ENU staff recognised for making a social difference

A police officer and a nurse talking talking to each other on a hospital corridor.

The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards celebrates the partnerships between business, third-sector or public-sector organisations and academia. The annual event recognises, rewards, and celebrates the impacts achieved through these exciting collaborations that enrich society and support sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Edinburgh Napier staff members, Dr Inga Heyman, Dr Nadine Dougall and Maggie Reid, together with Police Scotland’s Clair Thomson have been nominated for the Making a Social Difference Award 2023 for their collaborative work with Police Scotland.

Clair is Police Scotland’s Collaboration Transformation Manager for Partnerships, Prevention and Community Well-being. Inga is an Associate Professor of Policing and Public Health, Nadine is a Professor of Mental Health and Data Science, and Maggie is the Business Development and Relationship Manager at ENU.

Inga and Nadine are Co-Directors of the Scottish Centre for Policing and Public Health (SCLEPH) and together with colleagues have led several projects at the policing and public health intersection. All the outputs and the ongoing collaboration have resulted in an increased focus by Police Scotland on responses to mental health pathways and drug-related deaths.

Police Scotland understands the importance of interdisciplinary working and taking an evidence-informed approach to meet their objectives. This includes developing a strong relationship with academia to provide academic integrity to decision-making in strategy planning and on-the-ground policing.

Due to the collaboration, people now have better access to designated mental health professionals within NHS24 to provide an appropriate enhanced mental health triage and assessment of need service. This is a service that seeks to reduce the deployment of frontline staff to people with mental illness/ mental health distress or who are vulnerable and leads to better outcomes for the callers.

The evaluation of Naloxone seeks to be part of the public health-led response to address Scotland’s drug deaths crisis.  This initiative will undoubtedly help save lives. The project has received significant support from the public, the Scottish Government, the Drug Deaths Taskforce, and third-sector groups, including recovery communities.

Edinburgh Napier University, and in particular SCLEPH, also supports Police Scotland to continue to contribute to the outcomes of the Justice Strategy for Scotland aligning ethics, values, and the development of a rights-based approach.

This ongoing collaboration demonstrates the power of partnership. Strategic partnerships like this, allow an organisation to benefit from innovative and new thinking; whilst imparting their knowledge and experience to influence the direction of travel and strategy. The societal impact of these relationships is powerful and important to the future of building back fairer and better.

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