Post-PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act): Police and Policing in the South West

28 April 2016 Plymouth University

On behalf of the Law School at Plymouth University, the South West Police Heritage Trust, and the Institute of Contemporary British History, King’s College London, we would like to invite you to join the audience and participate in a witness seminar that will examine the impact of PACE (1984) on local policing and police-community relations. This is a particularly important initiative in which Plymouth University is taking a lead in establishing the witness seminar concept outside a metropolitan and central government focus. It will complement but extend an existing witness seminar organised by the ICBH with the Home Office on PACE. This is part of a research project led by Plymouth University into Everyday Offending in Plymouth, past and present.

The format for the witness sessions is that each witness will briefly (about 6-8 minutes) introduce themselves and comment on their understanding of the topic and its relevance. The session chair will then proceed to ask a number of questions to initiate a discussion which can highlight different perspectives and experiences. After a short break for refreshments, the session is then thrown open to the invited audience for comment or brief relevant testimony and for further questions to be asked, extending the discussion as a result. We very much hope that you will be amongst that invited audience, whose contributions (testimony, comments and questions) will form part of the transcript for the event. Thus the audience, and its contribution, are an integral and indeed a vital part of the witness seminar format. Your interests and experience are very relevant to this particular topic, and we very much hope that you will be free to attend.

We are working with the ICBH at King’s College London which regularly organises such witness seminars, which may be described as group interviews whose aim is to revisit key events, themes or issues in recent history through the recollections of those who were closely involved in them in some way. These seminars are recorded and transcribed. Transcripts are sent to all participants, including audience members, for their approval before publication. The approved text will be published and will also be made available via the SOLON website at Plymouth University ( and on the ICBH’s website at These witness seminars add a valuable dimension to historical and broader academic debates on their subjects and are an important resource for scholars and for policy-makers. It will be made available both through the ICBH website, and through the South West Police Heritage Trust which will have a link to the ICBH website.

The seminar is to be held in the Sherwell Centre at Plymouth University, commencing at 10am (session one)/2pm (session two). The intended timetable for the day is as follows:

9.30am:  Arrival and Registration

10.00-12.30pm: Session One – The Influence of PACE on Policing Practices and Institutional Culture

12.30-2.00pm: Lunch

2.00-4.30pm: Session Two – PACE and the Shape of Community Interactions with the Police 

We very much hope that you will be able to participate in this event as one of the audience, attending either for the whole day, ideally, or as part of the audience for only the morning or afternoon session.

If you would like clarification about the aims and format of the witness seminar, please contact Dr Judith Rowbotham (by email here) or by post to Professor Kim Stevenson, School of Law, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA.

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