News archive

Browse our older news stories by year.

2018 news archive

Pursuing partnerships in policing north of the border: Contribution to a Police Scotland executive session

27 November 2018

Adam Crawford, Director of the N8 PRP, contributed to the Edinburgh Executive Session on ‘Prevention and Partnerships’ organised by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and Police Scotland on 20 November 2018. The event was held in the august surroundings of the Nelson Room at St Leonard’s Hall, University of Edinburgh.

Police Scotland has recently undertaken a detailed programme of reform and published its future vision in Policing 2026. This will bring about a significant reshaping and refocusing of Police Scotland’s internal structure, strategy and operations. A core part of this programme is to revise and enhance its work with partner organisations with a view to enabling a preventive orientation throughout the work of the organisation.

The Edinburgh Executive Session brought together an international group of researchers and practitioners in this area of police work to:

  • Establish the current level of knowledge on partnerships in prevention;
  • Describe the wider legislative and policy context in which partnerships operate in Scotland;
  • Share current experiences and best practice in partnership work (nationally and internationally);
  • Consider the draft Partnership Strategy being developed in Police Scotland;
  • Explore how best to measure the success of this strategy.

The day’s deliberations were hosted by Richard Whetton, Head of Partnerships and Collaboration at Police Scotland and Dr Megan O’Neill, Associate Director of SIPR. From within Police Scotland, it was attended by Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham and Chief Superintendent John McKenzie among others, as well as Dr Liz Aston, Director of SIPR.

Professor Adam Crawford and Professor James Millar (Edinburgh University and member of the Christie Commission) began the first session setting out some of the challenges and opportunities presented in forging greater partnership working in policing. Professor Millar drew on the experiences of the Christie Commission in Scotland and public policy developments since then and Professor Crawford explored some of the conceptual and practical issues raised by adopting a genuinely networked approach to policing.

The day also heard contributions from police partnerships in the Nordic region from Superintendent Jari Taponen, Head of Preventative Policing Unit, Helsinki Police Department and Gunnar Applegren, Swedish Police on lessons for inter-agency working from Project Mareld in Stockholm, a project to reduce gun violence in an area of multiple deprivation.

In the afternoon discussion, led by Rick Muir Director of the Police Foundation, contributions from Dr Tim Curtis (Northampton University) and Richard James from Intensive Engagement focused on partnerships from an Asset Based Community Development approach and its relevance for policing.

The day concluded with reflections and discussions of next steps for Police Scotland. The opportunities for greater collaboration between SIPR and the N8 PRP were also discussed.

A word or two from the Director ...

26 November 2018

I was recently invited to give a presentation to the N8 Research Partnership Board of Directors – the Vice Chancellors and their deputies from the eight universities that make up our N8 partnership – to tell the Board about the development, activities and achievements of the N8 PRP. This gave me an opportunity to reflect upon the journey travelled over the last 5 years or so, and how far we have come in that time in delivering on our aims and ambitions. On a range of fronts, the N8 PRP is now beginning to transform the ways in which researchers engage with policing partners in research co-production, as well as how policing practitioners utilise evidence that is rigorous and relevant.

Asked to single out three significant successes from our broad array of activity strands – never an easy task and always somewhat invidious – I highlighted the following which seem worth sharing:

First, I have been struck but the incredible successes generated from the ‘small grant’ scheme which has demonstrated how significant – curiosity-driven and application-oriented – research findings with considerable impact can be fostered with small levels of investment and a large dose of enthusiasm, commitment and institutional support from within a partnership framework that nurtures knowledge co-creation. By putting in place a rigorous selection process and supportive infrastructure – or ‘scaffolding’ (see my introduction to our Annual Report) – we have been able to assist the development and flourishing of great research collaborations, ideas and knowledge co-production between practitioners and researchers. It is gratifying to see how some projects have gone on to change frontline practices far beyond their initial test-beds and others have proceeded to capture follow on grants that will enhance knowledge, learning and practice. Having funded eight completed projects (Summary Reports are available here) and four other projects that are ongoing, I am now looking forward to reading through the next round of applications (closing date 17 January 2019, which I am sure will be another outstanding crop of excellent ideas. The published summary reports from each small grant, rightly deserve wide readership, and I look forward to the next batch in 2019.

Second, the Data Specialists CPD skills programme that was launched earlier this year – with a first cohort of 33 data analysts from all participating force areas – is a great example of collaboration between the Training and Learning strand (Lancaster) and the Data Analytics strand (Leeds) with significant support from Humberside Police, to identify a really valuable opportunity to develop skills and human capital within policing. This unique CPD programme brings together policing analysts and researchers and draws upon the latest techniques, methods and thinking in academia and policing. Following substantial positive feedback, the programme will be rolled out annually from early 2019 to the N8 PRP partner forces.

Third, the annual Policing Innovation Forum has come to constitute a major event in the calendar and a dynamic ‘engine’ of innovation at the heart of the overall N8 PRP programme, fostering new research-practice synergies, identifying novel research opportunities, stimulating knowledge exchange and driving innovation. They provide an engagement platform at which key partners around a particularly topical issue of policing – set by the Steering Group – are brought together to explore forms of innovation, partnerships and collaboration that are engendered by the very nature of the policing problem itself. The recent Innovation Forum on ‘Policing Mental Health’ was an excellent example of precisely such an urgent topic for policing and one which demands a partnership approach, as reflected in the debates and discussions (see here).

Additionally, it has been a real privilege for me, as a member of the Steering Group, to hear about the wonderful research work that is being done by our N8 PRP collaborative PhD studentships. The Steering Group has benefited from the insights that each of the researchers have received in terms of privileged access to data and people in the course of their studies. I look forward to reading the summary reports that these PhDs will generate over the forthcoming year or so.

Returning to the N8 Board meeting, it was gratifying to receive the level of support, encouragement and commitment from the N8 Board members for us to continue on our bold and ambitious journey. Whilst we have come far in building our solid relations and secure working practices and principles, we still have much to do. The Data Analytics Digital Service (DADS) has now been launched and we need to exploit the undoubted opportunities that this affords. There is still more do to in agreeing data sharing processes and protocols and in untapping the data resources to underpin research co-production. It is my genuine expectation that the data mobilisation event scheduled for 15 January 2019 in Leeds will help us do more of this in the future.
As we plan and explore opportunities for new funding to underpin the next 5 years of our development beyond the Catalyst grant, which comes to an end in mid-2020, I am heartened that the collective enthusiasm to sustain and enhance what we have developed together over recent years has grown brighter with each step along the journey and is reflective of the commitment and enthusiasm for research-informed change and enhanced collaboration across the partnership.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage colleagues – both practitioners and academics – to use the N8 PRP Register of Expertise either by registering a new entry or by regularly updating your existing entry. In my conversations with colleagues around the country from, for example, the HMICFRS, the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST), the Police Foundation and Police Scotland, as well as on my international visits, it is clear that they see this resource as a vital asset and portal through which identify scholars and practitioners working in particular fields of policing with whom they might wish to consult or engage. The more this becomes a useful tool, the more it will be a used resource.

Adam Crawford, Director

Policing mental health is at crisis point – N8 PRP hosts Fourth Annual Policing Innovation Forum

22 November 2018

The UK lead for mental health and policing has said that greater provision is needed to tackle a crisis that the police have increasingly been expected to cope with.

At the N8 Policing Research Partnership’s annual Policing Innovation Forum, Mark Collins, chief constable for Dyfed-Powys Police and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) lead for Mental Health and Policing, said that the police had become the “24/7 default service” for mental health crises and new approaches are urgently needed.

Chief Constable Collins said that questions over systems of support in approaching mental health issues have to be addressed: “Certainly in terms of mental health it would be wrong of me to say that that’s [resources] not an issue.

“There are more resources needed in mental health and I think that is recognised. The government, in the recent budget, has given £2bn extra [as part of a £20bn package for the NHS], but some will say that’s not enough and it goes no way to plugging the gap of what’s actually needed for mental health provision.

“It has to be about resources, of course it does, especially in terms of police officers. My control room is often contacted and asked if they can you go and see a particular individual who is in crisis because there is no one else to send.

“That can’t be right, we are not equipped, we are not trained, we are not the right people to go and deal with people having a mental health breakdown or a period of crisis.

“The last thing I would want for one of my family members to see if they called for help is a police officer turning up in full uniform with kit and equipment on. That surely must add to their crisis.”

More than 80 representatives from policing, academia and the third sector attended the Innovation Forum at Lancaster University, convened to investigate new ways of improving services, reducing demand and keeping people safe in policing mental health.

Chief Constable Collins’ comments followed his keynote speech to delegates on ‘Demand, Data and Diversity’ in which he said: “Demand on the service is ever increasing – we are at a crisis point. My colleague Andy Rose in Lancashire has spoken about a crisis in mental health services for his county, other police chief colleagues will agree with that, so we really need to look at the demand on us – we are the 24/7 default service and we are filling in the gaps for other agencies and organisations that can’t fulfil their obligations in terms of supporting vulnerable people with mental health.

“We have a lack of consistent data across the UK in policing around mental health and the demand on the service and we can only get that in our liaison with academics, universities and other partner agencies. The more support we can get, the better understanding we will have on the demand on policing and that’s why events like this are really important.”

CC Collins’ comments were supported by Michael Brown OBE, NPCC Mental Health co-ordinator, in giving an international context to policing mental health: “My sense of it is that we are all talking about the same stuff, all have the same problems. The countries might put the problems in a different order of priority, but they are all doing essentially the same things to try and solve them.

“It’s about how the police can respond better in the future to mental health-related incidents and reduce deaths in custody, criminalisation, use of force, but it mustn’t obscure the bigger picture about why every country over relies on their police system and their criminal justice system to provide crisis responses and containment of people with mental illness.

“In the last 50 years we have massively deinstitutionalised the mental health care that we have in this country and if we had appropriate community support we would be fine. The lessons though seem to be, around the world that nowhere has put enough resources into community mental health care and inevitably the police and the other emergency services are picking up the consequences of under-funded, under-effective community mental health care.”

The aim of the N8 Policing Innovation Forum is to bring together key academics, police and other stakeholders together to discuss contemporary challenges in policing and look to develop innovative, practical, and evidence-based solutions.

Dr Stephen Brookes, University of Leeds, N8 PRP and Strand Lead for the Policing Innovation Forum said: “The demand on the police, as a 24/7 service, by virtue of encounters with those presenting with mental health conditions is huge and the forum looked at innovative and practical ways to reduce repeat calls for service where mental health is a component, by focusing on the identification of unmet needs and working with other parties and organisations to address them.

“Keeping people safe is a joint aim of both policing and healthcare but responsibility for this extends beyond just the police service and the healthcare sector. Many voluntary and third sector organisations provide invaluable support, but the complexity of networks and identification of effective pathways remain elusive.”

The morning featured key note sessions by NPCC lead for mental health Chief Constable Mark Collins and NPCC mental health coordinator, Michael Brown OBE.

This was followed by Dan Thorpe (South Yorkshire Police) introducing a short piece of footage from a body-worn camera showing officers responding to a mental health crisis. Delegates were then treated to a short role play scenario which showed an officer who was involved in the incident discussing the role of police in responding to people experiencing a mental health crisis with their Inspector. Delegates were asked a series of questions about the interaction which lead to lively debate on how the the police services role is changing and what needs to be done in the future.

