N8 PRP Events Archive

Reports and presentations from N8 PRP events from 2013-2020.

2015-2020 – Catalyst Events

From 2015-2020, N8 PRP was funded by a Catalyst grant from HEFCE to run a number of programmes which produced conferences and workshops. The reports for these events, including the presentations where possible, are available below.

2020 N8 PRP Conference

To mark the end of the 5 year Catalyst Grant, a 2 day conference was held in November 2020 which showcased the research and impact of the N8 PRP. 

Partnerships and Vulnerability

International Programme Conference

Nov 2016 - Working with Police on Policing

14 November 2016

On 12-14 October, 78 people travelled to the University of Sheffield to see academics and practitioners from Australia, Canada, the United States, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom present on their experiences of research co-production in the policing sector. Each panel involved academics talking alongside police practitioners about specific research projects where they have worked closely together. Both reflected on key issues including the research process and its challenges, the outputs and outcomes of the research, and models of partnership relations and how well they work, as well as exploring any lessons that can be drawn from these experiences. In a climate where police organisations are looking for innovative ways to understand what works and why under the banner of evidence-based policing, and where universities are under increasing pressure to demonstrate the impact of their research on society, the event gave rise to many timely discussions. Participants have agreed in principle to turn their presentations into papers which will hopefully be published in due course.

On the first day, delegates saw James Whalen (Director of Public Safety at the University of Cincinnati and formerly Assistant Chief of the Cincinnati Police Department) and Maris Herold (University of Cincinnati Police Department) present on ‘Translating police research and reform into practice’; Nick Fyfe (University of Dundee) present on ‘Learning, shaping, evaluating: working with the police on a journey of radical reform’; and finally Penny Dick (University of Sheffield) and Andy Fern (Greater Manchester Police) present on ‘Police partnership working: lessons from the Kirkholt pilot’.

On the second day delegates saw Stanny de Vlieger (Judicial Director of the Federal Police in the Province of Antwerp) and Marleen Easton (Ghent University) present on ‘Belgian reflections on the dialogue of the deaf’; Layla Skinns (University of Sheffield) and Alan Greene (formerly Superintendent and the Head of Police Custody for Greater Manchester Police) present on ‘When academia meets police custody: the practical and cultural aspects of police-academic partnerships’; Christian Mouhanna (Director of Cesdip, France) present on ‘Ethics in French police forces: research between professional interest and political pressure’; Adam White (University of Sheffield) and Imogen Hayat (Security Industry Authority) present on ‘Regulating private security: from tunnel vision to broad reflection’ (chair: Layla Skinns); James Sheptycki (York University, Canada) present ‘On, for and with “the police”; thinking about policing as a subject and object of interdisciplinary inquiry’; and finally Jenny Fleming (University of Southampton), Matthew Bacon (University of Sheffield) and Nick Fyfe (University of Dundee) discuss how to establish groupings ‘Behind the Scenes’.

On the third day, delegates saw Sarah Bennett (University of Queensland) and Insp Ian Thompson (Queensland Police) present on ‘Creating effective research partnerships, the Queensland experience’; Ben Bradford (University of Oxford) present on ‘Experiments in policing and the challenges of implementation’; and finally Adam Crawford (University of Leeds, N8 PRP Director) and Nicky Miller (College of Policing) discuss how to establish networks ‘Behind the Scenes’.

Knowledge Exchange Conferences

June 2017 - Co-ordinated Response on Domestic Violence

22 June 2017

Responding to domestic abuse remains a top priority for Police Forces across the UK. Adopting and developing holistic, multi-agency approaches to such cases on first response and beyond is regarded as key to reducing harm, saving the lives of victims, and holding perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their actions.

On 12 June 2017 around 80 people attended the annual N8 PRP Knowledge Exchange Conference which gave delegates from academia, police and other agencies the opportunity to hear from leading experts from both the US and the UK about existing intervention programmes that are already having a positive impact in this area.

The Duluth Model

Scott Miller and Melissa Scaia gave an enthralling keynote address on The Duluth Model which has been hugely influential for many decades in the area of multi-agency working in domestic violence and abuse. The model focuses on working closely with victims, listening to their lived experiences and using knowledge gained through focus groups in the creation of new policies and procedures, thus allowing victims to directly influence intervention systems. These policies and procedures which are designed to hold offenders accountable are shared across all agencies involved, from first response through to the courts.

“Duluth model guides people to build interventions within systems that align with the lived experience of victims” – Melissa Scaia

Both speakers began the day explaining how The Duluth Model has been designed and how in its creation it identified not only the need to support victims more effectively but also perpetrators too, though without shifting blame and accountability. To address this, the programme offers change opportunities for court-ordered educational groups to men who batter. Around 260 men attend the offenders programme each year and on average 72% of those that attended had not reoffended within eight years, which shows the massive potential of the programme for reducing harm.

The real key to the success of The Duluth Model as Scott and Melissa described, is that the model recognises these types of offences are part of a pattern of behaviours used to control and dominate a partner. It tries to, through every avenue of the intervention system, deliver changes to societal norms that support men’s use of control over women. Alongside this, every step of the response process is tracked through every agency so that informed decision making can happen and staff are able to know the history and context of each case, and are hence able to support victims more effectively.

Multi-agency tasking and coordination Northumbria

Starting the afternoon sessions, DCI Deborah Alderson and Dr Pamela Davies presented on the Northumbria Multi-Agency Tasking and Coordination (MATAC) process. Much as The Duluth Model does, this process uses a variety of tactics in a bid to reduce harm and support victims.

