Institute of Criminal Justice Studies

Case Studies

Izzey Read, BSc Criminology and Forensic Studies

Izzey Read undertook a work placement with Hampshire Scientific Services as part of our partnership with Hampshire Constabulary.  During her placement, as she settled in so well, HSS identified some paid working hours for her, enabling her to give up her part time supermarket job and replace it with something more relevant to her. She used this work to complete her final year major project, and has secured a post graduate job at the QA hospital in their blood sciences department. Izzey writes: "The project I was assigned whilst on placement involved trialling a streamlined process alongside an existing procedure for basic drug extraction. As a result of the project work, the laboratory adopted the more time efficient technique. Having completed extensive analytical work for the project, I was able to use the large data set produced to complete a major project for the dissertation element of my course. The methodology, results and discussion sections were replaced with a 5000 word journal article, a structure which better suited my writing style." Read more:

Matt Hodgkinson, BSc Criminology with Psychology

Fraud Analyst, Barclaycard

It has not been long since I left university, but I’m already getting used to working life. I managed to complete a two week training course in the space of a week, before being allowed to work alone. University definitely prepared me for working life. It taught me so much about myself and gave me the independence needed in order to adapt.

In my final year of university I was provided with the opportunity to gain two qualifications – these were Accredited Counter-Fraud Technician (ACFTech) and Accredited Counter-Fraud Specialist (ACFS). This was extremely beneficial to me as it increased my knowledge of the subject that I now work in, and also gave me the opportunity to engage with individuals that already had experience of working in the field.

I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to go directly from university to working in a job related to my degree, and the qualifications gained during my degree. It’s great to see what I learned at an academic level in front of my eyes in reality, and having the responsibility of protecting innocent people from those seeking to defraud them.

Claudia Cox, BSc Criminology with Psychology / MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice

Claudia Cox

Current Employer: University of Portsmouth

Job Title: Lecturer and Seminar Tutor

How has your career developed since you left university?

My Master's degree was completed in partnership with Hampshire Constabulary, so I worked alongside them for a year completing a piece of research which formed my research dissertation. I now also work in partnership with two police forces addressing diversity issues, particularly within the recruitment and progression of ethnic minority police officers and recruitment into specialist units such as Firearms. Occasionally I deliver classes to a local secondary school on policing and race issues, and also work as part of a European campaign called No Hate Speech which addresses online hate crimes.

What do you most enjoy/least enjoy about your job?

I love that I am able to put my experiences as a former student into practice and help those who are in the same position I was in a few years ago. I have previously studied all of the units I now teach and I feel this enables me to better engage with students when teaching. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the university and in particular studying Criminology, so to get paid to talk about it to others who are also interested in the field is great. It was daunting at first going from being a student to a teacher, particularly as some students are older than me, but this hasn’t been an issue at all. I wish I had known then what I know now about marking though! I also love that I am involved in a number of projects outside of the university. I have always been interested in policing and was disappointed when I realised the opportunities to join as a police officer were becoming limited. However, I now get to work alongside them in a number of different areas and influence their policies and procedures which I never thought I would do.

What skills did you acquire through your studies and how have you used them in your current role?

As a result of the skills and knowledge gained with my Master's, I began working part time teaching undergraduate students criminology, criminal justice, research methods and psychology and obtained a bursary for my PhD. In addition to the networking and research skills learned, the Master's helped develop my time management and also helps me ensure that decisions can be based on solid evidence, which is also helpful in the police environment. I am now making sure that I am applying academic knowledge and skills in an applied real life setting.

What advice would you give to today’s students?

Take every opportunity you are offered, whether you think it is exactly right for you or not. Internships and voluntary positions do so much more than look good on your CV. You will make invaluable contacts and may discover a new area within the field that interests you. Keep in touch with any contacts you make as they will always come in useful, particularly academic staff who are often very well networked. The contacts I made throughout my undergraduate degree and Master's, as an intern or volunteer, have opened the doors to me doing a PhD and getting a job at the same university. Whilst I wasn’t getting paid at the time, it has definitely paid off now.

What are your best memories of university?

I know its cliché, but I’ve made friends for life – not just fellow students, but academics and professionals who I have worked alongside throughout my two degrees who have helped me get to the point I am at now. To walk up on that stage and collect my certificate was an incredibly proud moment.


Nick Sandford Smith, BSc Criminology with Psychology / MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice

Nick Sandford Smith

Current Employer: Hampshire Constabulary

Job Title: Researcher

How has your career developed since you left university?