During the afternoon session delegates had the opportunity to attend two of a number of workshops on offer:

In a closing session, the workshop convenors summarised their sessions for the benefit of those who had not attended, and Dr Geoff Pearson from the N8 PRP reminded delegates of the opportunities the N8 PRP offers for practitioner and academic partnerships who wish to engage in research, training, or knowledge exchange

Launch of the 2018/19 Small Grants

8 November 2018

8 November 2018 marks the opening of the submission window for applications to the 2018/19 Small Grants process. The application period closes on 17 January 2019 and award decisions will be made by N8 PRP Steering Group in late March 2019. The purpose of the Small Grant Awards is to provide pump-priming funds to support research into targeted and important areas of policing work, where the gaps in knowledge are most prominent and where research benefits are of greatest value.

Submissions should showcase strong co-production in the development of a unique research proposal. We welcome jointly produced applications from teams of researchers and policing practitioners for funding of up to £25,000 for innovative research projects.

Findings reports from our previous Small Grant projects can be viewed on our website.

We are particularly keen to encourage applications that address one or more of the following:

  • The theme of Policing Mental Health: Improving services, reducing demand, and keeping people safe
  • Aligned with one of the N8 PRP strand themes
  • The challenges of emerging or new technologies

Applications should present original and innovative ideas for research co-production.

  • Up to £25K per application
  • Applications will be subject to rigorous internal and external review
  • Projects commence May 2019
  • Funding is available for up to 12 months
Policing mental health: Improving services, reducing demand, and keeping people safe

11 October 2018

10 October, World Mental Health Awareness Day.

Have a look around you; one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

This is a fact that MIND, the most well-known mental health charity in England and Wales tell us. Founded in 1946 (two years before the creation of the NHS), they advise that:

“We all need to take care of our mental health and wellbeing whether we have a mental health problem or not”

MIND further describe mental wellbeing in terms of how we are feeling and how well we can cope with day-to-day life.

“It can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year”.

Now imagine that you are a police officer on patrol in the early hours of the morning. What are the chances that a person presenting with mental health conditions will come into contact with you? The police are on duty 24/7 and the encounters between officers and those suffering from mental health are very common indeed. Some of the symptoms will be obvious but many more will be hidden.

How would you deal with this encounter and what impact will that encounter have on the person suffering from mental health?

This is just one of the questions that will be explored at our fourth annual N8 Policing Research Partnership Police Innovation Forum on 8 November at Lancaster University.

In 2017, research published by the National Development Team for inclusion, in collaboration with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust[1], highlighted the importance of improving social networks and prevent social isolation for people with mental health problems but tell us that previous research findings were patchy. Effectiveness of supported housing and accommodation, encouraging meaningful activity for people with mental health problems and methods to prevent social isolation for people with mental health problems are appropriate interventions but more research is needed on the effectiveness of interventions to reduce or prevent loneliness and social isolation specifically for people with mental health problems.

Equally, social isolation can lead to mental health problems, so the problem needs to be tackled in both directions. Social, and not just therapeutic or clinical interventions are needed.

It is so important to ensure that the earliest possible intervention at the lowest appropriate level is delivered to help promote recovery to those coming into contact with police presenting mental health conditions as it is a police officer who is more than likely going to be the ‘gatekeeper’ to these interventions. Other questions will seek to explore how services can be improved to keep people safe while also reducing unnecessary or inappropriate contact with the police.

The aim of the Police Innovation Forum is to bring together key academics, police and other stakeholders together to discuss contemporary challenges in policing and look to develop innovative, practical, and evidence-based solutions.

The demand on the police – as a 24/7 service – by virtue of encounters with those presenting with mental health conditions is huge and the forum will be looking at innovative and practical ways to reduce repeat calls for service where mental health is a component, by focusing on the identification of unmet needs and working with other parties and organisations to address them. Keeping people safe is a joint aim of both policing and healthcare but responsibility for this extends beyond just the police service and the healthcare sector. Many voluntary and third sector organisations provide invaluable support, but the complexity of networks and identification of effective pathways remain elusive.

The forum will start with a keynote address from Chief Constable Mark Collins who is the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) lead for mental health and Michael Brown OBE, the NPCC mental health coordinator.

Professional actors will then play out a scenario based on a real-life encounter which explores the real challenges faced by those police officers who police our streets and highlights the difficulties that emerge in determining the most appropriate response and intervention. A facilitated discussion will then take place in which the opportunities for improvement of services and integrated approaches to reduce unnecessary or inappropriate contact with the police will be explored but with a dual focus on identifying unmet needs and ensuring that mechanisms for referral to the appropriate agencies is available.

In the afternoon, a series of parallel workshops are available for delegates to attend. This will include an exploration by Michelle Addison of Newcastle Univerisity of Novel Psychoactive Substance (NPS) use and its consequences for police practitioners and substance users which has a direct impact on encounters with the police. Jane Senior from the University of Manchester and Ian Cummings from the University of Salford will ask a key question; “Mental health is police core business – or is it?

Nicola Moran (University of York) will provide insight on mental health training for front-line police through an evaluation of a training package for North Yorkshire Police. Supporting this, a different insight will be offered by Steve Baker of Northumbria Police and Claire Andre from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation in relation to the ‘RESPOND’ programme, which is a multi-agency mental health training programme. A further workshop will be jointly led by Dan Thorpe from South Yorkshire Police and Michael Brown OBE from the College of Policing in showcasing force innovations to assist police forces in tackling mental health demands.

We hope that the outcome of the forum will lead to a range of innovative and exciting ideas to achieve the objectives of improving services, reducing demand, and keeping people safe. The Small Grants Awards open call for 2018 will also be launched at the forum. The aim of the small grants is to provide pump-priming funds to support research into targeted and important areas of policing work and areas where the gaps in knowledge are most prominent and where research benefits are of greatest value. Ideas generated via the ‘Policing Innovation Forum’ activity strand are particularly welcomed and we hope that we will be able to encourage partners to take forward ideas from the forum and apply for small grant funding.

[1] Introduction to the research on: the effectiveness of supported housing and accommodation for people with mental health problems, Dr Naomi Harflett, Yasmin Jennings and Kate Linsky, © 2017 National Development for Inclusion,

Written by Dr Stephen Brookes, N8 PRP and Strand Lead for the Policing Innovation Forum.

N8 PRP recruiting a research fellow/officer in data analytics

26 September 2018

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for your next challenge? Do you have a background in Information Management? Do you want to further your career in one of the UK’s leading research-intensive Universities?

We are seeking to appoint a talented and highly motivated research fellow to join the new N8 Policing Research Partnership Catalyst project entitled ‘Innovation and the Application of Knowledge for More Effective Policing’. This has been established with funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and policing partners. The successful candidate will work with the strand of the project that focuses on Data Analytics.

The strand supports the delivery of training, undertakes research and supports collaboration and knowledge exchange between policing colleagues and academics in the area of data science and data analytics.

The aim of the project is to better understand how the N8 police forces are responding to developments in data science. You will draw together practice from across the 11 forces and provide a repository of evidence. It is envisaged that the research will underpin the future work for the data analytics strand and inform policing policy and practice. The work will also be expected to contribute to current scholarly discourse on datafication and critical data research.

You will undertake work with Professor Allen, Dr Nick Malleson and Fiona McLaughlin by undertaking research which supports the development of the DADS and data analytics/ data science in N8 police services.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact:

Professor David Allen, Professor

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 7015; email:

Or Dr Nick Malleson, Associate Professor

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 5248; email:

N8 PRP at the Police Foundation Annual Conference 2018

19 September 2018

Police Foundation Annual Conference: Innovation and learning in policing, 24 October 2018

This year Professor Adam Crawford (University of Leeds and Director of the N8 PRP), together with Rebecca Tennyson-Mason (West Yorkshire Police) and Dr Charlotte Barlow (Lancaster University), will lead a ‘breakout’ session at the conference on the work of the N8 PRP.

The session will explore how the police can work with academics to improve policing. By way of introduction, Adam will provide an overview of the aims and workings of the partnership, with observations from Rebecca on opportunities and challenges of police-academic partnerships, while Charlotte will provide insights into the N8 PRP funded Small Grant project ‘Police Responses to Coercive Control’ which she was involved in, its impacts and outcomes.

With demand going up and resources going down it is vital that police forces are able to try out new ideas and test different ways of working. Innovation is vital if policing is to become more efficient and capable of keeping pace with social and technological change. These ideas are central to the aims and ethos of the N8 PRP and projects which push innovation and collaboration into new areas are ones we continues strive to find and support

The Police Foundation’s 9th Annual Conference will explore how to equip police, other professionals and organisations to try out new ideas and learn from their results.

The conference will include keynote speeches from some of the best leaders, thinkers and practitioners in policing, alongside break-out sessions which will explore practical tools for unlocking innovation and learning in police forces and local communities

The conference will hear from Professor Lawrence Sherman on the 20th anniversary of his lecture that launched the ‘Evidence Based Policing’ movement. He will assess the progress over the last two decades and reflect on the relationship between innovation, learning and evidence.

Mike Cunningham the new Chief Executive of the College of Policing will discuss what the College will do over the next few years to support local innovation and spread learning throughout the police service.

Former Small Grant Recipients secure ESRC research grant

29 August 2018

Former recipients of an N8 PRP Small Grant have recently secured further funding to continue their research into the complex and under researched problem of modern slavery.

‘The Perpetrators of Modern Slavery Offences: Motivations, Networks and Backgrounds’

Dr Rose Broad and her team, Professor David Gadd and Dr Elisa Bellotti (University of Manchester) and Dr Carly Lightowlers (University of Liverpool), have been awarded funding until April 2021 to continue their research, started under the auspices of an N8 PRP Small Grant awarded to Prof David Gadd, on the subject of modern slavery.

In recent years policy development has largely outstripped academic research on the subject, to the point where there is a real gap in the evidence base. International bodies and governments have focused on producing estimates of the scale of the problem and many academic studies have documented the plight of those trafficked. However, there are hardly any studies that have been undertaken with those regarded as the perpetrators of the trade.

The aim of this project is to produce a better understanding of the problem of modern slavery informed by both quantitative and qualitative data including first hand interviews with those convicted of these offences. It will use arrest and conviction data to profile perpetrators together with in-depth interviews with those convicted under the 2015 Modern Slavery Act to explore how and why some people traffick others, what circumstances and social networks have contributed to their offending, as well as what has impeded it.

The development of this project perfectly articulates the value of the N8 PRP Small Grant Awards, which this year will be taking applications for the final round under its current structure.

Rose Broad said, “The research conducted under the N8 PRP funding enabled me and my colleagues to trial the quantitative methods that we then proposed as part of the ESRC project and allowed us to become familiar with the data.”

“The N8PRP project also helped us to build on existing relationships with the Home Office Modern Slavery Research Unit who were interested in the research and who have subsequently supported us with the ESRC application and are on the steering group for the project.”

“I think that the progress that we had made, familiarity with the data and evidence that the research was feasible and achievable, helped towards the positive outcome from the ESRC.”

The N8PRP Small Grants process is design to act pump-priming for those wishing to do something innovative and collaborative. The work done by Rose and her team as a result of the grant laid the foundations for this significant ESRC award, and shows the immense potential of the N8PRP Small Grants.

Information on this project can currently be found on twitter, on the project’s website or via the Gateway to Research website.

