Why we’ve partnered with Women in data…

The National Police Data Board (NPDAB) was established by the NPCC to provide co-ordination and standardisation across policing for data and analytics. The formation of this board has created a mechanism to help address and drive forward the opportunities available from the unique data sets available within Policing.  Under the NPDAB are five workstreams which focus on different aspects of data and analytics capability adoption, one of which is focused on data and analytics skills.

Women are underrepresented in policing (and across the digital profession as a whole) so our partnership with Women in Data marks a significant step forward. It underscores our commitment to supporting, championing, and developing our female data and analytics talent across Digital, Data and Technology (DDAT) departments within policing closely supported by our male allies.

By joining forces (quite literally), we aim to leverage collective strengths, share knowledge, and contribute to the overall growth of our female data and analytics talent and show the diverse range of roles and responsibilities within data and analytics across policing.


Sarah Crampton WiD
Sarah Crampton
Michelle Lithgow
Leigh Davison
Julie Macleod WiD
Julie Macleod
Data Ethics Lead
Catherine Carrington WiD
Cathrine Carrington
Carly Mellin
Head of Data Engineering
Lisa WiD
Lisa Hursell
Lead Data Scientist

How Our Organisation is Changing

The publication of the National Digital Policing Strategy in 2020 articulated for the first time a long-awaited call to action to nationally harness the power of our data and put this as a key priority.

The challenges involved in embedding and retaining specialist data skills in any organisation is widely experienced across all sectors- never more so than within policing.

As demand grows, and resources become more strained, this ambition grows increasingly challenging, particularly when this involves marshalling 43 forces and other law enforcement agencies into full alignment.

The formation of a dedicated Data and Analytics Board with Senior people in policing championing this work, has helped create a mechanism to drive this ambition forward. Over the past few years, it has made substantial inroads in making sure data is well governed, managed to a particular set of standards and is of high enough quality that we can make good decisions both operationally on a tactical level but also strategically, so that when we buy technology, we do it once and we do it well!

Whilst we’ve made significant progress in the last few years to achieve these ambitions, we recognise that work on harnessing data will never fully reach that ‘business as usual state,’ and that’s partly what’s exciting about this change in our organisation.

As we introduce new innovative ways of working, we’re embedding the concept that work on harnessing data will never be complete as it is rooted in the dynamic and ever-changing nature of technology, business requirements, and our community’s needs. To stay relevant and extract maximum value from our unique data, policing are embracing for the first time the ongoing nature of this task and investing in the continuous evolution in their approaches to data management, analysis, and utilisation. It truly is an exciting time to be within policing.

The possibilities of data and putting data at the heart of decision making for any organisation is absolutely critical.

The unique nature of policing data is what excites and motivates our workforce and champions in this area. As demand grows, and resources become more strained, we’re keen to work with  for new innovative ways to drive forward our ambitions.

Sarah Crampton

Married with 3 boys and have worked in public sector since graduating from University with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics nearly 21 years ago.

I Joined Northamptonshire Police straight from university, successfully securing new roles with more and more responsibilities as time has progressed, and always with data at the heart of each role.

My roles over time have allowed me to see data from a range of perspectives. From the start of the process as data entry, to various roles within analysis and now understanding the links to data architecture and data governance.

I have been able to use my undergraduate degree in Economics and Masters degree in Social Policy and Criminology (the latter of which I studied for whilst working full time with the Open University) in all my roles, drawing on the possible impacts of police or fire activity on communities and society in more general.  Understanding the voice of the public is really important as it can be too easy to get lost in data for management when we need to come back to what we are here for.

In the last 5 years I have been influenced by the Storytelling with Data approach, stripping out all the unnecessary elements of data and charts and focussing on “So What” and “What now”.  This is ensuring my team and I remain focussed on going beyond description of the data and providing insights.  In the last year my role has grown to become a joint role for both Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue as Joint Head of Performance and Business Insights.

I am able to support both senior leadership teams to think differently about data and work within a DDaT function that understands and promotes the various data roles within that team.  Since 2021 I support a National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) sub-group called Performance Management Coordinating Committee (PMCC) as a lead for Data Quality & Management and representing the views of East Midlands forces around Performance Management.

This role allows me to influence decisions about national data collections and their dissemination and use within Policing as well as shaping definitions and processes relevant to national interests.  The thing I love most about data is its versatility and what can be done with it, even if the quality is poor.

The biggest challenge is getting to a single version of the data truth which everyone agrees on.

