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NZ Police and University of Canterbury forging closer ties

30 September 2022

University of Canterbury Tumu Whakarae | Vice‐Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey and New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalising a positive partnership between the two organisations.

A positive partnership between the University of Canterbury (UC) and the New Zealand Police has been formalised with a signed agreement today.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by UC Tumu Whakarae | Vice‐Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey and New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster at the University’s Ilam campus.

Professor De la Rey says the goal of the MoU is to further develop the existing collaborative and cooperative relationship between the two organisations.

“We hope to see this partnership grow in the future and are excited about drawing together the various projects and initiatives the University and the Police are working on,” she says.

“We have a shared goal of improving our understanding of criminal justice matters and the MoU is particularly relevant to the University’s Faculty of Law and our innovative Criminal Justice programme. However, there are other disciplines and faculties that will also contribute to this significant partnership.”

Commissioner Coster says the MoU helps formalise the working relationship between the University and Canterbury Police, as well as Police nationally.

“Police work is increasingly evidence‐based, so it makes sense to partner with leading tertiary institutions like UC, which can contribute new research and a critical eye to policing and justice issues. Strong partnerships, like those being formalised in the MoU, can ultimately help make our communities safer.

“NZ Police’s mission is to prevent crime and harm through exceptional policing. It’s therefore vital we understand what works to achieve this outcome.”

NZ Police has been part of the University’s Board of Studies for the Criminal Justice programme for the past eight years and is committed to helping it grow, he says.

“It’s been great to see the Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree go from strength to strength, lead on to a popular Master of Criminal Justice degree, and have the first PhD student enrolled this year.

“This MoU also creates a springboard for Police and the University to partner on other initiatives in the future.”

UC Faculty of Law Executive Dean Professor John Page says having the support of NZ Police has helped give the University’s Criminal Justice programme its strong vocational focus.

“Their input has contributed to this qualification being of huge benefit to anyone who aspires to work or is already working in the field. It provides a comprehensive grounding in the New Zealand criminal justice system and we’re excited to have launched a new PhD in Criminal Justice this year.”

Many graduates from UC’s Criminal Justice programme have gained employment with NZ Police in various types of roles – from frontline constables through to senior advisors working in intelligence and policy.

Commissioner Coster also visited the UC Te Taiwhenua o te Hauora | GeoHealth Laboratory following the MoU signing. The GeoHealth Lab specialises in applied research in health geography and focuses on how local and national environments shape health outcomes and inequalities.

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