I have only recently finished my MSc at the University of Portsmouth. I was fortunate enough to go straight from finishing my MSc to getting a job with the police.

What do you most enjoy/least enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the working environment and the many and varied people I work with. I also enjoy the impact that I can have on crime and communities, helping to identify problem areas and crime trends using data.

What skills did you acquire through your studies and how have you used them in your current role?

Analytical skills developed through my studies have been very useful for my current job. Being able to take in, interpret, understand and disseminate information using logical, clear methods. My studies while at Portsmouth have helped me develop my skills by giving me academic knowledge and abilities to write in a concise and clear way. This is essential for my job which requires up-to-date information and products that can be used for operational policing purposes. Academic writing skills go hand-in-hand with the skills that you need to be able to work in a pressurised environment where being able to evidence the reasons for your actions and decisions is crucial.

The social scientific study of crime, criminality etc. requires the collection and analysis of different forms of data. Understanding the limitations of these data is one essential skill that I acquired by carrying out my research for my independent learning projects. The set of skills I acquired through the university learning process are the same as those required daily for me to fulfil my duties and work on complex projects that require analytical, technical and inferential skills. These include, time management, resource management, technical understanding of research methods and methodology, and the ability to come up with innovative designs and ideas that provide as much academic and evidential underpinning to the information that is provided to make operational and policy decisions.

What advice would you give to today’s students?

Learning to apply lessons learned from one area can always be applied to a completely different area. University doesn’t just give you writing and research skills, it can also give you skills such as how to communicate to different types of people and how to understand that research, science and general academic knowledge is a political process. Learning how to work within such a process is essential and can be learnt whilst at university by taking opportunities to conduct research, do voluntary work and work within a professional environment. That ability to demonstrate such skills is also a very desirable an asset for any future job interviews.

What are your best memories of university?

Getting the chance to present the findings of the community safety survey we did in our undergraduate second year for Portsmouth City Council, to the full council chamber, was a big step up, and I got a prize for it too! I think that the way I was able to develop this theme in my third year dissertation and ultimately for my Masters was a major strength of the ICJS approach and ultimately made me a research specialist in exactly the area that I got a job in.


Anniken Engvig Memmert, MSc Criminology & Criminal Justice

Anniken Engvig Memmert

Current Employer: Danish Police, Denmark
Job Title: Strategic Analyst

How has your career developed since you left university?

I finished my dissertation in September 2014, a couple of days later I applied for my dream job and I got the job. My employer told me, that one of the decisive reasons that I got the job was my knowledge about criminology and international experience from my Master's.

What do you most enjoy/least enjoy about your job?

I most enjoy that I can contribute with valuable knowledge in various areas. I can, for example, contribute with my knowledge about research methods when discussing how an analysis of a specific topic should be made; and I can contribute with my knowledge about criminological theories when trying to give reasons for why something occurs.

What skills did you acquire through your studies and how have you used them in your current role?

Through my MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice I acquired wide knowledge about theoretical criminology, applied research methods and various criminal justice systems. Although the starting point for policing and the criminal justice system was England and Wales, I got a fairly broad understanding of different practices worldwide.

I can use this knowledge and understanding in my current job; For example, when researching how the Danish police can make the best use of their resources, I looked for inspiration and researches elsewhere in the world, and had an understanding of how different or similar those police systems were to the Danish system.

What advice would you give to today’s students?

If you are an international/EU student who is worried about studying in England because of your English-level, then there is nothing to be worried about. At University of Portsmouth there are so many services to help you improve your language skills, so it is definitely not a thing to be worried about. Studying abroad is the best thing I’ve done and it definitely helped me get my dream job!

What are your best memories of university?

One thing that impressed me is the relationship between students and lecturers at University of Portsmouth! I was not used to having such relaxed and friendly relationships with my lecturers in Denmark, so that was a very different, but also very positive experience!

Ashley Fussell, MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice (Distance Learning)

Current employer: Bristol, Gloucester, Somerset and Wiltshire Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC)

Job Title: Probation Service Officer

How has your career developed since you left university?

I undertook the distance learning course as I wished to progress in my career by becoming a fully-trained Probation Officer. In order to apply to do the training for this post I first needed to hold a ‘relevant degree’ (ie, Criminal Justice, Criminology, Community Justice, Police Studies) and be successful in the assessment/recruitment process. Since gaining my Masters I have continued my work as a Probation Service Officer, but have also now been successful in applying to do the Probation Officer Training - I will soon begin this 15-month process. At the end of this training not only will I be able to work with more serious and interesting cases, but I will also gain a significant increase in my pay. So great news!! I got the outcome I was looking for and the reason why I did the Masters.