Deborah began by talking delegates through how MATAC is set up, operated and supported by structured elements including: Identification of most harmful perpetrators through ‘Recency, Frequency, Gravity’ analysis; Domestic abuse toolkit; Voluntary domestic violence perpetrator programmes; and working with housing providers to focus on domestic abuse perpetrators. Through a mixed multi-agency approach Northumbria Police have achieved real success and early evaluation data has shown that

MATAC intervention has produced a 65% reduction in domestic abuse related reoffending and the social return for investment is £14.09 per £1 spent, which in an environment of austerity is staggering. Pamela Davies, who has been central to the evaluation of MATAC, highlighted some of the successes of the process attributing them to the integral partnership work. While challenging in its infancy, the development of collaborative approach to domestic abuse cases is central to shifting cultures and developing new procedures to ensure victim safety.

This presentation was a fantastic practical representation of how coordinated community response systems like The Duluth Model might translate to UK Force areas. Feedback given showed that delegates were pleased to have had the opportunity to see how this might work in their own force areas.

Great to hear about innovative local practice, challenges and possible partnership opportunities” – (delegate)

A challenging afternoon

The day continued with a series of group activities, firstly asking delegates to think about the key challenges they experience and the things they are proud of within their Force areas in relation to domestic abuse. This gave delegates a chance to discuss challenges and best practice activities across the N8 Police Forces and share existing knowledge with the following responses:


Proud of

· Multiple LA areas within same force area offering different services e.g. Perp programmes

· Volume of incidents – is abuse rising or is reporting increasing?

· How to reduce repeat victimisation

· Mixed practices and political challenges, working with OPCC

· Form filling – are they fit for purpose?

· Managing data quality

· Agency Cutbacks

· Evidencing what works

· Effective responses – balancing what victims need vs response questions


· Being able to have evidence led prosecutions (not requiring victim testimony)

· Hard work/multi-agency working

· Trying different approaches, e.g. perp focus, Operation Encompass

· Data quality

· IDVA service and remand courts

· Perpetrator work, e.g. Strength to Change


Finally Scott Miller returned to close the day with a fascinating and engaging session which tasked delegates with applying different theories to a domestic abuse situation. After watching a video produced by the Duluth team each of the groups were asked to comment on the situation laid out in front of them through ‘the eyes’ of a particular theory. This session really helped to reinforce the idea that while one person’s theory or perspective might help to identify certain triggers or behaviours, it is really a shared understanding that is needed to allow for an appropriate response to domestic abuse.

The Annual knowledge Exchange Conference is intended to aid the moment of knowledge and expertise across professional boundaries do develop a cumulative knowledge capacity which can be used to improve police practice. This year’s conference was a huge success and thought provoking discussions on the day will help inform activities over the next year of work for the N8 PRP.

“This was a fantastic, stimulating event. Thank you” – (delegate)

hen academia meets police custody: the practical and cultural aspects of police-academic partnerships’; Christian Mouhanna (Director of Cesdip, France) present on ‘Ethics in French police forces: research between professional interest and political pressure’; Adam White (University of Sheffield) and Imogen Hayat (Security Industry Authority) present on ‘Regulating private security: from tunnel vision to broad reflection’ (chair: Layla Skinns); James Sheptycki (York University, Canada) present ‘On, for and with “the police”; thinking about policing as a subject and object of interdisciplinary inquiry’; and finally Jenny Fleming (University of Southampton), Matthew Bacon (University of Sheffield) and Nick Fyfe (University of Dundee) discuss how to establish groupings ‘Behind the Scenes’.

On the third day, delegates saw Sarah Bennett (University of Queensland) and Insp Ian Thompson (Queensland Police) present on ‘Creating effective research partnerships, the Queensland experience’; Ben Bradford (University of Oxford) present on ‘Experiments in policing and the challenges of implementation’; and finally Adam Crawford (University of Leeds, N8 PRP Director) and Nicky Miller (College of Policing) discuss how to establish networks ‘Behind the Scenes’.

June 2016 - The Workforce of the Future in Policing

1 July 2016

On 8 June 2016 the N8 Policing Research Partnership hosted its first annual Knowledge Exchange conference, entitled ‘The workforce of the future in policing’.

The main aim of the partnership is to provide opportunities for research collaboration and knowledge exchange between the research, policy and policing practitioner communities. Hosted at Weetwood Hall in Leeds, this event was an chance to bring together policing professionals and academics from across the North of England in an open and lively dialogue, under one roof, to discuss the issues facing our future policing workforce and to explore ways we might think innovatively in responding to the challenges of the mix of skills, competencies and knowledge needs that the policing workforce of the future will require. The conference was widely attended by a wide range of police officers, representatives of Police and Crime Commissioners as well as leading academic and researchers. This was a thought-provoking day with a various presentations and workshops that stimulated debate and creative thinking.

Professor Adam Crawford, Director of the N8 PRP, opened the event and gave an introduction to the partnership and the work it has been doing. He asserted that the N8 PRP is about ‘developing practices, transforming cultures and changing the ways in which research evidence is produced, valued and applied’. He added that within this: ‘Knowledge exchange is about mobilising and harnessing the resources, assets, capabilities and skills that exist in abundance in our partner organisations and encouraging a flow of people and ideas across institutional boundaries’. He concluded by challenging delegates ‘to think differently’ and to engage in ‘long-term thinking in a generally short-sighted world’.