In addition, the report produced as part of the Small Grant Award, and all of our other Small Grant findings reports, can be found here.

Study reveals challenges of policing cannabis possession

19 July 2018

Officers see their own policing of cannabis possession offences as largely ineffective, a study of rank and file officers has revealed.

The study, funded by North Yorkshire Police and the N8 Policing Research Partnership, examined the enforcement of cannabis possession by the Force – which has the lowest crime rate in England but ranked 14th for drug offences in 2016.

The study, revealed that cannabis possession accounted for nearly three-quarters of total drug offences in the county, with considerable variation in attitudes and approaches to policing the Class B drug.

Those sanctioned for cannabis possession were predominantly male (86%), white (93%), and young, with an average age of nearly 26. One in seven (14%) were minors.

The study also revealed:

  • Cannabis possession was usually found accidentally in the course of unrelated policing activity
  • Searches often made on the basis of smell
  • Police were significantly more likely to target people in more deprived wards and people who came from more deprived wards, even though four-fifths of people were encountered outside their home ward
  • Officers were largely happy with the disposals available to them for dealing with adults, there was widespread frustration with the limited options when dealing with young people

In North Yorkshire, someone first caught in possession of cannabis should be given a cannabis warning; a referral to a drug treatment agency for a second offence; a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) for a third; , and a fourth should result in arrest or voluntary attendance at a police station. Officers have discretion to skip these steps where they consider the circumstances to warrant an arrest.

The study revealed that the most common disposal was cannabis warnings (47%). PNDs were issued in only 3% of cases, reflecting local difficulties with accessing the relevant forms.

There were considerable differences in officers’ understanding and practice of the guidance, and in particular whether more than one cannabis warning could be issued; with several officers feeling that they should have the flexibility to issue more than one.

As part of the study, North Yorkshire Police provided anonymised data on offences and individuals and put forward 37 officers for interview.

Lead author, Charlie Lloyd, from the University of York’s Department of Social Policy and Social Work, said the findings could have implications for police forces across the country.

He said: “The guidance is very complex. Officers are dealing with all sorts of offences on the ground, and it is understandably difficult for them to remember this four-tiered approach for cannabis – and our study suggests that they do not.

“This study has revealed considerable variation in attitudes and approaches to policing cannabis within North Yorkshire Police, but I suspect that this is a national phenomenon.

“Many officers felt that cannabis use was a serious issue, with some seeing it as a gateway to more dangerous drugs.

“However, there was something of a disconnect between their views of the dangers associated with the drug and what they felt they were able to do about it. “

He added: “Despite the importance of the issue, remarkably little research has been conducted on the policing of cannabis possession.

“Given the considerable variation within this one Force, and increasing experimentation with different approaches to policing cannabis possession around the country, there is clearly merit in further research which attempts to capture variations in cannabis policing around the country,”

The findings report can be downloaded here

  • The N8 Policing Research Partnership (N8 PRP) has been established to enable and foster research collaborations that will help address the problems of policing in the 21st Century and achieve international excellence in policing research.
  • N8PRP is part of the N8 Research Partnership which is the partnership body for the universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, and York and aims to maximise the impact of this research base to enable business innovation and societal transformation.
Lancaster University develops new learning tool to help ‘make sense’ of coercive control law

29 June 2018

Lancaster University, in partnership with Merseyside Police and Women’s Aid, have developed a learning tool to help equip police officers with the skills to provide an improved service for victims of the complex new coercive control law.

The tool could be used as a face-to-face training aid or adapted as an online resource. It is currently being piloted by Merseyside Police and will also be made available to other interested police forces and appropriate agencies.

It is based on the findings of a research project led by Dr Charlotte Barlow (Lancaster University), Professor Sandra Walklate (University of Liverpool) and Dr Kelly Johnson (Lancaster University), as part of the N8 Policing Research Partnership (N8PRP). The tool provides training and guidance to help officers at all ranks to understand, respond to, investigate and evidence coercive control

It is the first evidence-based research to look in detail at the implementation of the legislation on coercive control.

The research, funded by the N8PRP, reveals that, of the 19,000 domestic-abuse related crimes recorded by Merseyside Police over 18 months, only 156 were listed under new coercive control offences.

Project leader Dr Barlow, from Lancaster University Law School, said: “The research paints a complex picture of how the new coercive control offence is playing out in police practice.”

The research also shows:

  • 95% of victims were women and perpetrators were much more likely to be men, highlighting the gendered nature of this offence
  • Victims rarely contacted the police specifically to report coercive control. The crime of coercive control often became apparent as a result of other offences (such as assault or criminal damage) being reported to the police.
  • Compared to other cases of domestic abuse-related crimes, emergency and other calls for help with coercive control cases were given a lower priority grading by call handlers.
  • Coercive control cases were also less likely to lead to an arrest or be solved in comparison to other forms of domestic abuse (such as ABH)

Further information

Durham University seeking police interview participants for intimate image-based abuse research

14 May 2018

Researchers at Durham University are seeking input from any police officers or staff who have experience of responding to incidents or crimes involving the taking or sharing of intimate images without consent (or threats to do so). Examples of such incidents often referred to in the media include ‘revenge porn’ or ‘upskirting’, however image-based abuse can take place in a variety of contexts, including in domestically abusive relationships or as part of online harassment and abuse.

What is the purpose of the research?

Participation would involve a one-off interview which can be conducted in person or over the phone, where interviewees will be asked about their experiences of policing image-based abuse – e.g. discussing the current legislation or their engagement with victims, suspects, or so-called ‘revenge-porn’ websites. Participant identities will be anonymous: de-identified pseudonyms will be used for all participants and we will remove any statements that might potentially identify you.

What does participation involve?

Participation would involve a one-off interview which can be conducted in person or over the phone, where interviewees will be asked about their experiences of policing image-based abuse – e.g. discussing the current legislation or their engagement with victims, suspects, or so-called ‘revenge-porn’ websites.


We would very much appreciate your expert input into this research. If you have any questions or if you are interested in participating please contact Dr Kelly Johnson.

More information about this research can also be found on the project website:

Challenges of effecting change in policing through research: evidence from programmes of research co-production and participatory action research in the UK

28 March 2018

The Sydney Institute of Criminology presents the first lecture in our 2018 seminar series. Join us as Professor Adam Crawford reflects on the social impacts of research on policing.

About the event

This presentation will assess and explore some of the challenges in fostering organisational change in policing through research knowledge and evidence. In so doing it will engage with debates about Evidence-Based Policing, its claims and implications. To illustrate the arguments, it will draw on two programmes of research and knowledge exchange in the UK. The first is the N8 Policing Research Partnership, a long-term collaboration of the eight research intensive universities in the North of England and 11 police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners as well as other policing partners that Professor Crawford has been leading. The second is a recently completed participatory action research project for the Police Knowledge Fund (College of Policing) that explored and developed the use of restorative justice in policing.

The presentation will examine and analyse the attributes and challenges of knowledge co-production in the context of policing. In so doing, it argues for a transformation in both the way academic researchers engage with policing partners and the place and value of knowledge, data and evidence within policing

About the speaker

Adam Crawford is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Leeds where he is the Director of the Leeds Social Sciences Institute. For nearly 30 years, his research has focused on policing, urban security, community safety partnerships, the regulation of public space, restorative justice and victims of crime. He is Director of the N8 Policing Research Partnership; a collaboration between universities and policing partners in the north of England. The N8 PRP is seeking to transform the ways in which research knowledge is produced and evidence is utilised and mobilised by policing practitioners. Together with Professor Joanna Shapland (University of Sheffield), he has just completed a project exploring the use of restorative justice in policing in three English forces (funded by the College of Policing’s Police Knowledge Fund). He is also working with colleagues on a recently completed AHRC project entitled: ‘The future prospects of urban parks’ and was the principal investigator on an ESRC research seminar series exploring the subject of ‘Markets in Policing’ (2015-17).

The event will be chaired by Dr Garner Clancey of the Sydney Institute of Criminology

Visit register or email

NPCC’s Sara Thornton calls for transformation of the UK’s policing culture

16 January 2018

Changes in leadership and cultural shifts are vital if the UK’s police force is to continue to keep up with the demands of modern society, according to one of Britain’s most senior ranking policing figures, Sara Thornton CBE.

Chair of the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) Chief Constable Thornton called for the industry shake up at the recent N8 PRP event, ‘Mobilising Data to Inform Police Research and Practice’. Sara Thornton delivered the session ‘Fostering a Culture of Organisational Learning’, which explored the changing landscape of the policing environment and encouraged professionals to learn from their mistakes rather than hiding behind them.

The session focused on organisational learning and support, exploring the routes for building a learning culture within the UK’s policing sector and how to overcome the barriers to change.

The event, held in Leeds, brought together experts, scholars and practitioners to explore innovations in data exploitation and research collaboration and provided a unique networking opportunity for new synergies between researchers and police practitioners.

In 2015, Sara Thornton became the first Chair of the NPCC, a body that brings together the expertise of police leadership to co-ordinate policing and agree national approaches in the public interest.

She served with the Metropolitan Police from 1986 and has held several operational postings in West London and strategic roles within New Scotland Yard. In 2006 she was awarded the Queens Police Medal and was awarded a CBE in the 2011.

N8 PRP enables and fosters research collaborations between universities, police and crime commissioners, government, police forces and other partners working in policing policy, governance and practice.

N8 PRP’s academic lead, Professor Adam Crawford of the University of Leeds, said: “We were delighted to welcome Chief Constable Sara Thornton to speak at the N8 PRP’s latest workshop. As one of the UK’s most senior and experienced policing figures, Sara offered an interesting insight into the future of the UK’s policing sector and how it must adapt to meet the demands of our society.

“The workshop showcased the powerful potential of the N8 PRP and its ability to foster collaboration between academia and industry, providing all attendees with the opportunity for additional networking and develop new ideas for innovative research.”

Crossing borders: Lessons and challenges of cross-force collaborations

11 January 2018

Despite the widely acknowledged benefits of working in cross-force collaborations, there remain many obstacles to effective collaborative endeavours between forces. Dr Xavier L’Hoiry of Sheffield University explores the obstacles and proposes ways of overcoming them.

Collaborative working within the police is increasingly being recognised as an area of “untapped potential” (HMIC 2013, p81) for police forces in a contemporary age of austerity. But despite the widely acknowledged benefits of working in cross-force collaborations, recent reports suggest that there remain many obstacles to effective collaborative endeavours between forces.

This research sought to gather the views of police practitioners involved in cross-force collaborations in the North East region, to hear their reflections on the lessons and challenges from existing collaborations within the region and possible ways around these challenges (where they exist).

It captured a diverse range of capabilities and areas of business across the policing spectrum ranging from specialist, front-line activities to back office functions and enabling services.

This is particularly timely in light of a number of recent reports on the issue of police collaborative working. A 2013 HMIC report declared that despite the “untapped potential” of collaborations, the existing picture was “deeply disappointing” (2013, p81).

The report found a general lack of collaborative working and where collaborations were in place, the pace of such arrangements was deemed to be “too slow” (2013, p15) with only a minority of forces delivering satisfactory savings through collaboration.

Elsewhere, in 2016 a report by the Police Foundation identified a number of obstacles to successful collaboration, including issues of parochialism and tensions between larger and smaller (or more rural) forces and concerns over inequitable distribution of resources as part of collaborative working. The NPCC also released a report in 2016 which noted the “slow progress” (2016, p3) around the issue of increasing technical specialist capabilities and concluded that existing collaborative delivery in specialist capabilities is often “highly fragmented” (2016, p4).

