Predictive Analytics and the Social Organisation of Police Work

An exciting opportunity to work in a lively criminology department, in conjunction with a police service, to consider how predictive analytics are influencing the social organisation of police work 

Start date

1 October 2021


36 months

Application deadline

Funding source

The University of Surrey, Project-led Studentship Award.

Funding information

 The funding package for this studentship award is as follows:  

  • Full tuition fee covered (UK, EU and International)
  • Stipend at £15,609 p.a. (2021/22)
  • Research Training Support Grant of £1,000 p.a.
  • Personal Computer  


This is an exciting opportunity to conduct a qualitative research study looking at the impact of predictive analytics on police work. Predictive analytics can help police organisations to identify the places and people at greatest risk of victimisation or offending and so target police resources with greater efficiency. Predictive algorithms are increasingly being deployed by police forces to support policing, but there has been little research on the implications for the social organisation of police work. To address this gap in the literature, this project will consider how officers and police staff come to understand predictive analytics and incorporate them into their work. The implications for the organisational identity of officers, notions of professionalism, and the organisation of police work will also be explored. This will involve qualitative interviews with police officers and staff. In so doing the PhD will be guided by the following questions:  

  1. How do officers and police staff understand, make sense of and use predictive analytics within their work? 
  2. In what ways and why does predictive analytics alter police work?  
  3. What is the impact for the management of offices and staff, supervisory practices and training of police staff and officers?  
  4. What effect does predictive analytics have on the organisational identity of officers and staff?  
  5. How does the introduction of predictive analytics influence notions of professionalism?   

The studentship will engage directly with vital issues regarding how officers and staff come to make use of the data generated from algorithms, the best ways of fostering engagement from officers and staff, and how the evidence produced from predictive analytics is translated into practice on the ground. In so doing, the research will make an original and significant contribution to the sociology of policing.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants are expected to hold an MSc in social science discipline.

UK, EU and international students are welcomed to apply.

IELTS requirements: 7.0 or above with a minimum of 6.5 in each component (or equivalent). 

How to apply

To apply potential students should complete a cover letter demonstrating their interest in, and suitability for, the project. We would also like a CV detailing your previous research experience, and two academic references. Students will be required to complete the application form for PhD programme in Sociology at the University of Surrey Sociology PhD programme page Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application. 

Application deadline

Contact details

Karen Bullock
34 AD 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686979

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