The key challenges

Chief Constable Sara Thornton CBE QPM, Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council opened a series of keynote speeches by first highlighting the importance of the N8 PRP, declaring that in order to face the challenges of the future we must bridge the gap between police and academics. Sara Thornton went on to outline boldly the key challenges that police forces will need to grapple with across four main areas. The first is operational; a more globalised and digitised world has had huge impacts on policing. We see this in the terrorist threats, in people trafficking, in organised crime, child sexual abuse and fraud. Crime has moved from the public to the private sphere as well as across borders and these new challenges are complex. Sara stressed the need to make sure staff are better informed in dealing with these challenges and the need to develop new skills among our existing staff and bring in people with new skills. The second challenge is financial; we have lost around 40,000 staff since the last spending review, however, proposed cuts will not be as harsh as we had expected and we must not use this as an excuse to stop changing and reforming. There is significant unmet demand in the system and the public have higher expectations.

The third challenge is cultural; legitimacy is a key issue for all public institutions. We know that in order to maintain legitimacy we need to act in a way which is procedurally just and we should not take our legitimacy for granted. We have done much to improve our ethical values in recent years but have we done enough? Have we created a working environment where challenge is encouraged? “we must value expertise, independent judgement and ethical values”. The final challenge is organisational. Here, Sara Thornton argued that traditional force structures are not designed for these new types of cross border network crimes she had outlined, stating that ‘The world is not hierarchical and crime is not hierarchical’. We need to collaborate and share capabilities, ‘Big people look forward and out, small people look down and protect’. While most of policing is done locally and identity, funding and democratic focus are local we do need to work together much more to protect the public. In concluding, Sara quoted a recent RSA report which suggested, ‘police officers need to be better connected, better equipped and better informed.’

Professionalisation and wellbeing

The second keynote speaker was Dr Ian Hesketh, Lancashire Constabulary and the College of Policing, he presented further focus on professionalization and staff wellbeing within the forces. He started by saying that: ‘This is all about people and looking after people should be top of the agenda’, arguing that a better wellbeing experience will result in a more professional service. Dr Hesketh asked the audience to reflect on the professionalisation of the service and what this might look like in the future, stressing the importance of getting this right. He challenged the current career pathways and asked that we rethink the ways we move police officers through the ranks. When faced with the new challenges in changing technology and diverse vulnerabilities we need to harness expertise quickly and he suggests we have a long way to go with this. Dr Hesketh stressed throughout the presentation the need for evidence based decision making in relation to the workforce and wellbeing, stating that ‘the old way isn’t always the best way’ and that we must innovate to succeed.

The ‘Internet of Things’

Professor Awais Rashid (Security Lancaster) captured the spirit of the ‘future’ giving his presentation to the conference by Skype on the subject of The Cloud and The Internet of Things and their implications for future policing and challenges to the workforce. He gave an eye-opening account of the vast landscape of cybercrime specifically drawing attention to the cloud and the challenges the police are faced with when dealing with cloud based crime. Crime is no longer local and static as we can access the cloud from anywhere and criminals can move from one cloud to another to remain undetected. This leave us with jurisdiction and surveillance issues and there will be a huge need for co-operation from private sector organisations to tackle this, however, this in itself will bring a challenge of maintaining a legitimate chain of evidence in a multi-agency network. Prof. Rashid also suggested that research might need to be done in looking at not just the crime itself in a reactive manner but also how cloud crime unfolds, looking for those ‘pinch points’ so that we can foster preventative policing and early intervention. Professor Awais also talked about the Internet of Things and the challenges of device-to-device communication. There are a huge amount of devices that can now gather, store and transfer data and this presents gaps in terms of evidence gathering. Yes the police do have mobile device forensics but they need to think more about the Internet of Things potentially moving data and evidence around a network of sensors and machines.

The wider labour market

Moving through the morning, Professor Chris Forde (Centre forEmployment Relations Innovation and Change, Leeds University Business School) gave the audience a snapshot of the wider labour market trends and what this might mean for the future policing workforce. He too highlighted the impact on the labour markets of changes in technology but argued that, rather than this new digitised environment meaning job losses, it would instead mean new types of jobs in the market and a need for new expertise. Professor Forde went on to discuss the need for better opportunities for progression within the forces. Interestingly, he pointed out that in a recent survey it was found that while many were proud of working within the police they would not recommend working there to others and for some this was because of the lack of reward and recognition. This sparked debate within the audience who asked how we might address this challenge. Professor Forde suggested that we need to develop a ‘positive psychological contract’ between the employee and employer. Maintaining the commitment and motivation of the policing workforce was vital, and whilst notions of a ‘job for life’ had clearly changed in recent years, employers still had important strategic choices to make about how to harness the potential of their employees. Accreditation of learning and skills was identified as one important mechanism for rewarding and recognising staff.

Policing and the end of professions

Our final speaker of the morning was Rick Muir, Director of the Police Foundation, who gave a bold, inspiring and somewhat disturbing presentation on the possible futures of policing through the lens of new technologies. He outlined the startling impact that new technologies have had, are having and may continue to have on the workforce of the future in policing. He began by suggesting to the audience that the changes we are experiencing now are as significant as those experienced in the industrial revolution. While some of the technology driven possible futures may seem dramatic, he argued that we should expect them to be so and to have far ranging impacts; hence, facing the challenges of the future will require a dramatic adjustment. Rick presented some insight on how professions within law, education and medicine are now under significant threat from technological advance through automation and policing may also be moving towards a ‘post professional world’. To illustrate this, he presented images of futuristic ‘Daleks’ and ‘Robocops’ that might actually pose a real threat to front-line policing. In some parts of the world such technologies are in existence and being experimented with already! However, Rick suggested that forces should look to break down what they do and identify where technology fits into this matrix. Then we can start to look at how we can work with and above these technological advances. Most importantly, he argued that unlike other professions, policing requires officers with ‘the capacity to take responsibility for moral judgments’. The public will ‘want another human being to have reflected upon and agonised over the decisions that matter and have moral weight’ and for that reason he suggests the police are uniquely less susceptible to automated replacement.