Benefits of collaboration

Collaborative working can be a valuable tool to achieve a range of policing goals, a view universally acknowledged by participants.

The benefits of collaborations are multi-faceted and include (but are not limited to):

  • increasing capacity and capability
  • adding creativity
  • enabling forces to maximise best practices
  • harmonising policies and procedures
  • enabling resources to be spread on wider geographical footing
  • increasing quality of service to some areas
  • reassuring the public
  • overcoming historical cultural divides
  • reducing costs and ensuring efficiency savings

Specifically, in a contemporary context of austerity, collaboration was seen as an opportunity to make efficiency savings, pool resources, to “do more with less” and build resilience within forces.

Inhibitors to collaboration

Despite the many benefits of collaborative working, participants identified a multitude of existing problems and inhibitors to successful innovation and collaboration.

Participants reflected that the police as an organisation has historically been resistant to change, often only accepting change as a response to episodic crises. This inertia becomes particularly prominent when forces are asked not just to change their existing practices but potentially to adopt a different force’s policies and procedures.

Here, organisational cultures become particularly problematic and historical mistrust between different forces comes to the fore as an ongoing blocker of collaborations. Indeed, several participants highlighted the presence of ‘big force vs small force’ tensions inherent in many proposed or existing collaborations between forces of different size, capability and demand.

Smaller forces may be concerned that collaborating with a larger force gives rise to the risk of resources being pulled away from the former and sucked into the greater demands of the latter. Concurrently, one participant from a larger force lamented the labels attached to larger organisations and argued that criticism of a “hoarding” of resources was unjust and rooted in historical, cultural mistrust amongst forces.

Alongside cultural barriers is the contemporary reality of the increasingly political nature of the police. Participants noted that, in their eyes, political imperatives significantly influence collaborative endeavours. PCCs, for instance, were sometimes viewed as being predominantly concerned with short-term results linked to four-year (re)election cycles. Such an approach implicitly demands that collaborations yield immediate results, an often unrealistic and unhelpful aim.

Collaboration, which may inevitably involve some forces diluting and sharing their local resources, is seen as a political risk to some PCCs and senior police officers. Protectionism and parochialism thus become inhibitors of innovation, with one participant arguing that some PCCs and Chief Constables view collaboration as “turkeys voting for Christmas”.

Even when the above inhibitors can and are overcome, collaborative work is often undermined by a plethora of practical and logistical problems. Perhaps most prominent amongst these, from an operational perspective, is the seemingly perennial problem of ICT. According to participants, differences in ICT platforms, the lack of inter-operability of systems and individual officers’ unfamiliarity with new systems become significant hurdles to new and existing collaborations.

Facilitating collaboration

Participants argued that trust and confidence are central to facilitating any transformative collaborative change in the police. Trust and confidence can be built by celebrating the successes of existing collaborations.

For this to happen, the narrative of collaborations, and more specifically the success of existing collaborations, needs to change. Celebrating and highlighting existing successful collaborations can act as a form of confidence building for officers and staff across the entire policing hierarchy which can help to secure “buy-in” for new collaborations.

As discussed above, while the political imperatives of some senior police officers and staff are seen as an inhibitor of collaborations, it is equally argued that senior leadership can play a crucial role in driving forward collaborative work and overcoming other hurdles.

Collaborations, particularly during early stages, can often be held together by the vision of senior leadership in police organisations, including PCCs and their Chief Executive Officers. This requires clarity of vision and genuine commitment to collaborative efforts which goes beyond paying lip service to collaboration without any substantive action to reinforce this.

The timing and pace of collaborations also needs to be carefully considered to ensure success. The intended goals of collaboration are often only visible over the mid-to-long term, particularly in the case of efficiency savings.

Alongside this, new collaborations often place heavy demands on the time and energy of key individuals to reassure and corral potentially reluctant and worried staff. This can be a delicate process which often takes time and should not be rushed or forced. Thus expecting collaborations to produce desired outcomes in the short term is often unrealistic, unproductive and ultimately adds pressure on individuals and teams to perform in already challenging conditions.

Communication with staff can and should go beyond consultation and aim for coproduction in the design of new collaborations (or indeed reviews of existing collaborations). Doing so may achieve a number of important goals all conducive to giving collaborations the best chance of success, pit improves the potential for staff “buy-in” by giving them a voice in the design of a collaboration; it draws upon subject matter expertise of individuals; and it may act as a vehicle to overcome cultural reticence to change within the police more broadly.

Driving collaborations forward requires key individuals to show enthusiasm, energy, patience, vision and ultimately hard work. These individuals may be thought of as champions or brokers of collaboration and may encompass a range of different officers and staff involved at various stages of the development of collaborations.

The obvious examples here are heads of collaborative units. These individuals must be carefully selected and must be able to bring a wide range of skills to give collaborations the best possible chance of success.

Getting the best out of these collaboration champions may require empowering them with sufficient autonomy and flexibility to run their units as they see fit (within reason) as well as allowing them to surround themselves with the right support structures including a strong leadership team within a given unit.

Effective leadership of collaborative units, according to participants, necessitates visibility, credibility, genuine engagement with staff and a willingness to have difficult but productive conversations with officers across the rank structure. Moreover, one must be able to separate oneself from individual force affiliations and see the ‘bigger picture’ of collaboration.

These champions need not only be police officers. Police and OPCC civilian staff also have an important role to play here, particularly in the design of new collaborations. These individuals have a range of skills, expert knowhow and project management experience which may prove crucial and plug skills and experience gaps of police officers expected to lead these collaborations.


Despite the many obstacles to successful collaboration, it is worth remembering that those individuals involved in collaborative endeavours universally acknowledge the many and varied benefits of working in collaboration (when collaborations work well).

But overcoming barriers to collaboration and obtaining the benefits of collaborative working is predicated on a number of crucial considerations which centre on securing the ‘buy-in’ of individuals across policing hierarchies, ranging from Chief Constables and PCCs through to frontline officers in collaborative units themselves.

The political undercurrent of the policing landscape is a challenge here and at times makes some proposals for collaboration appear counter-intuitive to senior leaders in their respective forces.

Designing successful collaborations is possible and can be achieved in a number of ways including early and ongoing engagement with staff to generate coproduction of collaborative proposals; appointing and appropriately empowering individuals with appropriate skill sets in key design and management positions; allowing collaborations time to mature before producing desired outcomes; and building trust and confidence across police forces by celebrating the successes of existing collaborations in the region.

This research was formulated in consultation with the N8 Policing Research Partnership (N8PRP) and the North East Transformation Innovation and Collaboration (NETIC).


The research conducted 16 face-to-face semi-structured interviews and 1 telephone interview with a sample of participants which encompassed a mixture of police officers and police staff. The fieldwork was carried out between January and February 2017. All participants in the research were involved at various stages of cross-force collaborations, from design through to operational management. Of the 17 participants involved in the study, 10 were police officers and 7 were civilian staff working for police forces and OPCCs in the North East region. The findings presented in this report have been selected to reflect the predominant and common views across interview participants.


Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Constabulary (2013) ‘Policing in Austerity: Rising to the Challenge’, available online at (last accessed 26 May 2016).

National Police Chiefs’ Council (2016) ‘The Specialist Capabilities Programme – Phase 1 Report’, available online at (last accessed 26 May 2017).

The Police Foundation (2016) ‘The governance of supra-force specialist policing capabilities – A review by The Police Foundation’, available online at (last accessed 26 May 2017).

First published in Policing Insight

Enhancing the use of restorative justice at the level of the police in England

10 January 2018

The 4 page findings report has been published and is available to download here.

New research highlights the opportunities and challenges in fostering restorative justice in policing that benefits victims of crime. It evidences the possibilities to increase both the quality and quantity of restorative justice delivery and to implement the Victims’ Code requirements that victims are offered information about and opportunities for restorative justice.

Restorative justice at the level of the police in England: implementing change is the third report from the Police Knowledge Fund project ‘Developing restorative policing’. The research was a collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds, together with Humberside Police and the PCC for Humberside, South Yorkshire Police and the PCC for South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire Police and the PCC for West Yorkshire, and Remedi (a restorative justice service provider).

The research found that fostering restorative justice at the front-line means engaging police officers to change their behaviour and embrace often new patterns of work. As such, it requires cultural and organisational change. Restorative justice necessitates a culture of learning and problem-solving – both thinking through what should happen following an incident and having the time and capability to look past the immediacy of the ‘job’ to the outcome of the case.

The major barriers in the police are largely cultural. While victim needs and victim vulnerability are now much more appreciated by police than previously, and supporting victims is recognised as a key police role across the organisation, ideas about appropriate disposals are still very offender-focused. It still tends to be the offender and the offence which determine perceived suitability, not what the victim needs or wants. Working in partnership with external restorative justice service providers can be challenging – given difficulties in information sharing, inter-agency working and communication issues – but can also provide victims with dedicated, specialist restorative justice services that are sensitive to their needs and interests.

Fostering confidence amongst officers is crucial to embedding their ability to offer and deliver restorative justice to victims. The research highlights examples of good practice, including the use of safer schools officers to promote the principled use of restorative justice with young people.

The research proposed and evaluated a number of practical strategies for embedding both short-term and long-term organisational and cultural change, including:

  • Designating pilot areas or teams to promote delivery, including training, in-station restorative justice ‘champions’ and encouraging referrals to voluntary sector providers.
  • Creating force-wide oversight and coordination, including encouragement and promotion by Senior Command Teams.
  • Creating restorative justice ‘champions’ to disseminate and foster good practice.
  • Ongoing training that is focused on officers actual roles and designed to foster confidence and understanding.
  • Developing simple electronic means for officers to refer cases.
  • Piloting the collection of victim satisfaction data.
  • Encouraging Scrutiny Panels to review restorative justice cases.

The research concluded that changing police responses and practices regarding restorative justice is not about constraining discretion (given other paths still exist), or reducing it (which may lead to resistance), or producing unthinking compliance (since each case needs assessment for its suitability), but rather about shaping the best use of discretion in each individual case.

The programme of action research was funded by the College of Policing’s Police Knowledge Fund over a period of nearly two years. During this time, the participating forces and Offices of the Police and Crime Commissioners contributed to, and oversaw, the design and implementation of the research with the research team from the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds. In response to recommendations from the researchers, all three forces embarked on a range of strategies to foster organisational changes which were then evaluated.

Commenting on the research and the value of the report, Keith Hunter, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Humberside (one of the three participating forces) stated:

“I am pleased to read this report as Restorative Justice is an area I am very committed to. I am grateful for the report findings and will discuss them further with Police Chief Officers and build the recommendations into our future Restorative Justice offer.”

Mark Burns-Williamson, the PCC for West Yorkshire, also welcomed the report and its findings:

“This report highlights the work that has been undertaken in the five districts of West Yorkshire and demonstrates my commitment to further embed Restorative Justice within Policing and other organisations to ensure that all victims have equal access to Restorative Justice Services as is highlighted in the Victims Code.”

Two earlier reports from the research set out: first, the background context in each of the force areas in terms of their development and implementation of restorative justice Developing restorative policing in Humberside, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire; and, second, lessons from recent comparative developments in other jurisdictions where significant progress has been made in institutionalising restorative justice at the level of the police Learning lessons from Belgium and Northern Ireland.