In addition to giving me a ‘relevant degree’, I believe my Masters has generally enhanced the quality of my work and these transferable skills significantly contributed to my recent successful assessment process I undertook to become a trainee probation officer.

Which skills, opportunities and/or networking opportunities did you acquire through your studies and how have you used them in your current role?

This course has definitely given me the opportunity to progress in my current job. The chance to network with a number of other individuals working within criminal justice was especially helpful as I was able to gain knowledge about the general practice of others in my field but work for other probation services.

What advice would you give to today’s students applying for your course?

This course provided an excellent balance of units to integrate my knowledge and understanding of both offender psychology and formal criminal justice processes. I would say that it is an excellent course for anyone seeking professional development within the criminal justice area and/or wishing to improve their knowledge and skill set in this area.

It is tough completing this type of course if you already work full-time as I did. However with good time management and determination it can be done. It is enjoyable and very rewarding.

What was your most useful experience/memory  of university?

My most useful experience was completing my Dissertation. I faced a few set-backs in doing this, but with great support from my personal tutor I got through this and came out with a top grade.  I was very happy with the support I got and from contacts provided for networking. In particular, I felt that when my original plans had to be changed, my tutor and other staff were very supportive and made efforts to try and help me find solutions. In addition, feedback on drafts was prompt and gave me good advice/insight on how I could improve my mark/make my work better without spoon-feeding things to me. Instead, it was signposted to me where I should be going and what I should be looking to do, so that by the end of the course, I knew I would be able to do this by myself. I believe this and the skills I learnt/developed in dealing with the time constraints and pressure I was under as a result of initial access set-backs, are very transferable to my professional work.

Bethany Ellis, BSc (Hons) Criminology & Forensic Studies

Bethany Ellis

While studying I gained work experience with Hampshire Probation, facilitating a resettlement of finance programme to a variety of ex-offenders. I found my placement through Purple Door and the Placement and Internship centre. I attended a recruitment event advertised by the PiC, and after finding out more about the probation service and how it worked I applied. The placement allowed me to explore the availability and range of employment within probation, which was an invaluable experience.

Hampshire Probation provides ex-offenders with guidance and advice in order to lead a crime free life. Some ex-offenders transfer from prison to an approved premise, where they live a more independent life, but still have curfews and rules to abide by. If they break these they are remanded back to prison. Throughout this placement I worked with another volunteer and we delivered the resettlement of finance program over a course of four weeks to a group of male ex-offenders ranging from violent offences to sexual offences, and murder. The best part of this work experience was when the group learned from us and worked together on the activities in the program.

Recently the probation service has privatised, which meant that it was difficult to know what jobs where available within the service. Completing this placement has allowed me to become more aware of the job opportunities available. More so, it has allowed me to network and create professional contacts to help me pursue a career within the criminal justice system. The process enabled me to practice making a professional job application and undergo a nerve-wracking interview. I now have more confidence when applying for paid work and it has made me aware of exactly what an employer is looking for.  

Rebecca Hurst, BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Studies.

Rebecca Hurst

I am currently volunteering 4 hours a week to intern at Aurora New Dawn, which is a service that helps domestic abuse and sexual assault victims. They have a helpline which victims can phone in for help and advice and cases will also be referred to them by the police. They will liaise with other services and refer victims on to further services. It has allowed me to read over real life domestic abuse cases and see how they are processed and assessed. I have also been given opportunities to gain first-hand experience with the police and go on training days.

I received regular emails from the Placement and Internship Centre (PiC) about volunteering opportunities and one week the Aurora internship came up which caught my eye. I was unsure whether to apply for it but my dissertation supervisor also mentioned it and convinced me to apply. I applied on the deadline and had my interview two days later. I was advised by a member of PiC team what to wear and how the interview would be conducted. I was also given advice on how to compose a CV in the best format, which was useful when applying for the internship.

I am interested in pursuing a career based with victims of crime and this internship is giving me the opportunity to really understand what is involved with this line of work. I am still in the early stages of the experience but so far I feel positive that this is the area I want to go into. I am able to view and be involved in the different aspects of the job which is giving me a clear and broad overview of this career path. This voluntary placement has enhanced my understanding of what a full time job in this sector may entail. I applied for the position last minute and was interviewed with very little notice so to have been selected for the position in which many applied; it gave me a confidence boost as to how I manage in an interviewing situation. The placement itself will help me when I graduate as it will be notably important to see on my CV when applying for similar job roles.