A series of breakout sessions followed in the afternoon, each one looking at a different aspect of the workforce and how the police might look to adapt when facing some of the challenges laid out in the morning’s talks. Below is an outline of some of the headline questions and messages for each workshop and the presentations for download.

Workforce for the ‘good’? Civilianisation and privatisation and its implications for ‘good’ police custody

Dr Layla Skinns and Lindsey Rice (UoSheffield)

This workshop discussed findings from the ESRC-funded ‘good’ police custody study (GPCS) based on over 500 hours of observation and nearly 100 interviews with police officers, CDOs (Custody Detention Officers) and detainees in four different types of police custody suites in four police force areas in England and Wales. The key areas looked at were:

  • The different roles and responsibilities of CDOs relative to police officers and the potential for ‘mission creep’ and ‘power creep’;
  • How police officers and CDOs understand and use their authority in police custody, as well as suspects’ responses to this;
  • The complexities of governance and accountability arrangements in police custody settings including public and private sector providers.

The audience agreed that the research presented was highly valuable to improving custody suites and that more work does not to be done on ‘soft’ power, participants felt that it is often a hard for CDOs to strike a balance as some may also be working as officers and find it difficult to move from one role to another with different approaches required. Other raised concerns over career development for CDOs as often more developed members of staff move on, taking the right skills with them and the group agreed this is something that should be addressed to improve the quality of care within custody suites.

Diversity: Are we asking the right questions? 

Inspector Gareth Stubbs (Lancashire Constabulary)

This was a thought provoking workshop which addressed some of the key issues in recruitment and understanding ‘representation’ in the police workforce. Grounded in research it looked at the idea that issues of representation may be less about ethnicity and more about access, or lack of, to information and contacts in the profession. The host challenged current recruitment processes with the question:

“Ultimately, if representation is about the behaviour expected of police officers in order to maintain legitimacy, what do prescriptive processes and systems do to our efforts to achieve it?”

The audience were taken with Inp. Stubbs’ refreshing and blunt look at diversity, where the forces are now and where they should be heading.

‘Citizens in Policing’ or Policing in Citizenship’

Brendan O’Brien (Bluelight Consultancy)

This workshop sought to open a dialogue to discuss and consider some of the possible ways of collaborating with communities to ease future demand. Brendan argued that communities should be involved in our approach to problem solving and that this was not only ‘desirbale’ but also ‘necessary’ to ease demand generation. The key areas explored were:

  • What is our concrete vision of the ‘dream’ scenario for our communities and how can what can we do NOW to move towards that?
  • Can we develop ‘covert’ roles to foster appreciative enquiry, meaning police are part of the community rather than separate from it?
  • Can ordinary people have a bigger part to play in solving community problems and do the police put enough value on this?

The audience wholly agreed that the communities they worked with were key to better problem solving and that this is a powerful message, often overlooked. Some that attended agreed that the approaches outlined in the workshop should be kept in mind when developing policing models.

Creativity, confidence and courage: Strategies to promote an innovative police workforce for the future 

Detective Inspector Andy Staniforth and David Donaldson (WYOPCC, West Yorkshire for Innovation)

West Yorkshire Police are often considered a flagship force for innovation and the Wyfi team delivered a highly engaging workshop which asked delegates to look inwardly to reflect and answer some key questions about innovation: What is ‘innovation’ in the context of policing? What are the barriers to innovation in policing? How can we create an innovative workforce of the future for policing?

Delegates initiated a thought provoking response and it quickly became clear that they mostly agreed on what it means to innovate and the best approaches to innovation in policing. Most notably in response to ‘what is innovation in the context of policing?’, participants suggested that at the core of innovation is an idea of continuous improvement and that innovation should be sustainable, evaluated, systemic, implemented and integrated. As discussions moved on it was agreed that despite some of the common barriers outlined during the session, that forces need to nurture self-belief, reduce bureaucracy and most importantly celebrate individuals.

The civilianisation of patrol and investigation: lessons from the past, challenges for the future 

Stuart Lister (UoLeeds) and Lindsey Rice (UoSheffield)

This workshop looked at the role of PCSOs and civilian investigation officers to see what we know now and what the challenges ahead might look like. It specifically focused on the Police Reform Act 2002 to ask what we have learnt from the introduction of PCSO’s, civilian investigators, detention officers and escort officers. The session highlighted the need for PCSOs to ‘patrol with a purpose’ and less so as ‘mobile scarecrows’ and for CIs the session highlighted the need for more training with better communication and implementation.

Delegates fed back that this was really important research focusing on developments around civilianisation which raised some interesting question about the future.

Adaptive leadership in practice 

Professor Stephen Brookes and Linda Reid (UoManchester, Business School)

This workshop looked at the impact of ‘wicked problems’ and how adaptive, intelligent leadership might overcome this through integrated problem solving.