All three reports are freely available to download from the University of Sheffield, Centre for Criminological Studies, Occasional Papers website.

For further information contact:

2017 news archive

N8 PRP Director opens ‘Security, Democracy and Cities: Coproducing Urban Security Policies’ in Barcelona

20 November 2017

Director of the N8 Policing Research Partnership, Professor Adam Crawford was invited to give the opening plenary address at the recent international conference on ‘Security, Democracy & Cities: Coproducing Urban Security Policies’ in Barcelona on 15-17 November 2017. Organised by the European Forum for Urban Security, the Government of Catalonia and the City of Barcelona, the three day international and interdisciplinary conference was dedicated to the coproduction of urban security policies.

The conference marked the thirtieth anniversary of the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS) since its founding in Barcelona in 1987. The work of EFUS – a network of over 250 European cities – is based on the belief that security is a common good that must involve the coming together of multiple stakeholders in urban life and that relies on a balance between prevention, sanction and social cohesion.

The conference was attended by some 800 delegates from around the world. They debated and shared experiences concerning ways of tackling vulnerabilities and discrimination, organised crime, victim support, the governance of public spaces, nightlife management and the prevention of violent radicalisation, amongst other issues. The conference addressed the subject of shared governance between different territorial levels as well as the participation of the private sector and of civil society – particularly citizens- in security policies.

Professor Crawford’s opening speech – entitled ‘Thirty Years of Urban Security Policies: The Road Taken and the Challenges Ahead’ – reflected on the development of urban security policies across Europe, as well as the future challenges that both practitioners and researchers will need to confront in forthcoming years.

He began by acknowledged the considerable progress that has been made on the journey from the 1980s when crime prevention was a ‘Cinderella’ function of the police, often acting alone. The road from fragmentation through cooperation to the goals of coproduction has benefitted immensely from the vital work the European Forum has done both in stimulating a vision of security that is open, inclusive and tolerant of diversity and in fostering city-to-city learning and sharing about evidence-informed best practice.

However, he cautioned delegates that progress in realising the ambitions of the genuine co-production of security through inter-sectoral partnerships focused on harm prevention has been hesitant, uneven and often constrained. The talk of ‘partnerships’ and ‘co-production’, he argued, still belies the reality of single agency responses, whereby state agencies often preserve their control over segments of the crime control ‘turf’ like fiefdoms. Delivering a ‘joined-up’, approach has proved more complex and the obstacles much more stubborn than were often assumed in the early ‘honeymoon’ years.

In looking to the future, he suggested that how city-based partnerships respond to the politics of austerity will be crucial. This may result in organisations retreating into their silos, focusing on their core priorities and retracting from shared goals. Alternatively, it may prompt organisations to think radically differently about the collaborative advantages to be secured through collective endeavours, innovation and investments in up-stream prevention rather than costly punitive responses.

He concluded by highlighting the challenges for European cities with ageing populations, growing inequality and greater mobility to manage living confidently with increasing diversity. With the likely implications of global warming precipitating new transnational security threats, how people interact with nature and emerging technologies will become evidently more important. In that context, the relationship between security as a public good and other social values will continue to be crucial in terms of the societal impact of security, as will the appropriate balance between liberty and security.

The years ahead may usher a crossroads in the journey of urban security policies, as city partnerships across Europe look to secure the safety of their citizens and visitors by harnessing the activities and capabilities of diverse organisations, groups and communities. Whatever the future holds, the work of the EFUS is likely to continue to play a vital role in advancing a progressive understanding of the importance of just and safer cities for all in the face of both new and old threats.

An array of international commentators provided responses to Professor Crawford’s speech drawing on particular jurisdiction-specific developments and assessments: Rossella Selmini (University of Minesota), Andre Lemaitre (University of Liege), Vasco Franco (Nova Lisboa University), Claudia Laub (Director of Projects at El Agora, Argentina), Susanne Wolter (Crime Prevention Council of Lower Saxony), Bernard Rivaillé (Deputy Mayor, City of Lormont), and Josep Lahosa (Director of the Spanish Forum for Urban Security).

N8 PRP Hosts Third Annual Policing Innovation Forum on early intervention

15 November 2017

The 2017 N8 PRP Innovation Forum focused on the issue of early intervention and trigger behaviours, primarily in the context of domestic abuse. The forum attracted over 80 delegates from 14 police forces, academics from across the country, and other stakeholders and third-sector actors. The morning session debated innovative approaches to domestic abuse and coercive control and Prof Amanda Robinson (University of Cardiff) presented the opening keynote on assessing and managing priority perpetrators. There followed presentations from Stephanie Waddell of the Early Intervention Foundation and Chantal Hughes of the Hampton Trust, before Prof Robinson joined them on a panel discussion.

Morning presentations

The afternoon was split into two rounds of workshops which showcased research and projects from other areas in which early intervention had been used to tackle problem behaviour, including anti-social behaviour, crime, and mental health. Workshop attendees were invited to consider what lessons could be learned from these areas in the development of early intervention strategies and tactics in domestic abuse.

In a closing session, the workshop convenors summarised their sessions for the benefit of those who had not attended, and Dr Steve Brookes and Dr Geoff Pearson from the N8 PRP Innovation Forum reminded delegates of the opportunities the N8 PRP offers for practitioner and academic partnerships who wish to engage in research, training, or knowledge exchange.

Written by Dr Geoff Pearson, N8 PRP.

N8 Research Partnership appoints new director

14 November 2017

The N8 Research Partnership (N8), a collaboration of the North’s eight leading research universities, has announced the appointment of Dr Annette Bramley as its new director.

Dr Bramley joins the N8 Research Partnership from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), where she held numerous senior positions over an 18-year period.

N8 is the partnership body for the universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, and York and aims to maximise the impact of this research base to enable business innovation and societal transformation.

Dr Bramley’s new role, which she starts in January 2018, will see her building on N8 relationships with public and private sector organisations and with funders, and forging new ones inside and outside of the N8 network. Her goal will be to increase further the impact of N8 within the North of England and nationally, establishing innovative collaborations between businesses and the N8 university partners.

N8 creates programmes involving a critical mass of world class academics which form networks of innovation excellence with partners in other sectors – to drive investment and economic growth. It is the largest research-pooling partnership in the UK.

Dr Bramley said: “N8 has an excellent track record of establishing multidisciplinary partnerships across sectors and I look forward to building on its recent success and helping to drive it forward.

“N8’s role is to promote deeper collaboration between universities, business and society. Now, more than ever, we need to support the development of leading-edge research programmes that support and drive the growth of the knowledge-based economy.

“The North’s economy needs better digital and transport infrastructure, targeted funding for innovation and support for start-up and scale-up businesses, and a strategic vision for economic transformation and I firmly believe that N8 universities have a key role to play in this.”

N8’s main areas of collaborative research include Urban and Community Transformation, and Agri-Food. N8 seeks to pioneer new collaborations and engagement, develop programmes of world class interdisciplinary, translational research that deliver real world impact, and promote research capabilities within the North.

The N8 universities deliver more than £12 billion of revenue for the North, provide help to more than 31,000 businesses, and create more than £6.6 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) for the region – a larger contribution to Northern Powerhouse GVA than the entire Northern media industry, agriculture, or motor vehicle manufacturing sectors. The N8 universities are also responsible for 119,000 jobs in the North, inside the universities and across multiple other industries.*

Dr Bramley is a graduate of the University of Oxford where she also studied for her doctorate, following which she carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge.

In her most recent role at the EPSRC as Head of Healthcare Technologies she has had particularly significant success in galvanising multidisciplinary research collaborations between researchers and funders.

She also brings to the N8 strong experience of organisational change, having played a prominent role in the successful transfer of EPSRC’s grants services to a shared service centre, including the implementation of a new IT system. Other roles in EPSRC have included Head of Mathematical Sciences, Complexity Science and Engineering.

Professor Koen Lamberts, chair of the N8 and Vice Chancellor at the University of York said: “In appointing Annette Bramley as N8 Director we bring in a highly experienced and well-connected practitioner in the UK’s research community who will help advance the N8 strategy into exciting new research programmes.

“Dr Bramley will also help to continue our valuable and important part in creating a Northern Powerhouse by pioneering collaboration, knowledge exchange and engagement activities that establish Innovative Communities with business and society.”

Dr Bramley is also an artist and student at the Royal School of Needlework, graduating last year from the Certificate in Technical Hand Embroidery and is now studying for the Diploma. Her work has been exhibited by the Royal School and in galleries in the UK.

She added:

“My love for both the arts and the sciences are one of the reasons that I am so passionate about multidisciplinary research and bringing people together to address real world challenges.

* N8 Research Partnership – Power of 8: Knowledge, Innovation and Growth for the North. The report was undertaken for the N8 Research Partnership by Ursula Kelly and colleagues at Viewforth Consulting Ltd. The modelled analysis and comparators relate to the academic and financial year 2014/15, the most recent year for which data were available. The study was carried out in spring 2016.

Article originally published by N8 Research

NCA Independent Reference Group – recruiting members

3 October 2017

The NCA Independent Reference Group provides advice for the NCA Board on novel or contentious issues which might present ethical, moral or reputational concerns that could affect trust and public confidence in the Agency.

The NCA Reference Group is made up of several experienced individuals who:

  • Provide advice to the NCA Board on the development or review of NCA policies, raising any ethical, public confidence or reputational issues to the Board to ensure that the Agency’s values are fully reflected and public confidence is maintained
  • Assist in promoting the overall culture, ethics and values of the NCA, influencing ethical changes to organisational policies if required

Recruiting new members

Currently the Independent Reference Group comprises four independent members. They are now seeking to expand the number of members and are inviting expressions of interest from experienced individuals from across the UK with a diverse range of backgrounds who are able to share their experience and skills to aid balanced discussions.

Police and universities working together: what do the public think?

17 August 2017

Written by Dr Liz Turner, University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool is responsible for the public engagement activity strand of the N8 Policing Research Partnership’s Catalyst Project. A key objective for this activity strand is to create new knowledge about public perspectives on how university research can and should inform policing.

Earlier this year, as part of this activity strand’s work, an online survey of 1072 adults living in the North of England was carried out to capture their views on police and universities working together. Respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with a number of statements. The data indicate strong public support for independent research on the police but also reveal some public uncertainty about the extent to which universities can help to improve policing. More than 40% of respondents indicated that they either disagreed or did not know whether universities produce knowledge that can be used to improve policing. On the other hand there was clear support from some for police and universities working together to make policing more effective. However, it is worth noting that only 41% agreed that police should be able to set research priorities for universities.

Initial analysis suggests that gender, age and educational background all affect respondents’ views on the relationship between police and universities. Women were more likely than men to agree that the police know best and less likely to agree that universities can produce knowledge to improve policing. However, it was not that women were less likely to explicitly disagree with these statements, but rather that they were more likely to say they did not know. It seems, then, that women are less certain about the contribution universities might make to improving policing. Respondents in the 18-24 age bracket were less likely to agree that the police know better than anyone how best to do their job, but also less likely to agree that independent research on the police is essential in a democratic society. Under 45s were more likely to agree that universities can produce knowledge to improve policing (but this is likely associated with the fact that they are much more likely to have attended university). Unsurprisingly, respondents whose highest qualification was at least a teaching or nursing qualification or university diploma were much more likely to agree that universities can produce knowledge to improve policing and that police and university researchers should work together to make policing more effective. Those with this level of qualification were also less likely to answer ‘don’t know’ to any of the questions. However, all of these factors are likely to interact with one another, and with trust and confidence. As such, further multivariate analysis will be necessary to untangle the relationships between these variables.

