N8 PRP Policing Innovation Forum 2019

by | Sep 27, 2019 | 0 comments

N8 PRP Policing Innovation Forum – 14 November 2019, Goodison Park (Everton Football Club)

Tackling knife crime – Police and multi agency responses to a headline problem

On 14 November 2019, the N8 Policing Research Partnership will be hosting the fifth Policing Innovation Forum (PIF) which will bring together key academics, police, and other stakeholders. Vulnerability has emerged as a key theme over the last five years, from cybercrime through to domestic violence, coercive control, mental health and – this year– we will be focusing on the very challenging but topical issue of knife crime. Preventative approaches in relation to the social challenges that the forum has explored in previous years have suggested a greater need for the engagement of wider policing partners, including third sector agencies. Our aim for the fifth forum is to encourage discussion and innovative research in relation to tackling knife crime, including a range of workshops in which other preventative and interventionist approaches can be explored from a multi-agency perspective. This year, the third sector is playing a key role in our forum.

The purpose of the morning sessions will be to examine innovations in early interventions in tackling knife crime. Citing Home Office figures, the Daily Telegraph [1] reports that the number of knife offences is the highest since it started recording. £100 million has been allocated by the Government to reverse the trend in seven of the worst hit areas including some of the N8 partners. Multi agency approaches are being encouraged through a “public health” approach, with doctors, teachers and police being asked to identify children at risk of being drawn into knife crime. Innovative approaches aimed at early intervention and in tackling the links with organised crime will be explored during the forum.

We are hosting the event at Goodison Park, the home of Everton Football Club. Everton in the Community, the charitable arm of Everton Football Club, have been working with both Merseyside Police and Cheshire Police engaging young people who are vulnerable to criminal exploitation and working in partnership with the police in the introduction of early intervention programmes. Sue Gregory (Director of Youth Engagement and Employability at Everton in the Community) will welcome delegates to the N8 Forum. This will be followed by a keynote address from Will Linden, the Deputy Director of Violence Reduction Unit Scotland, who will talk about the benefits of taking a ‘public health’ approach to violence. This will then be followed by a full plenary session from Superintendent Sarah Heath of Cheshire Police who has been leading a project in Runcorn in partnership with Everton in the Community and other partners including the third sector. This will demonstrate how much can be achieved with limited resources but with a key willingness and passion among multi agency partners, young people, and the police to make a real difference.

The afternoon will use an innovative conference design that commences with a series of workshops that focus on early intervention in several areas and concludes with sessions focusing on how academics, police and other partners can develop research networks and access research funds. This year, a number of third sector and charities will be leading workshops to show the real impact that this sector can bring. The first is street doctors, led by John Valentine (Partnership Manager), which is a youth social action movement with a network of young healthcare volunteers who provide safe spaces to explore attitudes to violence and to empower young people to keep themselves and others safe. The second workshop is led by Clare McGregor, Founder of Coaching Inside and Out (CIAO) who will discuss her charity’s approach to coaching for children released from custody who have been involved in knife crime in Salford, Greater Manchester. The third workshop will be led by Queensbury AP who work with children at risk of expulsion from mainstream school and include early interventions aimed at young people who, through their behaviours and choices, may be at risk of being involved in criminalised behaviour. Queensbury support the work being undertaken by Cheshire Police and Everton-in-the-Community, the latter of which will also provide an input on their activities during the workshop sessions. Finally Superintendent Lee Berry of South Yorkshire Police will lead a workshop which will discuss both the challenges and opportunities of creating a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), drawing on the experience of partnership activities across the county.

N8 aims to collect data in real time drawing on the expertise of those in the room alongside the expertise from those leading workshops to create a new understanding of the benefits of early intervention in tackling knife crime and its links with organised crime. At the end of the event it is our aim to agree an action plan to determine improvements that can be followed up through different strands, new collaborations and research opportunities, which will be led by Professor Adam Crawford the Director of the N8 Policing Research Partnership.


The aims of the 2019 Police Innovation Forum are:

  1. For policing partners, academics and other agency representatives to feel energised by the potential to innovate in tackling knife crime.
  2. To create new knowledge in real time given the level of expertise in the room
  3. For academics to gain new insight into the benefits of researching the impact of early intervention and the identification of trigger behaviours.
  4. For policing partners to learn more about the potential of research to assist them in early intervention and tackling knife crime more generally.

The N8 PRP is jointly funded by HEFCE, and its partners, the 8 Russell Group Universities in the North of England, the 11 police forces and offices of the Police and Crime Commissioners. The PRP has eight work strands of which the Police Innovation Forum is one.

The critical focus for the Innovation Forum is to engage in new and innovative approaches to policing problems and to bring partners together to explore new research possibilities in areas where there are existing gaps in our knowledge base. It also serves as an opportunity to draw together partners from different organisations and interests that have a purchase on a particular problem and to facilitate new ways of thinking about research questions and possible practical solutions.

[1] Daily Telegraph, 25 April 2019