Bill McMahon Staff Q&A

Lecturer in Policing & Criminal Investigation

What made you originally join the police?

I joined the police in 1986 and I did it because I genuinely wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help other people and to stop crime as best as I could. I wanted to support the local communities where I was living in Liverpool, however when I applied there were no available posts with Merseyside Police so I decided to look elsewhere. Lancashire were advertising so I applied and I was really pleased to be accepted as a police constable.

What was your journey like through the Police?

I rose from PC through to Chief Superintendent. I’ve worked all over the County at various ranks and I ended up being in charge of specialist operational policing and organisational development within Lancashire Constabulary. Part of my last role was to oversee the changes in the Force due to budget cuts which the Force and the wider Service are still facing today.  This meant looking at ways to reduce the budget whilst still maintaining and improving the service to the public. In my last year, I was seconded to her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary where I was a Chief of Staff working with one of the 4 Inspectors of Constabulary and worked from home, Leeds and London.
What made you go in to education after leaving the Police?

I left the Police in April 2016 and then in September, I started at UCLan. I have a degree in languages from my time at Liverpool John Moores University and I have a Master’s in business administration from UCLan.

I knew that UCLan had a strong association with policing and forensic science and thought my experience in policing could be used to help develop students and support the learning through the courses.  I was really pleased to be given the opportunity to work at the University.   
What are your teaching commitments at UCLan?

I teach a BSc module in international humanitarian and criminal law. I look at the law of war, human trafficking and international criminal court. I also teach a Master’s module as part of the MSc Professional Practice (Early Action) where I teach on continuous improvement and learning organisations and organisational development and partnerships.
What are the current challenges that face the police?
Policing can be really challenging regardless of whatever position you have within the organisation.  The Police Service itself is in the middle of having to develop itself to meet some of the new challenges it faces in terms of cybercrime, on-line fraud, terrorism, child sexual exploitation as well as meeting the demands that are placed on it on a daily basis by the public.  This is a really difficult time in policing and the Service is facing huge demands at a time when budgets are continuing to be cut.
What are your thoughts on the news that you will now need a degree to become a police officer?
I can see the aim around having to have a degree to become a police office as it is all about professionalising the service which, as I have said, continues to face huge challenges – some of which aren’t essentially policing issues.  Part of coming to UCLan for a degree involves developing more than just academic skills as it allows students to develop more of an insight in to things like communication and engagement with other students, emotional intelligence and ultimately a wider perspective on life as an individual, which I believe, is helpful for future officers. I also think it is a good idea because whilst it professionalises the Service, it will also give the individual a different learning experience which I believe will allow future officers to bring different perspectives and skills into Policing.
Any advice for prospective students?
Coming to UCLan is a great opportunity and experience for people.  The courses available here are led by practitioners who have loads of experience and qualifications so I believe that UCLan is in a unique position to deliver policing courses. To come to UCLan is great opportunity to develop yourself and I think it’s important in today’s world to keep learning because the world keeps changing and we all need to keep up to speed with the changes. Coming to university isn’t just about getting a qualification, I think it gives you that better understanding of life.