Mr Brendan Brookshaw

Mr Brendan Brookshaw

Lecturer in Policing

School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



  • Currently researching a PhD at Plymouth University’s School of Criminology, Law and Governance. The PhD is an ethnographic examination of police attitudes towards corrupt or improper practice by police officers.
  • Lecturer in Policing and Criminology at the University of Plymouth for four years.
  • An associate lecturer in Public Service Management degree at City College Plymouth, Module lead for “Ethical Decision Making” and “Conflict and Cohesion”.
  • Leadership and governance training and coaching to Public third and private sector organisations through ASAS Business Solutions.
  • Police Complaints Review officer for the Devon and Cornwall Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner


  • Post Graduate Diploma in Academic Practice and enjoying of the process of studying and researching to draw together cogent conclusions which are presented and published for external audiences.
  • September 2018: Retired from the Devon & Cornwall Police as a Detective Chief Inspector after 30 years active service. Held several leadership positions in the police after promotion to Sergeant in 1997. I have the following experience from my police service
  • 14 years at the rank of Chief Inspector and Temporary Superintendent.
  • 4 years Senior Investigating Officer experience as a Detective Chief Inspector and Temporary Detective Superintendent in the field of police misconduct and criminality.
  • 10 years command experience in tactical firearms, nuclear emergency, public order, major public events and civil emergency matters successfully resolving over 200 pre-planned and spontaneous firearms incidents and over 150 public events as well as chairing multi-agency Silver groups in response to flooding and other severe weather events.
  • Trained and lead Regional multi-agency partners in the management of major Incidents, assessing and accrediting regional firearms and public order commanders.
  • Gained executive leadership experience as Staff Officer to two Chief Constables.
  • Head of Equality and Diversity and Force Strategic Partnerships that has given me unique insights into police culture, politics, role and structure of the police in the UK alongside other public agencies.
  • Achieved international experience in law enforcement legitimacy issues as the sole UK representative at the 2016 European College of Policing counter corruption conference and shared this learning by presenting at the National Police Legitimacy Conference in September 2016.
  • Was part of her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s Legitimacy Inspection team in 2014 as the Professional Standards specialist.
  • Received a Masters Degree in Public Administration in 2007.
  • BSC (Hons) Bioanlalytical Science 1988

Professional membership

Member of the Institute of Leadership and Management since 1997

Roles on external bodies

School Governor 2000 - 2013 providing strategic direction as Vice Chair of Governors at Widey Court School Plymouth. 4 years, link Governor to the LEA and chair of the curriculum and personnel committees. 2007 chair of the Standards Committee at Notre Dame Roman Catholic School and led the selection processes for Head Teachers at both schools. Became member of the Executive Committee of the Plymouth Association of Governors in 2009 and served on the Local Authority Standing Advisory Committee for Religious Education and School Admissions Committee. Attended several Governors Training Courses and National Governors Association Conferences.

Fully trained and experienced coach, project manager and facilitator of Action Learning Sets and attended the Tavistock Institute Leicester conference in 2007, where I developed skills in understanding the authority, roles and functions associated with group dynamics.

Currently working as the police complaints review officer for Devon and Cornwall OPCC

I am a voluntary mentor for the University Mentoring Scheme 

I am a member of the national tutoring system provided by the Brilliant Club which is designed to help raise the awareness and aspiration of secondary pupils in areas of deprivation with a view to encouraging them to make an application for higher education. 



Teaching interests

Throughout my working life I have felt a great sense of public duty and social purpose, putting others first, and am keen to employ my skills and experience in an environment like Plymouth University which provides such a fundamentally important resource in the City of my birth.

I am researching my PhD on internal attitudes to police corruption and therefore enjoy teaching ethics, Leadership and the skills involved in quick time critical incident management as well as the more 

I am a voluntary mentor for the University Mentoring Scheme

I am a member of the national tutoring system provided by the Brilliant Club which is designed to help raise the awareness and aspiration of secondary pupils in areas of deprivation with a view to encouraging them to make an application for higher education.

I have delivered leadership and governance training and coaching to Public, third and private sector organisations through ASAS Business Solutions.



Research interests

The question to be explored in my PhD is, simply, “what happened within the police service when the government created the offence of “corrupt or improper practice” in Section 26 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015?” The initial literature review revolved around historic corruption within the police in the international context but has latterly become an examination of more contemporary articles, written after 2010, focussing on the British police service (England and Wales) to which the legislation applies. 

The reading is resolving itself into four key themes which form a framework for better understanding police corruption and its drivers. They are as follows

  • Legal Context; specifically the introduction of the Act in the context of a nascent code of ethics, the late introduction onto the Bill of the offence of corrupt or improper practice which applies only to sworn police officers, and an exploration of the legal landscape as it impacts on corruption and policing.
  • Public policy; specifically relating to the national environment within which the policy to enact police reform on corruption was conceived and developed. Reflections on the implementation of that policy through criminal law.
  • Personal factors; specifically the interaction between individual philosophical reality dispositions and the psycho- social and emotional drivers of ethical or unethical behaviours in a policing context
  • Police culture; no examination of the impact of a policy on the police can take place without understanding the pervasive influence of the culture of the service and its impact on the public, policy makers and law enforcement workers. 

The proposal that there is a deep and fundamental lie at the core of law enforcement culture which police officers are forced to adopt if they are to psychologically survive the role. 

This theme is picked up by Reiner (2010, pp 69) in a discussion about the ambivalence of the public toward the police in not being able to dispel the notion that “there is something of the dragon in the dragon-slayer”. The suspicion that the very nature of police work itself, with its daily contact with those who are the ragged fringes of public morality, somehow rubs off on the police officer, leaving them with a whiff of corruption that the ordinary citizen can detect and is repelled by, is one that is given its best expression by Friedrick Neitzsche’s aphorism 146 (1886() “whosever fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you”

Other research

In 2020 as part of a multi-disciplinary team at the University of Plymouth, developed online crime scene teaching scenarios an a virtual reality crime scene as part of expanding resources that could be used at a distance during the covid 19 epidemic. These replace the existing immersive and real-time crime scene scenarios developed with the module leader since 2018 and which have become a unique aspect of criminology at Plymouth University.