London report launch. 


Policing is inherently controversial. The police possess unique powers to use lawful force and operate at the hard end of the relationship between the citizen and the state. British policing has tended to enjoy high levels of public confidence and the police service is rightly proud of a policing model characterised in the words of one author, as ‘low on power, low on numbers and high on accountability’. 

Nevertheless, in the last year alone there have been a number of events that have tested the relationship between the police and the public. The police have been asked to enforce unprecedented, highly restrictive, public health regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; called on to take meaningful action on racial inequality and discrimination, following the Black Lives Matter protests triggered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA; been strongly criticised (but then largely exonerated) for their handling of a vigil on Clapham Common for Sarah Everard, whose murder (by a serving police officer) sparked national debate about women’s safety and the adequacy of protection from gender violence and harassment; dealt with protests against the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill; and faced accusations of ongoing “institutional corruption” within its largest force for the way it engaged with the inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan. 

These events have taken place against a backdrop of longer running tensions and debates about the police use of stop and search, falling crime detection rates, the use of new technologies such as Automatic Facial Recognition, police treatment of those who report abuse, and of those against whom allegations are made, police station closures and reduced police visibility, and the ongoing Inquiry into the practices of undercover policing units. 

The conference and resulting report will explore how the legitimacy of, and public confidence in, the police service can be strengthened in the years ahead. 

Key duties

  • Preparing a briefing document (ca. 8,000 – 10,000 words) for conference participants. The briefing should offer expert analysis and a research summary. It should include a summary of current research and thinking around the issues to be addressed during the conference, including relevant statistics, an analysis of current policy, and a brief literature survey. The document should be referenced using endnotes. Clarity and accessibility of language are paramount. This document is intended for a range of (academic and non-academic) stakeholders and readers, with different levels of understanding. The deadline for delivery is 11 April; and to submit revisions as soon as possible thereafter (final submission 16 May).
  • Participating in our Cumberland Lodge conference, which takes place on 17–19 June 2022.
  • Preparing and producing a draft report from the conference (3,000–4,500 words). This document should summarise the key findings and analyses – themes rather than panels – and outline policy implications and further practical recommendations drawn from those discussions, for various stakeholders. The deadline for delivery is 18 July; and to submit revisions as soon as possible thereafter (final submission 15 August).
  • Participating in a follow-up expert consultation (20 September) online to review and refine the key findings and recommendations in this draft report. You will also be required to make revisions to the report, in response. 
  • Compiling a final Cumberland Lodge Report (ca. 15,000-20,000 words), by combining the initial pre-conference briefing with the post-conference analysis. This report should include an executive summary (ca. 800-900 words), outlining key themes, findings and recommendations. The deadline for delivery is 10 October; to submit revisions as soon as possible thereafter (final submission on 24 October).
  • Liaising with the Programme Team and external copy-editor throughout the proof-reading process of the Cumberland Lodge Report.
  • Attending a subsequent report launch in central London (November, date tbc), at which you will be asked to sit on the panel and introduce key findings and recommendations briefly. 

Person specification

The opportunity is for a motivated PhD student, early-career academic or an aspiring researcher educated to degree level, with a passion for the work we do, and a deep understanding of policing practice in the UK, and in particular, legitimacy and public confidence in policing (see ‘background’ above). A strong conviction for the role that dialogue and collaboration can play in influencing and shaping policy, practice and opportunities for change is essential. You will have strong communication skills in written and spoken English, for academic and non-academic audiences and experience producing high quality, impactful publications. Previous experience of public engagement and speaking in public is desirable.

Further details

The successful applicant will work for us off-site and on a freelance basis, under the supervision of the Cumberland Lodge Programme Team. Key contacts will be: Gareth Powell (Programme Manager) and Emily Gow (Programme Officer). 

In addition to the fixed fee for this work, Cumberland Lodge will pay standard-rate travel expenses to attend the conference and report launch, and provide food and accommodation at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park, when required.

A Heads of Agreement will be provided upon appointment and can be discussed with the Research Associate beforehand.

How to apply

Further information about Cumberland Lodge is available at

To apply, send a covering letter (making reference to how your skills and experience match this job description), CV and 1,500 word writing sample to Please also contact Emily Gow, Programme Officer, on this email with further questions about this opportunity.

The deadline for applications is 9am, Wednesday 26 January. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interviews, via Teams. The successful applicant will start upon appointment.

Project dates: February (or upon appointment) to December 2022

Pay:  £3,000.00 inclusive of VAT (paid in five equal instalments)


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