All respondents were asked whether they trusted the police in their area to treat people fairly, and whether they thought the police in their area were doing a good job. 78% of respondents indicated that they trusted the police in their area ‘a lot’ or ‘a fair amount’ to treat people fairly. 50% indicated that they thought the police in their area were doing a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ job. There were some significant differences between those respondents expressing trust and confidence in the police and those expressing a lack of trust or confidence when it came to expressing a view on the role of police and universities in improving policing. Respondents who indicated that they trusted the police ‘a lot’ or ‘a fair amount’ to treat people fairly, or who thought their local police were doing a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ job were significantly more likely to agree that ‘the police know best how to do their job’. And those respondents who indicated that they trusted their local police ‘not very much’ or ‘not at all’ to treat people fairly, or who thought they were doing a ‘fair’, ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ job were significantly more likely to disagree that ‘the police should be able to help set research priorities for universities’. Interestingly, trust and confidence made little difference to whether respondents agreed that universities produce knowledge that can improve policing, police and university researchers should work together, and independent research on the police is essential in a democratic society. The last of these is particularly interesting as it indicates high support for independent research on police even amongst those members of the public who trust the police to be fair and believe they are doing a good job.

Overall the data suggest that whilst a significant proportion of the public are open to the idea that universities might be able to help improve policing, many are uncertain about the role that universities can and should play in improving policing. There is also some scepticism about the level of influence police should have over the research that does take place. This is particularly true amongst groups who lack trust and confidence in the police. Furthermore, regardless of their level of trust and confidence in police, the majority of people think that independent research on the police is essential in a democratic society.

The findings from this small study suggest that the public are generally supportive of initiatives like the N8 Policing Research Partnership, but that some people are uncertain about whether universities really can help the police to improve the way they work. It also seems that for initiatives such as the N8 PRP to be seen as legitimate in the eyes of the public, particularly amongst groups who lack trust and confidence in police, it is important that university researchers maintain their independence from the police. If partnerships between universities and police are perceived as being police-dominated there is a risk that researchers, and the work they undertake, could lose credibility in the eyes of the public.

Following on from this small-scale study, a further piece of research has been carried out over the summer. This has involved carrying out face-to-face interviews with over 2000 people at 22 locations across the North of England (2 locations in each of the 11 force areas involved in the N8 PRP). This research will help to pinpoint key issues which matter to the public in the North of England where they think that universities may be able to contribute to helping the police to be more effective. Analysis of the findings from this second study will be available later in 2017.

Liz Turner, University of Liverpool

New report brings to light the potential of restorative approaches with organised crime

18 July 2017

In 2016 the N8 PRP began a programme of staff exchange activities intended to foster greater mutual understanding and trust between partner agencies, and to facilitate research into priority policing issues. An exploratory study into extending the use of restorative justice practices in new and innovative ways represented the first pilot of the N8PRP’s Staff Exchange scheme. The project has been a huge success in terms of providing exciting results and unlocking opportunities for further research, but also showcasing the potential of the scheme itself in building new relationships and supporting co-production across the region.

The collaborative study undertaken by Nikki D’Souza (Durham Constabulary) and Xavier L’Hoiry (University of Sheffield) took place over six months and the final report has produced several key findings, opening the door for further research to be developed:

The N8 PRP Staff Exchange Scheme is a programme intended to provide greater professional and personal development for N8 PRP partners. Nikki D’Souza, co-lead for this research has now embarked upon a PhD at the University of Sheffield where she intends to continue to develop the findings from this study. If you are interested in applying to the scheme, it operates on rolling applications throughout the year and further information can be found here.

“From a police practitioner perspective, the opportunity to carry out research in collaboration with an academic partner is one that I have relished as I believe it has the clear potential to influence and shape policing practices based on evidence”.
Nikki D’Souza (Durham Constabulary) – N8 PRP Pilot Staff Exchange

A coordinated community response to domestic abuse: N8 PRP hosts second Knowledge Exchange Conference.

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 Deboarah 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)

Call for papers: Next Generation of Community Policing Crete October 2017

14 June 2017

Police innovation requires a common ground of trust and a fair field of experimentation and exchange of ideas, both within and outside the police structure, and, perhaps most importantly, a recognition of the common stake of the entire community in better police services. Community Policing research is an interdisciplinary field of research that focuses on the development, use, and evaluation of policing best practices combined with Societal, Ethical, Legal & Data Privacy, Criminology and Technological Applications related to the Geographic Information Systems, Smart Apps and integrated Networks.

During NGCP conference several stimulating forums will gather people from the international Stakeholders’ community as well as well distinguished members of the academia, EU Member-States and National government, and the industry. We hereby invite academic researchers from above-mentioned disciplines, as well as other related areas in order to scientifically contribute to the NGCP conference which will take place in October 25th-27th, 2017 in Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

Pre-conference dates

June 16 2017 – abstract submission deadline
July 14 2017 – notification of acceptance
September 15 2017 – full paper draft submission deadline

Conference dates

October 25 -27 2017

Research should be relevant to community policing and advancing policing through innovation and science, including applications focusing on crime prevention, increased response time, and perceptions of safety.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Policing
    • Policing, public safety and the role of civil society
    • Increasing safety feelings among the citizens
    • Using the citizens assessments as performance indicators for the police
    • Drawing a thin line between community policing and traditional policing
    • Police special units and technology
  2. Society
    • Building trust between citizens and law enforcement
    • Effective police – community interactions
    • Integration of minority communities in crime prevention
    • Assessing public attitudes towards the police
    • The role of volunteers in effective policing
  3. Ethical, legal and data privacy
    • Legal framework in crime reporting
    • Ethical aspects of community policing
    • Data privacy in using smartapps for crime reporting
    • Technology and the law
    • Ethical issues in integrity management through use of technology
  4. Criminology – theory into practice
    • Criminal justice – police operations
    • Developments and the role of criminal justice agencies in ensuring justice
    • Restorative justice and perceptions of fairness
    • Intersection of theory and technology
    • Cost of fighting crime
  5. Technological
    • Use of technology in community policing
    • Innovative tools in urban environment crime prevention
    • Use of IoTs to fight terrorism and organized crime
    • Smart apps in community policing
    • Future of technological applications – drawing the lines

Selected papers will be published in an Open Access Book special edition from Springer Publication.

Training and learning – Conference/seminar funding opportunity

25 May 2017

Maximum funds available: £3,000

The N8 Policing, Training and Learning strand is offering the opportunity for our partners to apply for funding to host events that address the training and learning needs of the police and academics conducting research in an area of policing. This strand of the N8 Policing Partnerships seeks to provide opportunities for knowledge exchange between academics and policing partners.

Each application must explain the rationale for the event, its proposed content, location, expected numbers (no more than 1500 words), and a supporting letter from a constabulary workforce lead to explain that the event would address the training and learning needs of police, or evidence that such training is needed.

The event must be held before the end of March 2018.

Please email completed application forms and supporting evidence to Jude Towers 5pm on the application closing date. Successful applicants will be notified on 30 September 2017.

You may wish to consult members of the N8 list of experts.

For further information please contact Dr Jude Towers, Lancaster University,

Small Grants 2017/18 announced

17 May 2017

By Professor Adam Crawford, University of Leeds

The N8 PRP philosophy is that those who are going to use research and apply the knowledge base should be involved in building it by actively co-producing the evidence. In this light, we are delighted to announce the outcome of second round of Research Co-production Small Grant Awards for 2017/18. The quality of the competition was once again exceptionally strong with a large number of excellent proposals from teams of policing practitioners and researchers across the north of England, but also including collaborations beyond the core partners of the N8 PRP. We are particularly pleased to have been able to make five awards (details below) for a range of cutting-edge projects that will undoubtedly produce fascinating and valuable findings. The projects bring together teams of innovative practitioners working closely with research scholars that are forging cross-institutional and cross-force collaborations. Each of the five projects are seeking to grapple with pressing policing challenges and to advance our understanding and knowledge of how to deliver outcomes that make a difference on the frontline to the public.

As well as the richness of the projects themselves the following factors strike me as noteworthy. First, it is impressive that a significant number of the proposals (four of the five) are linked to different aspects of the N8 PRP thematic of ‘domestic violence and abuse’ (which was the subject of last year’s Policing Innovation Forum) in ways that are eminently complementary. The N8 PRP management team therefore will work closely with the team to ensure appropriate synergies are develop to enhance any added value. We will also look to bring the teams together at appropriate times to share emerging findings. Secondly, it is pleasing to see that as well as police and academic partners, some of the projects are drawing on the expertise of other civil society and non-police organisations. Moreover, in keeping with our ambitions to be inclusive of those working outside of the core N8 PRP, it is gratifying that more than one project includes (and in one case is led by) non-N8 PRP member institutions. We look forward to hearing more about the projects as they develop whilst also planning for the launch of the call for the third round of the Small Grants toward the end of the year. Finally, I would like to thank all of those individuals and teams who both submitted applications (including those unfortunately we were unable to fund) and those involved in the review and assessment process.

Seventeen applications were received for the 2016/17 round with an overwhelming number linked to the Policing Innovation Forum. It was evident that applicants had thought more clearly about the aspects of collaboration and co-production this year with many of the proposals having numerous agencies make up the research cohort.

Five projects have been funded in Year 2 with the partnership providing almost £100,000 of seed-corn funding to support research into urgent areas of police work:

N8 PRP Staff Exchange and PGR Internship Awards announced

4 May 2017

The N8 PRP Staff Exchange Award Scheme and PGR Internship open call will provide funds to support projects into targeted and important areas of policing work, where the gaps in knowledge are most prominent and where research benefits are of greatest value.

Following success of the pilot scheme last year the staff exchange and PhD internship scheme has now been rolled out and the partnership are delighted to announce that two successful bids have been awarded in the first round:

  • Staff exchange award: ‘Policing ethics’ – this project aims to contribute to the development and implementation of an Ethics Committee at Durham Constabulary – Durham university and Durham Constabulary.
  • PhD internship award: From ‘report to court’: A Comparative, qualitative study of police domestic abuse recording practices and responsesDurham university and Cumbria Constabulary with involvement from GMP and Northumbria Police.

The aim of such exchanges is to provide significant staff mobility and interaction between police, police partner agencies and academics (including early career researchers) in Higher Education Institutions with the intention of fostering greater mutual understanding and trust between the partners and to facilitate research into priority policing issues.

More information

Staff exchange

The Staff Exchange Scheme will facilitate interactions between policing partners and universities to build and strengthen relationships and facilitate knowledge exchange. The scheme provides policing partners with an opportunity to work on a project at a partner university or for academic staff to work with a policing partner at their site.

PGR internship

The PGR Internship programme offers postgraduate researchers (PGR) the opportunity to undertake part-time research projects within N8 police forces. Working in a research capacity with an N8 PRP partner, the researcher will have an opportunity to engage with the needs of the police organisation and to build the knowledge gained from the placement into their future research plans.

Application deadlines for 2017 are 31 May, 31 August and 30 November.

