After gaining a Modern History degree from Oriel College, Oxford in 1980, Peter joined Hampshire Police and was a police officer for more than 30 years, serving in Hampshire, West Mercia and Thames Valley, where he was the Chief Constable (2002-2007). He set up and ran the National Policing Improvement Agency (as Chief Constable and Chief Executive). In the latter role, he was responsible for national implementation of all the major programmes in UK policing, including Neighbourhood Policing, Workforce reform and new technology.
In 2010, he was commissioned by the UK Home Secretary to carry out a fundamental “Review of Police Leadership and Training” which led to the establishment of the new National “College of Policing” in 2012 and radical reform of the qualifications and training of police officers, creating the new “Police Education Qualification Framework”.
In 2011 he left the police and embarked on a part-time PhD in Criminology at Wolfson, with research focused initially on a major experiment in police diversion (Operation Turning Point) in Birmingham and then on analysis of all the published experiments in policing. He completed his PhD in 2017. In 2014 he became the Co-Chair of the Campbell Collaboration (crime and justice) and has been leading an international partnership to systematically review the evidence on what works to prevent terrorism and radicalisation.