Criminology and Justice Student is ECU’s first in WA Police Internship


School of Arts and Humanities Criminology and Justice student Leilani Kwan has recently become the first ECU student to participate in the Evidence Based Policing Internship Program with the WA Police.

Evidence Based Policing (EBP) aims to develop practices that target those areas and people responsible for the most harm in our communities. The objective of EBP is to reduce demand on policing services by analysing research to identify, implement and evaluate policing strategies. The WA Police’s Evidence Based Policing Internship Program is an initiative designed to provide high-calibre university students the opportunity to gain practical experience and the chance to apply their research, evaluation, critical analysis and writing skills in a dynamic work environment.

Leilani Kwan, who is currently completing her second year of the Bachelor of Criminology and Justice offered by the School of Arts and Humanities is the first ECU student to participate in this program.  Her project consisted of data analysis, evaluative research, data selection and processing which she found highly complementary to her existing course of study at ECU.

Leilani said that, “the Evidence Based Policing Internship Program was challenging, stimulating and very exciting. I cannot emphasize enough the value of this experience, it has provided me with a strong motivation to contribute to work efforts regarding crime and criminal justice.”

Each semester, the WA Police offers a limited number of internship opportunities within the Evidence-Based Policing team for criminology and justice students interested in completing a work-based project within a public sector agency, applying the knowledge and skills developed through their studies in a professional capacity. This opportunity gives students a real insight into the industry standards they can expect when they enter the work force.

Leilani said that the program has helped her to develop lateral thinking and critical awareness, pushing her to reach outside of her comfort zone. While the amount of freedom and flexibility she was given to develop her project’s direction was at first very daunting, this required her to consider a broad approach and narrow considerations down to identify critical points.

“The working environment at the WA Police is absolutely conducive to students who are keen and active learners. Their welcoming and collaborative attitude enabled me to gain real-world, practical insight into the need for empirically-backed policy within the criminal justice arena.”

As part of the program, each student is allocated specific work packages resulting in comprehensive reports relating to the EBP streams of work.  These have included body worn video, domestic violence, restorative justice, curfew checks and a crime harm index. WA Police are currently exploring opportunities to expand future work streams to include geospatial crime analysis and mapping. 

Each intern is allocated a mentor to provide feedback and support during the placement and assist in identifying strengths and developmental needs. This program is offered to all eligible University students, successful completion of the project must contribute towards academic credit and is subject to the academic supervision of the University.

“I would wholeheartedly recommend this program to any student in the field of criminal justice who wishes to gain a realistic understanding of police purpose and operations within WA, and who has the drive and motivation to develop a high-caliber skill set.”

The WA Police’s Evidence Based Policing Internship Program is an effective workforce engagement initiative that provides the agency insight into tomorrow's workforce. For more information contact Karyn Brynjolfson Workforce Consultant (Strategic Human Resources) at the WA Police.