I am the Information Management Improvement Manager for Durham Constabulary.  The areas under my remit include (but not limited to): DPC review prior to appropriate sign-off, DPIA review and sign-off, Information Sharing Agreements (review and assistance to the force), Biometrics and Surveillance Camera checklists to ensure compliance with the B&SCC standards and I am also a regional representative on the NPCC Data Sharing Agreement Quality Assurance Panel.

I also advise re Information Management documentation to be completed for projects / procurement and business areas.

I left school with 4 O-levels and started in the 6th form, but with no idea about what I wanted to do and then dropped out after about 6 months when I got a job. I then spent 16 years in the manufacturing industry.

I started as a temp with Durham Constabulary in 2001 and in 2002 I went through the recruitment process and became a permanent member of staff. I have worked in Corporate Development, Partnerships (working under the Citizens in Policing portfolio) and then in 2018 I was asked if I wanted to ‘help out’ temporarily in Information Management; and I was one of a team of two! We had no line manager per se, but I was able to implement our data breach reporting process – based on the information that I was able to source from the ICO website.

I have had no formal information management training, but I would like to think that my knowledge of working in policing for over 20 years and the problem-solving skills that I have, have contributed significantly to the work that I am doing. I am practical; although it must be said that I love a good process map, and I like to think that my solutions are easy to implement and understand.

I am a 1st Kup in Taekwondo – with the next belt being a black belt! and am also passionate about Pilates…or as I keep telling the instructor it’s pronounced “pie and lattes”!

I have abseiled of the Tyne Bridge! This was for a charity event a number of years ago and to be honest my thoughts at the time were ‘go for it’. Never been a fan of heights especially when there is no barrier. To be honest, you can only abseil for about 15 feet as then there is nothing to ‘walk’ against, so I abseiled for 15 feet and then rappelled down like a member of the SAS. That was totally exhilarating.

I also started a degree course in Leadership and Management, currently in semester 2. This is a chance for me to gain a formal qualification that enhances and builds upon the knowledge that I have accumulated over my working life.

What do I do?

I am Durham Constabulary’s Head of Information Rights and Disclosure Unit (IRDU) and the Force’s Data Protection Manager.  I have been in this role  since 2005.  The Unit is one of three sections of  the Force’s Information Management Branch, that the Force’s Chief Data Officer oversees.

The areas under my remit include Data Protection rights, Freedom of Information Rights and conviction and intelligence  disclosures for the protection of children and vulnerable adults to the  DBS,  CAFCASS, Family Courts, Local Authorities, the Probation Service, NHS and to many other partner agencies. All these areas of work are subject to tight statutory timelines or national or local service level agreements and also to complaints and judicial review or County/High Court challenges.

I have worked for the Force since 1983. Whilst at Grammer School, doing A levels, my intent was either to be a teacher or a nurse. I  was equally drawn to both professions but decided after much deliberation, nursing would be my lifelong career. I then completed two full years of nursing training but an accident with a squash wall then ended my beloved nursing career at the beginning of my third year of training. I then got a job at a  Department store and was happily there for two years before getting a civilian post as a clerical officer with the Force in 1983 at Bishop Auckland Police Station. I  worked in the Court Office (Criminal Justice Unit), followed by a promotion and a free money transfer to  Accident Records in the same station and I then returned to the Court Office, following a  further promotion as the Court Office Manager. I spent 12 very happy years at Bishope Auckland Police Station before being promoted to a senior officer role as the Force’s first civilian Data Protection Officer at Force HQ, a role that   I still do today.  I took over this senior role in 1994 from a Chief Inspector.

Across my four decades with the Force, it is no surprise that I have seen massive technological changes from analogue to digital to the cloud. From clunky typewriters and duplicators and whiteboards before the arrival of the first office computers and photocopiers, Psion and Blackberry devices, video walls  and onwards. Comprehensive and smart technology has boomed in the years since 1983, including now audit and visual technology which has massively helped connect all Force employees regardless of location.

Across the years since 1983, I have  acquired additional educational qualifications and have  also attended numerous data protection and freedom of information and information management training courses.

From day 1 in September 1983 to the current date, I have loved in the main,  working in Policing – in Force, with other Police Forces and with partner agencies. I have in total received two long service certificates, the last one presented to me personally last year by Chief Constable Jo Farrell, following 40 years of service with Durham Constabulary. I have also received three Force commendations. My plan is to retire next year.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/julie-macleod5

I started working in an intelligence role for Strathclyde Police (one of the eight legacy forces that were merged to create Police Scotland in 2013) fifteen years ago following redundancy from a role in the banking sector.