The hosts used interactive workbooks to have participants think about the different levels of problems they might experience and what questions need to be asked to start the process of problem solving and decision making.

An NHS case study was used to reflect on the earlier discussion and highlight that in this case at least a ‘joined up’ approach to problem solving with the police and social agencies working together can result in wicked problems being more than a police problem.

Final words

The day was brought to an end with a panel discussion with the closing thoughts for the day.

Brendan O’Brien (Bluelight consultancy) highlighted the importance of translating research into the right language for the policing sector and suggested we might think about using someone within the community to disseminate research. He also suggested that the current system of recruitment can be ‘game played’ and we need to take that away and think about how we attract and identify the right people for recruitment. He ended by reminding the audience that, ‘all policing is neighbourhood policing’.

ACC Ken McIntosh (North Yorkshire Police) gave three final takeaway messages, firstly, that research in policing is so vast we first need to understand what it is we are doing internally through a strategic research assessment. Secondly, ‘we need to close the circle’, to find out, ‘what does this research mean to police practice’. Finally, we need to accept that with new crime types the current structures don’t work and need to adapt, innovate and celebrate ‘diversity of thought’.

Isla Campbell (College of Policing) touched again on the issues of diversity, asked that we celebrate difference and asked how do we attract new recruits who may not already be linked with policing world and further to that how do we get them to stay? Isla also suggested that we need to organise ourselves in a way that individuals can have a wider influence, so that one idea can be amplified and replicated in the workplace.

Professor Joanna Shapland (University of Sheffield) closed the panel with her thoughts on the challenges ahead stating that the task for the police is huge and diverse and will require specialist skills and knowledge. We might look to develop generalist officers, employ civilians or outsource works but there are issues with all. There may be no one answer but we need to think a workforce for the future not for the now.

See how the day unfolded with the twitter takeover, #N8KnowledgeXchange

Training and Learning Workshops

June 2019 Summer School - Research and its Impact on Policing
Jan 2017 - Vulnerabilities: Victims, offenders and situations

10 January 2017

There was a fantastic turn out and an invigorating day of debate and discussion at the final N8 PRP Training and Learning workshop for 2016 on Vulnerabilities: Victims, Offenders and Situations, organised by the Training and Learning strand, Lancaster University.

Over thirty delegates attended, with presenters sharing research, projects and theory on a myriad of aspects of vulnerability, from how the police should define, identify and respond to vulnerability; children in custody; women in prison who have been through the care system; the risk of re-victimisation for domestic abuse; situations of vulnerability; and the role of inequalities in vulnerability.

The event was attended by police, academics, social workers, the College of Policing, and public health workers: this diverse mix of attendees sparked deep discussion as the delegates contributed their own thoughts and experiences, with significant debate around the question of how vulnerability should be defined, what the police and other agencies, especially social services, roles are relation to vulnerability, and whether / how this is changing, especially in response to cuts in public sector spending.

The Forrest Hills Conference Centre provided a peaceful and beautiful backdrop for the day, most importantly providing a steady supply of tea, coffee and cake! On average the delegates scored the event 8 (out of 10) for relevance to their work and expecting it to have a lasting impact on their work, commenting: an extremely useful day; excellent knowledgeable speakers, good venue, excellent day; brilliant – really thought-provoking event and discussions; very stimulating environment – thank you; this was an excellent event; a brilliant day for my research!

The Training and Learning events for 2017 begin on February 15 with a workshop on Methods for Policing the Traffick. A one day workshop exploring Modern Slavery / Trafficking in Human Beings. 

Oct 2016 - Data Analysis, Management and Crime Mapping

30 September 2016

Delivered in Leeds by Lancaster University

Over forty people recently attended an N8 PRP workshop as part of the training and learning strand of the project. ‘Data Analysis, Management and Crime Mapping’ was part of a series of workshops aimed at developing research training and learning among police and partner agencies.

This was a hugely successful event which attracted delegates from police forces, academia, and other policing agencies.

Workshop aims

This event brought together practitioners and academics to discuss best practice and innovative approaches to analysing and managing data, as well as how data mapping techniques have been used to better understand crime patterns.

Topics covered during the event included:

  • Predictive modelling techniques and crime ‘hotspots’.
  • Measurement of crime data and its impact on our understanding of crime.
  • Theorising the causes of crime.
  • Agent-based modelling.
  • Practical application of research.

The workshop was started with a brief overview of the N8 PRP Data Analytics strand with plans for the future and information on how data analysts might further get involved with the project. If you would like more information on the Data Analytics strand then please contact Fiona McLaughlin.

This was followed by a series of workshops.

Jude Towers, Lancaster University – ‘The Concept and Measurement of Violent Crime’

The way we count has a significant impact on the data we collect, the methods we use to analyse it, the findings produced and thus what we know about the social world and how we design our research, policy and practice interventions. What or who is included or excluded, the boundary of our definitions, and the theory of change we seek to test and develop (whether implicit or explicit) are fundamental parts of the process and require critical examination.

Using a case study on violent crime, Dr Towers explored what happened when a statistical solution to a substantive problem was challenged and a new methodology developed for estimating violent crime using data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales. This new methodology takes full account of high frequency victimisation, and does not ‘cap’ the number of repeat victimisations counted in the way the official method does. The findings resulting from this new methodology suggest a reversal of the official trend and increasing rates of domestic violent crime, violent crime against women and ultimately in violent crime in England and Wales. This was a clear account of the importance of understanding how data has been collected and presented to inform new methodologies for analysing crime contextualised within a developing Theory of Change.