Projects might involve (suggestions, not limited to):

  • Surveying or interviewing users or providers of relevant services to identify ways in which they could be improved;
  • Support for analysts working on a problem profile;
  • Evaluating a project or scoping out the potential for a new project which aims to bring social or economic benefits to police practice;
  • Gathering evidence and writing reports to support strategic priorities and initiatives.

If you have a project in mind or would like help developing an idea then please contact Professor Nicole Westmarland

Newcastle University recognised as a national leader in cyber research

6 April 2017

Newcastle University has reaffirmed its position as one of the UK’s leading centres for cyber security research after being named a Centre of Excellence by Government.

Led by the University’s world-leading School of Computing Science, today’s announcement is a renewal of Newcastle’s Centre of Excellence status, making it a key player in the Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy which was announced last year.

Announcing the fourteen UK Centres of Excellence for Cyber Security Research, Ben Gummer, Minister for the Cabinet Office & Paymaster General, said the ground-breaking research would help us “to stay one step ahead of the growing threat of cyber attacks.”

“This Government is determined to make the UK the safest place in the world to live, work and do business online,” he said.

“That is why we need truly ground-breaking research to stay one step ahead of the growing threat of cyber attacks.

“By engaging with business, industry and academia, we will ensure that we develop the skills and research we need to tackle this growing threat to the UK.”

“These universities conduct world-class cyber security research and this initiative will improve the way academics, government and business work together – benefiting the whole of the country”
Chris Ensor, National Cyber Security Centre

Centres of excellence

Academic centres of excellence will specialise in developing the latest cyber security techniques and contribute to the UK’s increased knowledge and capability in this field.

All fourteen, which include Newcastle, Oxford, Imperial College London and Cambridge, are now recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which was launched in February 2017 in London.

Ranked 76th in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017 Newcastle University is among the best for Computing Sciences.

In August, the School will relocate to the state-of-the-art £59m Urban Sciences Building on Science Central which includes purpose-built labs to house the Centre of Excellence for Cybercrime and Computer Security.

Professor Thomas Gross, Newcastle University’s Director of the Centre for Cybercrime and Computer Security, said:

“At Newcastle, our focus is primarily on how humans interact with security systems. Such as how we choose our passwords, how we protect ourselves online, ways of making digital infrastructure more secure and developing new systems such as electronic voting.

“Our recognition as a centre of excellence is a reflection of the excellent research staff and students we have here at Newcastle.”

Rigorous criteria

Underpinned by £1.9 billion of investment, the National Cyber Security Strategy sets out the Government’s key cyber security objectives:

  • Deter hostile action against the UK
  • Defend the UK against evolving cyber threats
  • Develop the cyber security industry, create a self-sustaining pipeline of talent into the UK.

Investment into cyber security is almost doubling in order to meet the growing threat and to build the infrastructure necessary to put UK cyber security on a sustainable footing.

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for Cyber Security Skills and Growth at the NCSC, adds:

“It’s fantastic to see so many leading universities committed to trailblazing improvements to the UK’s cyber security research.

“At the NCSC, we are absolutely committed to maintaining and improving our already strong reputation as a global leader in cutting edge research, and look forward to collaborating with these establishments to make the UK the safest place to live and work online.

“These universities conduct world-class cyber security research and this initiative will improve the way academics, government and business work together – benefiting the whole of the country.”

All universities which are recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research have met rigorous criteria which assess the quantity and quality of their researchers, their research output and the impact of their research.

All of the successful universities have invested considerable capital – financial, intellectual, managerial, leadership and so on – over years to grow their capacity and capability to the point where they meet the standards for recognition.

Universities will have Centre of Excellence status for five years from June 2017 before assessments are carried out again.

This article was originally published by Newcastle University on 3 April 2017

International award winning data analysts lead the way in community safety for Lancashire

15 March 2017

The Lancashire Community Safety Partnership Analysis Team recently showed just how valuable the work of data analysts can be in reducing crime and harm in local communities, receiving international recognition at the recent IALEIA* international awards for excellence in analysis.

The team cleaned up at the 2017 awards for the following:

  • Category 1A: Best team working at a local level (Lee Sculpher, Rebecca Eckersley, John Kneale and Russ Clark)
  • Category 2: Award for individual achievement in analysis: Rebecca Eckersley for research and analysis of ASBRAC**
  • Category 2: Award for individual achievement in analysis: Russ Clark for Optimal Forager – analysis and evaluation of burglary risk.

Scott Keay who leads the successful team said: “This is an amazing achievement for one team to win three awards in one go! I am very proud of this international recognition and success”.

These awards are a result of continued support and funding from Lancashire Constabulary, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Lancashire County Council: all three currently fund the CSP Analysis team as part of their responsibilities to improve community safety. The team and their work also supports all Local Authorities and communities and community safety partnerships of Lancashire.

* International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts
** Anti-Social Behaviour Risk Assessment Conference

‘Under the radar’ – New study shows use of ‘out of court’ resolutions widespread in cases of domestic abuse.

3 March 2017

Potential risk to life has been highlighted by new research that shows contrary to official guidance, in many cases of domestic abuse, the use of ‘out of court’ resolutions is widespread across the UK.

Theresa May recently highlighted the need to treat domestic abuse with the urgency it demands and rejected the use of restorative approaches in relation to partner abuse. Yet still, this study which investigated the nature and extent of UK police use of ‘out of court resolutions’ showed that in fact all UK police forces (not Scotland) are doing so in response to cases of domestic abuse.

Some cases recorded involved serious offences such as actual bodily harm, harassment and threat to kill. Perhaps surprisingly given that some of these offences could carry tariffs of up to life imprisonment, in almost half of the cases the resolution identified was an apology to the victim.

The research team from Durham University’s Centre for Research into violence and abuse (CRiVA) have called for an immediate stop to street level resolutions in these types of crimes. Professor Clare McGylnn said:

“First and foremost, the police must stop using these street-level resolutions in cases of domestic abuse and College of Policing and National Police Chief Council guidance needs to be strengthened. We need an open and informed public debate about the role of restorative justice and other alternatives to the criminal justice system for cases domestic abuse”.

While the last 20 years has seen huge improvements in the way that domestic abuse is policed this report recognises there may be a long way yet to go, Professor Nicole Westmarland, lead author commented:

“This study is the latest in a long line to show that there still exists fundamental problems about how domestic violence and abuse is policed … Gaps between policy and practice and resources and demands are ever increasing and action needs to be taken to hold perpetrators to account.”

The report has immediate research implications as this commonplace practice has until now existed largely ‘under the radar’, the team stress that given these findings that research now must shift its focus to ‘interrogating actual current practice’ to ensure appropriate use and robust safeguards.

Vacancy: Project officer ‘Sharing insights on hate crime: new methods and forms of data’

23 February 2017

Are you an enthusiastic, organised and motivated individual, with an interest in criminal justice? Do you want to support and develop a project that aims to drive improvements in policing and service provision for victims of religiously and racially motivated hate crime? Would you like to take an active role in delivering, promoting and disseminating this exciting project?

You will work in the role of Project Officer on the ‘Sharing insights on hate crime: new methods and forms of data’ project in collaboration with Lancashire Constabulary and the Safer Lancashire Partnership. You will support Dr Lightowlers in the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies in the delivery of the project and in a range of associated activities.

Since the recent EU referendum there has been a renewed emphasis on the importance of preventing hate crime and providing support for victims. This project will develop new relationships between academics, Lancashire Constabulary and the Safer Lancashire Partnership with which to drive improvements in policing and service provision for victims of religiously and racially motivated hate crime based on existing expertise in the quantitative and spatial analysis of secondary data sources. The project will share learning about new methods and forms of data that can deepen the police’s understanding of the changing profiles perpetrators and victims of hate crime.

This will include gathering and processing data from a range of sources attending meetings and liaising with Lancashire Constabulary/Safer Lancashire, organising meetings and events, and preparing interim and final reports.

With previous experience of applied criminal justice research (knowledge of geographic or quantitative research in this field would be an advantage), you will possess excellent time management and organisational skills as well as the ability to deal with a variety of tasks to set deadlines. The ability to work alone, as part of a team, and with a range of people is essential.

You will also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. The post will be based in the School of Law at the University of Leeds but will involve occasional travel to research sites in England and Wales (notably Preston, Lancashire).

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact:

Dr Carly Lightowlers, University Academic Fellow

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 9577, email:

Location: Leeds – Main Campus
Faculty/Service: Faculty of Education, Social Sciences & Law
School/Institute: School of Law
Category: Clerical Support
Grade: Grade 6
Salary: £26,052 to £31,076 p.a. pro rata
Contract Type: Fixed Term (12 months (specialist skills for a limited period))
Closing Date: Wednesday 08 March 2017
Reference: ESLLW1070
Report published: Developing Restorative Policing

22 February 2017

Using the evidence base to inform the delivery of restorative justice and improve engagement with victims

N8 PRP partners, the University of Sheffield and the University of Leeds together secured £336,000 in 2015 from the Police Knowledge Fund for an 18 month research project into restorative policing. Funded by the Home Office and HEFCE and managed by the College of Policing, the research is being conducted in collaboration with three police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners in Humberside, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. The action-research project has been exploring current provisions of restorative justice across the three partner polices forces.

“This pioneering research project is providing valuable insights into how we might move restorative justice from the peripheries to the mainstream of policing practices and delivery with real benefits to victims of crime.”
Professor Adam Crawford, University of Leeds

A report from the first phase of the Police Knowledge Fund project has now been published, entitled: ‘Developing Restorative Policing in Humberside, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire’. It reports on the development and progress in implementing requirements under the Victims’ Code to provide all victims of crime with information about restorative justice (RJ) and how victims can take part should they wish to do so. The first report is a result of a programme of interviews and focus groups across the three partner forces, working with senior police officers, police staff, Youth Offending teams and other specialist services.

The research found that RJ is varied across the three forces in both its provision and its approach. The report identifies some of the key opportunities and challenges to delivering successful RJ initiatives: appropriate structures, sufficient awareness, cultural barriers and delivery processes, which are all highlighted as key considerations. The report explores the difficulties in tackling these vital issues and offers a number of potential recommendations which include:

  • Encouraging police to make the ‘offer’, particularly to mention restorative justice as a possibility to victims;
  • Encouraging decentralised sources of expertise within the police;
  • Basing referral ‘hubs’ within the police;
  • Providing leadership for culture change and awareness raising.

A second report, which outlines the findings of a comparative study of ‘Restorative Policing in Belgium and Northern Ireland’, will be published later this month (also as an occasional paper of the Centre for Criminological Research at the University of Sheffield).

The research team – which includes Professor Joanna Shapland and Dr Emily Gray at the University of Sheffield and Professor Adam Crawford and Daniel Burn at the University of Leeds – is currently in the final phase of the research fieldwork, evaluating the impact of pilots in each of the three police force areas. These pilots arose out of the recommendations from the first report and were subsequently negotiated and agreed with the policing partners. Once the fieldwork is completed in the spring and all the data analysed, the final report will be submitted to the funding bodies in the early summer 2017 for wider dissemination thereafter.

N8 workshop, ‘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. 

Understanding the evolution of the N8 PRP: Evaluation and monitoring

9 January 2017

York University is responsible for Strand 9 of the N8 PRP: Evaluation and Monitoring. Following Adam White’s move to Sheffield, Charlie Lloyd took responsibility for this strand in 2016, with Geoff Page beginning fieldwork in September.