My data journey in policing started around 2015 when I was invited to lead on the creation and development of an assurance and data management function within my specialist department.

In 2018 I had the opportunity to apply for a secondment, which later became permanent, to Police Scotland’s Information Assurance department. I spent three and a half years working as part of a brilliant team learning more about data protection, records management and information security at a time of enormous upheaval as we began to understand the impacts of DPA 2018 and UK GDPR on policing.

In January 2022 I was successful in my promotion application into the newly created post of Data Ethics Lead and since then it has been my absolute privilege to lead on the implementation of Police Scotland’s Data Ethics Governance Framework, which seeks to help Police Scotland realise our ambition to become an organisation driven by the effective and efficient use of data in ethical way.

I am passionate about the fair and ethical use of data by Police Scotland and am committed to ensuring that the organisation innovates in a way that strikes a balance between making the best use of new and emerging data driven technology without undermining public trust.

Through extensive research, stakeholder engagement and a little bit of trial and error, I have been focused on making sure our Data Ethics Governance Framework is viewed as an enabler with meaningful engagement, assessment and scrutiny at its heart and it has been amazing to see data driven solutions that will enhance policing outcomes be introduced as a result.

Police Scotland are one of a very small number of forces in the UK who have dedicated full time resource to Data Ethics and it has been a career highlight to share learning from our Data Ethics journey with partners across policing, not just here in the UK but also globally.

I joined the MPS in 1996.  I became one of the first civilian Controllers in the MPS.  I learnt to manage many incidents at the same time with my eyes closed and it made me able to think on my feet.

I moved on into Firearms and found the love of reading legislation, FOIA Act (for new role as Information Manager) and Firearms Act (why? Just because I wanted to know more – nosey). I became the go to ‘girl’ for Firearms when the Lead retired. It reminded me of my programming days back at Uni.  I then moved again into the Data Office where I gorged on reading. Data Protection (personal data) is so similar to 0’s and 1’s in Computer Science.

In my role today, I advise on the production of DPIAs, DSAs, and on the use of personal data, data/information whilst also overseeing any Data Breaches.  I work with the Data Protection Team to advise/provide an out of hours service and sharing ideas with MPS Lawyers and being asked for my expert opinion on matters.

Being known as a plain-speaking person, nurturing those who seek my support, and praising those I consider to be my Mentors as I go on my own personal journey. Wanting to be a Data Protection Officer – somewhere. Portugal. That’s my plan.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carly-mellin/

As the Head of Data Engineering at the Metropolitan Police, I lead a dedicated team responsible for developing comprehensive data infrastructure and technology solutions. With a diverse educational background spanning IT, Forensic Science, and GIS, I bring a unique blend of skills to the table, enabling me to drive impactful initiatives that leverage data for actionable insights. My journey into this role has been driven by a deep-seated passion for making a difference, and I’m fortunate to lead teams that share this commitment.

Beyond my professional pursuits, I cherish my roles as a mother to two vibrant daughters and a caregiver to two beloved #fluffydatadogs. Balancing the demands of family life with the challenges of my career adds richness and depth to my experiences. In navigating these diverse responsibilities, I’ve learned the importance of resilience, adaptability, and effective time management.

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to benefit from the guidance of exceptional mentors who have left an indelible mark on my professional growth. Their wisdom and support have fuelled my journey and instilled in me a deep appreciation for the value of mentorship. Now, as a leader, I am committed to paying it forward by sharing my knowledge, fostering growth within my team, and continuously seeking opportunities for learning and development in the dynamic field of data engineering and leadership.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-hursell

I am the Lead Data Scientist at the Metropolitan Police, having built a career within the organisation since joining as a student for a Year In Industry placement many years ago. I’ve worked across teams in data analysis, architecture, engineering and digital forensics, before finding a home in building a data science team. Now I lead the team in showcasing the value data science can bring to solving policing problems. We’ve worked on initiatives for New Met for London, strategic products to help automate and improve processes (and data quality!), and operational products to support building cases and finding evidence across the ever increasing volumes of data in investigations.

I’m also a STEM Ambassador, so I volunteer time at schools to encourage the next generation to embrace careers in data. I love to showcase the variety of roles and industries using data that they might not have considered – something that would have been very valuable to me when trying to decide on my future path. I present on topics such as misleading statistics and their cost, and how to tell stories with data. I also present data science concepts to senior officers across national policing, helping them to understand how these tools and techniques can be used to support their portfolios, and how to balance the risk and opportunities.

When I’m not in the office, you can usually find me in a Disney theme park or attached to a games console…