Dr Towers further supported a recurrent theme across all the talks – the need to theorise the causes of crime in order to prevent crime, thus the relationship between theorisation, the production and use of ‘evidence’ and theory-testing are crucial for effective evidence based policing.

Les Humphreys, Lancaster University – ‘Using the PNC as a means to measure and analyse organised crime’

Following on, Dr Les Humphreys also unpicked the process of measuring and analysing data in relation to organised crime, to provide results which might then effectively inform strategic leaders when considering particular organised crime priorities. Dr Humphreys used some of his recent work to highlight some of the key factors to consider when sampling and filtering data for analysis, highlighting this importance of first effectively defining your crime area and understanding the possible lack of standardisation in data collection. The presentation was a detailed review of a methodology to provide valuable empirical evidence to improve the evidence base for policy and tactical interventions, in this case in relation to organised crime but that might be translated to other areas of crime too.

Ken Pease, UCL and David Oldroyd, formerly West Yorkshire Police – ‘Growing Your Own: The Experience of Local Approaches to Predictive Patrolling’

Predictive modelling techniques have been utilised by police constabularies to tackle crime ‘hotspots’ and predict and then prevent crime. This presentation explored how police crime data can be used to estimate the probability that crime may be more likely to occur in a specific location at particular times and how this has been a useful basis for optimising resource allocation. In addition, how the analysis and management of data has been shown to be effective in the detection and prevention of specific crimes and the likelihood of repeat victimisation. The session looked at the example of Operation Optimal, which David headed. The obstacles to its implementation were identified. The success that Optimal achieved was only made possible by a process of continual review and revision of practice which calls into question the value of research designs which take an initiative as complete at the point of its launch.

Nick Malleson and Andy Evans, University of Leeds – ‘Agent-based modelling, ambient populations and models of burglar behaviour’

Dr Nick Malleson and Dr Andy Evans also looked at predictive modelling techniques through ‘agent-based modelling’. This looked at a computer simulation, developed by Dr Malleson, that can be used to simulate the behaviour of virtual people in a realistic urban environment (a virtual space with houses, roads, communities, railways etc). Within this virtual environment, components of can be tweaked to see how the crime system responds and thus can be used to determine what effects it could have on burglary rates and in forecasting expected crime areas or ‘hot-spots’. Agents within the model are developed using existing theory and this is continuously tested to provide statistical validation that these models do work. This is a forward facing, technological approach to
predictive policing and more work is also being done to see how this might be used beyond burglary to predict offender behaviour and to explore how geo-located social-media data can be used to further inform predictive models.

Scott Keay and Russell Clark, Lancashire Constabulary – ‘Appliance of science: the practical application of criminological research to the workplace’

Both Scott and Russell work on the community safety partnership panel at Lancashire Constabulary and provided the audience with examples of work already going on at Lancashire, stressing the importance of using datasets from a variety of agencies, understanding the interpretation and presentation of that data, and championing collaboration between academia and policing to help improve the understanding of harm and wider aspects of crime. The presentation looked specifically at geo-spacial analysis and some of the pitfalls of using maps as a predictive tool, arguing that maps alone should not inform practice and should be framed with theory as part of a wider evidence based approach to be effectively translated into practical action. This convincingly highlighted the need for a more holistic approach to underpin effective decision making.

Lancashire are using a variety of methods to encourage evidence based practice (EBP):

  • EBP cafes – Targeting front line officers to inform and engage to promote leadership from the bottom up.
  • Academic review exercise – Each member of the team produce an academic review each month. This provides continuous professional development and ensures knowledge of up to date research
  • 8 step approach – Using eight points that are essential for successful initiatives: Community focused (with local commitment); Theory based (based on sound research); Specific purpose (clear objectives); Innovative / creative; Evaluation criteria set out prior to implementation; Evaluation conducted; Sufficient resources to deliver; Exit strategy.
  • Research framing – Investing in academia and engaging with students and volunteers to produce lit reviews and work with analysts.

The presentation provided a case study which looked at ‘An evidence based approach to predicting risk areas for domestic burglary’ . This showcased the effectiveness of the approaches that had been outlined during the session, showing the practical implementation of existing theory to increase the forces predictive power. The Triple-T strategy (Sherman, 2013) was suggested to be a strong approach, using targetting, testing and tracking as a basis for this model.

For further information please contact Russel Clark

Further reading:

Context and spatial nuance inside a neighborhood’s drug hotspot: Implications for the crime–health nexus – Curtis et al.


During roundtable discussion delegates were asked to think about their top three priorities for their own future training needs, an evaluation of the topics suggested will inform a series of further workshops over the coming months. A timetable of forthcoming events with details of how to register will be published in the next newsletter.

In the meantime if you have further feedback on the training and learning strand, including suggestions for training and learning events get in touch with the acting Training and Learning strand lead Dr Jude Towers at Lancaster University: j.towers1@lancaster.ac.uk

The Training and Learning strand will also be launching a programme of research to identify current training and learning practices in the N8 PRP and ways in which these can be supported and developed by the N8 PRP project – further details in the next newsletter…

“Through our programme of training and learning we are seeking to enhance the research skills and use of evidence among policing partners, to secure research impact and to maximise the practical benefits to policing innovation and exploitation of data.”

Professor Adam Crawford, N8 PRP Director

March 2016 - Exploring Evidenced Based Policing Workshop
2 March 2016

Over forty people recently attended an N8 PRP pilot workshop as part of the training and learning strand of the project. ‘Exploring Evidenced Based Policing’ was part of a series of workshops aimed at developing research training and learning among police and partner agencies.

This was a hugely successful event which attracted delegates from police forces, academia, College of Policing and other policing agencies.

Workshop aims

The aim of the programme was to engage participants in a debate around the concept and practice of Evidence Based Practice and this event followed on from an earlier event delivered by Professor Stuart Kirby.

Topics covered during the event included:

  • a National Perspective on policing;
  • a consideration of the evidenced and use of evidence based policing;
  • use of the Maryland Scale;
  • quantitative approaches;
  • researching the sex industry using qualitative approaches;
  • identification of repeat victims.

“Through our programme of training and learning we are seeking to enhance the research skills and use of evidence among policing partners, to secure research impact and to maximise the practical benefits to policing innovation and exploitation of data.”

Professor Adam Crawford,N8 PRP Director


Presenters were drawn from Her Majesties Inspectorate of Policing, police constabularies, University College London, N8 and Leeds University, Lancaster University, the Society of Evidence Based Policing and UCLaN.

ACC Mark Bates, Lancashire Constabulary – NW NPCC Regional Evidence Based Policing Lead

ACC Bates has lead on a series of programmes for force change and drawing upon his experience gave an address which looked at the following areas for exploration:

  • Evidenced based decision making
  • Promoting confidence in policing
  • NW region evidence based collaboration – The Hub
  • An academic evidence base for public service not ‘silo’ services and research.
  • Mutual benefits of evidence based policing
  • Well-being, development, partnership working.

Mike Cunningham, QPM, HMIC – HMIC: The national perspective

Mike is currently responsible for forces in the North of England and Northern Ireland and national portfolios of work including police efficiency, legitimacy and leadership.

At the workshop he presented the findings of a recent assessment of all 43 forces which will support the development of an evidenced baseline against which forces can be measured.

Dr Stuart Kirby, University of Central Lancashire – The challenge of implementation

Stuart first enjoyed a career with Lancashire Police holding various posts and commanding many overt and covert policing operations as well as being a hostage negotiator. After retiring in 2007 he moved to Lancaster University to lecture in Criminology before finally moving on to UCLAN as Professor of Policing and Criminal Investigation.

Stuart’s address looked at environments within forces and the challenges of implementing new work models. His work highlights that ‘It is not the level of resources, but how they are used, that determines effectiveness’.

Dr Aiden Sidebottom, University College London – How do we know what works? Introducing EMMIE

Aiden’s main research interests are evidence-based policing, situational crime prevention and crime prevention evaluation. His recent research has focused on methods of synthesising research evidence to better inform crime prevention policy and practice, undertaken in collaboration with the UK College of Policing in support of the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction.

Aiden’s presentation looked at the use of tools and scoring systems can help to identify the quality of research evidence, specifically using the What Works Centre Crime Reduction Toolkit to draw upon reliable and relevant evidence.

Dr Carly Lightowlers, University of Leeds – UAF policing data analytics

Dr Carly Lightowlers is an Academic Fellow in Policing Data Analytics and delivers on the Data Analytics strand of the N8 Policing Research Partnership at the University of Leeds.

At the workshop Carly presented the key challenges and objectives of the N8 PRP data analytics strand. This focused on the opportunity for forces to improve their processes through data analysis and the benefits of enhanced data sharing.

Dr Sarah Kingston, Lancaster University – Researching the sex industry

Sarah is a lecturer in criminology with over 12 years experience of conducting research into the sex industry as well as experience of providing outreach services to sex workers.

Her presentation highlighted the challenges and barriers to research within this field, exploring which research methods can help us to better understand the standpoint, experiences and attitudes of those involved in, or affected by the sex industry.

Dr Jude Towers, GradStat, Lancaster University – New findings from the crime survey for England and Wales

Jude’s expertise lies within domestic violence and violent crimes and her research interest in developing theories of causal pathways of different forms of violence and to what extent these are shared or differentiated is particularly focused on the links between inequality and violence.

Using data from the crime survey for England and Wales her presentation explored research methodologies for measuring violent crime, how to asses trends in violent crime and to what extend we should be counting reported crimes.

Roger Pegram, Greater Manchester Police – Society of evidence based policing

Roger is currently the evidence based practice lead for Greater Manchester Police, Having worked in policing for 16 years he is also the regional coordinator for the North West of England for the Society of Evidence Based Policing.

At the workshop Roger gave a presentation on SEPB objectives, discussing the following key objectives:

  • Increased use of best available research evidence to solve policing problems
  • The production of new research evidence by police practitioners and researchers
  • Communication of research evidence to police practitioners and the public


Feedback from delegates on the day was extremely positive, there was enthusiasm and demand to see future workshops looking further at data analytics as well as more on evidence based practice. There are plans to roll out similar events in relation to these topics.

For more information about our training and learning strand please contact: Cheryl Simmil-BinningCorinne May-Chahal or Ian Paylor

2013-2014 Initiation Events

Events that initiated N8 PRP and produced using funding from the College of Policing.

March 2014 - Research Priorities Workshop

24 March 2014

At a special event today at the University of Leeds, participants discussed ways in which partnerships can generate new ideas for research, test methods and techniques for tackling crime and contribute to knowledge exchange. The N8 already has a strong track record in creating pioneering research collaborations in science and engineering by forging strong links with industry and bringing companies and academics together in key challenge areas. Now, this expertise is helping to shape innovative approaches to policing.

Earlier this year the N8 established the N8 Policing Research Partnership (N8PRP) – a new network for evidence-based policing. With funding from the College of Policing, the N8PRP is creating a new regional hub for policing research, made up of academics working with police officers, Police and Crime Commissioners and partner organisations to build their knowledge of evidence-based research and provide opportunities to start research in their own area of expertise, which can then be shared with their colleagues across the country.

At the event, delegates discussed research priorities in eight key areas:

  • Community Engagement
  • Cyber crime
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Serious and organised crime
  • Domestic violence
  • Critical incident decision making
  • Public order and crowd management
  • Policing partnerships

Prof Adam Crawford, from the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies in the School of Law, University of Leeds, is leading the N8 PRP for the N8. He said:

“Policing, community safety, and crime prevention have all gone through unprecedented change in recent years. Building collaborations, fostering innovation and enhancing knowledge exchange between partners are recurring themes of good practice supported by research evidence. Today’s event has been a key milestone for the N8PRP as we look for new ways to address a number of issues relating to policing in the 21st century.

The feedback from today has shown us that there is a significant opportunity to draw on the collective and individual research strengths of the N8 and the experience of police practitioners and policy makers in order to open up and develop a high quality evidence-base.”

Among the speakers at today’s event were Professor Dame Shirley Pearce, Chair of the College of Policing and Sir Peter Fahy QPM, Chief Constable, Greater Manchester Police.

Professor Dame Shirley Pearce, Chair of the College of Policing, said:

“I am delighted that the College is supporting the N8 Policing Research Partnership. It’s a truly collaborative approach bringing together practitioners, academics, Police and Crime Commissioners and others; working to increase the evidence base available in some of the highest priority areas for the police and public today.

“It will take time to effect the change required for policing to get to a position where it is truly an evidence-based profession and it is something the College of Policing is committed to. It is essential we have good evidence to ensure those working in policing are making the most robust decisions, using precious resources in the most effective way possible and better protecting the public. Partnerships like the N8 will be important in this overall success.”

Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable for Greater Manchester Police, said:

“Given that we will have fewer resources in the future, it is crucial that high-quality research informs the choices we will need to make. We need a clearer view of what works and why, and what is the evidence behind different police strategies.

“It is good to see how this group of universities have come together so that we can share expertise and commission new work for the public good. Policing needs to be more thoughtful and considered in the future, and build its reputation for professional practice.”

Also among the N8PRP partners are the Police and Crime Commissioners. Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, said:

“It is vital that we work closely with our academic partners in order to develop effective, evidenced based strategies for tackling crime and community problems. This will ensure the best return for the investments, and efforts, made by the Police and our partners, both statutory and voluntary.”

The N8 PRP brings together world-leading research expertise from a range of social sciences such as criminology, business studies, psychology, law and urban geography to address policing issues locally, nationally and internationally. The event today followed a series of thematic workshops which took place throughout February and March and were aimed at identifying gaps in the evidence base relating to how policing is conducted.

March 2014 - Community Engagement Workshop

5 March 2014, University of Leeds

Feb 2014 - Policing Partnerships Workshop


Dec 2013 - Launch Workshop

9 December 2013

The N8 Policing Research Partnership (N8 PRP) was launched at a workshop held at the University of Leeds with Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and their representatives from across the north of England.

The purpose of the N8 PRP is to enable and foster high quality, independent research and to facilitate research-based contributions to public debate, policing policy, governance and practice.

The strategic collaboration will provide a range of opportunities for conducting research that helps address the problems of policing in the 21st century in new ways and provide the basis for programmes of knowledge exchange, training and innovation. Key priorities to be explored include:

  • Cyber-crime
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Serious and organised crime
  • Domestic violence
  • Public order and crowd management
  • Critical incidents decision-making, and
  • Partnerships and community engagement.


Professor Adam Crawford, of the School of Law, is leading the project for the University of Leeds. He said:

“This is a great opportunity for us to do something novel with national and international significance, which draws on the strength of the eight institutions involved to generate an evidence-base of high quality research on which policing professionals can draw.

“We are keen to experiment with models of co-production in which researchers, police practitioners and policy-makers all have a stake.”

Fraser Sampson, the Chief Executive of West Yorkshire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner said that the engagement event held at the University of Leeds had been “purposeful and energetic” and that the N8 PRP offered some “real strategic potential”.

Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham Constabulary, said:

“The value of academic research is that it is very robust. If you’re investing time and money then you’ve got to be sure you’re getting the outcomes that you want for policing. The N8 will help guide this.”

Steve Heywood, Assistant Chief Constable, Greater Manchester Police and ACPO representative, commented:

“There is a huge opportunity for N8 to be a significant influence on government policy going forward. With evidence based innovation we have an opportunity to influence significantly.”

World-leading research expertise from a range of social sciences such as criminology, business studies, psychology, law and urban geography will be used to address policing issues locally, nationally and internationally.

At the launch, Rachel Tuffin, Head of Research, Analysis and Information at the College of Policing said:

“There are lots of gaps in the evidence base for the way policing is conducted and we hope that the N8 group will help fill those gaps.”

As well as incorporating a mix of empirical and theoretical approaches, research will be non-exclusive, making it open to the involvement of diverse perspectives and other academic and non- academic partners.

Public engagement will also be fostered, both during research and in dissemination. The intention of this is to produce knowledge that has a public purpose and tackles crime using innovative and novel methods.