The initial focus of York’s work has centred on understanding the evolution of the N8 PRP’s processes, operations, structures, aims and goals over its first two years, and establishing how these have meshed with the needs and priorities of academic and police partners. In order to achieve this, face-to-face interviews have been sought with N8 PRP leads in all forces and universities. To date, nineteen such interviews have been secured from seven (of the eight) academic partners; and six (of eleven) police partners. A further seven interviews have been arranged with police and academic partners, and our focus in the New Year will centre on engaging PCCs and groups whose work is relevant to the N8 (for example, Lancashire’s Innovation Hub; West Yorkshire for Innovation; and the College of Policing). These interviews have provided an outstanding opportunity to speak one-to-one to key individuals within each institution – and the responsiveness and openness of interviewees has been greatly appreciated by the York team.

Integral to York’s work is a commitment to rapidly turning around our data. This will allow us to feed back emerging findings to Strand 1 (Governance and Management) and all N8 PRP partners, supporting the evolution of the N8 PRP’s structures, processes and events so that they are as useful as possible to all involved. In support of this end, we aim to channel preliminary findings to the full partnership as soon as is feasible.

Broadly speaking, interviews to date have highlighted the considerable work carried out in each of the academic strands, and the impressive commitment of forces to the N8’s programme of work. Some themes have also begun to emerge, raising questions about the reach of the partnership (and the potential inclusion of other partners); ways of balancing historically strong bilateral relationships between forces and specific universities against the N8’s multilateral offering; structures of police participation and leadership within the steering group; and a strong desire for swift, regular flows of information from all strands to police partners, and from police to academic partners identifying immediate and emerging police priorities.

In addition to the work carried out by York, the N8 PRP also has some funds for external evaluation. To make best use of these resources, in September the team entered into discussion with colleagues from the Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), who are currently evaluating the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, funded by the College of Policing and the Economic and Social Research Council. Colleagues within the ICPR kindly agreed to add several questions to their online survey, which focused on the usefulness of evidence to police work, officers’ familiarity with evidence, their ability to appraise it, and the role of evidence in informing practice and decision making. The additional questions asked about respondents’ familiarity with the N8 PRP, and attendance at N8 PRP events. One possibility is that the funds for external evaluation could be deployed to support a further iteration of this survey after the ESRC and CoP funding has ended. Doing so would allow some insights into changes in the use of evidence over time, and an exploration of how this differed between PRP and non-PRP forces.

Finally, in partnership with Leeds, York will be hosting a workshop on the evaluation of research co-production and impact on March 23. The aim is to draw from experiences and lessons of research co-production in different areas of policy and service delivery and to apply these to the policing context. Speakers from three N8 institutions, the ICPR and Loughborough University have been secured. The intention is to build discussion by securing broad attendance from police, statutory and regulatory bodies, policing partners, NGOs, researchers and academics.

This is consequently an exciting time for the Evaluation and Monitoring strand. Initial work has involved extensive contact with core partners, highlighting a range of emerging findings. The next steps in 2017 will involve developing this foundation, expanding our work to new organisations and partners, and making best use of the events planned ahead.

2016 news archive

N8 PRP Staff Exchange and PGR Internships Scheme launched

12 December 2016

The N8 PRP opens the call for its Staff Exchange and PGR Internship Scheme on 12th December 2016.

The Scheme will provide funds to support projects into targeted and important areas of policing work, where the gaps in knowledge are most prominent and where research benefits are of greatest value. It will provide the necessary flexibility to move swiftly to respond to emergent areas of policing, new challenges and pressing concerns. Ideas generated via the ‘Policing Innovation Forum’ activity strand are particularly welcomed, as are proposals that link to other activity strands and build upon stakeholder involvement in the development of research questions.

Forensic psychologist supports UN’s call for anti-torture interviews

22 November 2016

A forensic psychologist from Newcastle University has played a vital role in getting the United Nations to call for a universal protocol for anti-torture interviewing techniques.

In many parts of the world, the use of torture, coercion, and intimidation against people in custody and during questioning in criminal investigations continues to be used to gain a confession to a crime.

These abusive and confession-driven techniques are against human rights and are known to often obtain false and unreliable information, leading to wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice.

Dr Gavin Oxburgh, Director of the Forensic Interview Laboratory at Newcastle University’s School of Psychology, met United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Juan E. Méndez, to discuss the development of a protocol and universal set of standards for non-coercive interviewing methods and procedural safeguards.

The aim of the protocol is to ensure that no person is subjected to torture, ill-treatment or coercion when being questioned by police and law enforcement agencies.

A two-day UN consultation was held at Washington Law School, in Washington D.C, where 33 experts from around the world attended, representing countries such as the USA, UK, Ukraine, South Africa, Norway and Switzerland.

Three of the experts were members of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group (iIIRG), an international network of interviewing professionals, which was founded by Dr Oxburgh and Assistant Chief of Police Trond Myklebust from the Norwegian Police University College, Oslo, in 2007.

“It is important to establish a universal protocol of interviewing techniques that are within the fundamental principles of international human rights law.”
Dr Gavin Oxburgh

Universal protocol needed

Professor Méndez has now called upon States to spearhead the development of a universal protocol aiming to ensure that no person is subjected to torture, ill-treatment or coercion during police or law enforcement interviews.

Dr Oxburgh said: “There are countries around the world that continue to use interrogation techniques and torture individuals in order to elicit information and to gain confessions.

“This is a clear breach of a person’s human rights and it should never be allowed to happen, under any circumstances.

“It is important to establish a universal protocol of interviewing techniques that are within the fundamental principles of international human rights law, being ethically sound and based upon scientific research.

“The UN consultation identified a set of standards for non-coercive interviewing methods that, as a matter of law and policy, should be applied at a minimum to all interviews worldwide.

“Our guidance moves away from accusatory, manipulative, confession-driven techniques and provides information on how to operate the presumption of innocence in the pursuit of truth.”

Experts say that an official protocol must be steeped in the main principles of international human rights law and prohibit torture and ill-treatment.

Non-accusatory technique

It is recommended that a non-interrogative interviewing technique is used as a way to gather information from a suspect, witness or victim of crime.

Such a technique, known as the PEACE model, has been used in England, Wales, and other countries since the early 1990s, and it is highly successful.

PEACE stands for Preparation and planning; Engage and explain; Account, clarify and challenge; Closure; Evaluation.

Dr Oxburgh added: “This model is a non-confrontational approach and is conversational in tone. It is ethical and non-aggressive which helps to reduce the number of false confessions.

“A significant amount of scientific research has been conducted which looks at best interview techniques and Professor Méndez was keen to hear about recent studies in this area, including my own on the use of empathy in investigative interviews.

“Many international organisations, including divisions of the United Nations, the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and the South African Police Service, have already received training in the PEACE model of interviewing by the iIIRG.

“It was a great honour and privilege to be invited to contribute to the United Nations discussion and it shows that the research carried out at Newcastle University and by members of the iIIRG into this field is well respected internationally.”

Dr Oxburgh has recently co-edited two books in the area of investigative interviewing and is regarded as a leader in his field.

It is now hoped that Member States of the UN will lead on the development of a universal protocol, under the support of the UN, and with a wide range of organisations, including civil society, law enforcement and academia.

N8 PRP International Strand hosts conference: Working with the 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’.

N8 PRP Training and Learning strand host second workshop: ‘Data analysis, management and crime mapping’

13 October 2016

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:

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

N8 PRP Policing Innovation Forum 2016 to focus on domestic abuse

11 October 2016

The N8 PRP is due to host is next major event the Policing Innovation Forum (PIF) on November 8th 2016 in Manchester and this will initiate the year’s focus on the topic of vulnerability. This provides an update on how the event is shaping up.

This event will take an innovative approach in exploring creative ways to implement positive change in the important area of domestic abuse. The purpose is not to discuss and revisit prior research but to examine innovations in policing non-physical forms of domestic abuse – policing coercive and controlling behaviours [the need to use the new coercive control legislation which came into force in December 2015 and innovation around training, evidence collecting, arrests and prosecutions for this new offence type]. The morning discussions will be focused around a number of key questions. The purpose of the afternoon will be to use an innovative conference design to collect data in real time drawing on the expertise of those in the room in order to create a new N8 roadmap for improvements that can be followed up through different strands and new collaborations.

While there now exists many decades of research on policing domestic abuse, there remains high levels of domestic abuse in society which leads to the reduction of quality of life for many (including impacts on children) and ultimately in domestic homicide for some. The introduction of the new criminal offence of coercive and controlling behaviour has been introduced as a new tool to try and make a difference and reduce domestic abuse.

The last fifteen years in particular have seen a range of new policing related interventions (domestic homicide reviews, risk assessments, MARACs, Clare’s Law, DVPOs etc.) which have all been evaluated to different extents. There exists a body of research on these interventions which has been incorporated to different extents into practice. There is therefore an opportunity to see how existing research is/can be best incorporated into practice. The event will be opened by Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria.

There is also a range of new potential developments, such as the use of restorative justice, which is highly contentious in this area of research. This is underpinned by ‘big’ questions which have gone relatively unexamined while the focus has been on specific interventions. Some of these ‘big’ questions include, for example, the role of the victim in having control over decisions (such as involvement in restorative justice, when arrest and prosecution should take place against the victims wishes) and whether a traditionally punitive criminal justice approach ‘works’ or whether more based diversionary interventions should be considered. These and other questions will be explored by delegates, supported by a range of experts.

The event will conclude by encouraging delegates to network and agree collaborative plans to take agreed research priorities forward.


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.

Domestic Abuse has been identified by the N8 PRP as a common top level priority and there is concern that the current and wide-ranging research in relation to Domestic Abuse appears not to be having a significant impact in the policing of this issue. Following discussions, it was agreed that the main theme of the PIF will be ‘Vulnerability’ but that within this the issue of ‘Domestic Abuse’ will serve as a focus to explore a range of interconnected associated problems and causes.

The aim of the Forum will not be to discuss and revisit prior research but to encourage creative discussion on why it has proved so difficult to implement positive change in this pressing challenge for policing and to determine new and innovative research approaches in tackling the short, medium and long term characteristics of Domestic Abuse.

The aims of the day are:

  1. For policing partners and academic to feel energised by the potential to innovate to improve the policing of domestic abuse
  2. To create new knowledge in real time given the level of expertise in the room
  3. For academics to gain new insight into policing partners views on different research topics and help them formulate new relevant research questions and methods
  4. For policing partners to learn more about the potential of research to assist them in policing domestic abuse
  5. To create new research/policing collaborations
What Works Centre – College Bursary Scheme 2016/17

15 September 2016

The College Bursary Scheme provides an opportunity for police officers and staff in forces in England and Wales to apply for funding to support a programme of higher education academic study. It supports police practitioners to develop their skills, knowledge and expertise in the use of research, to extend the reach of evidence based practice, and to contribute to their continuing professional development. Police practitioners can apply for up to £3,000 per year for up to two years of study, a maximum of £6,000 in total.

In this year’s scheme, the College expects to award bursaries to around 15-20 practitioners. High demand for the scheme this year may strengthen our case for funding to be made available in future years, when we hope to run a similar scheme again.

Further details on the Scheme, including the eligibility criteria, application and selection process, can be found in the Scheme’s frequently asked questions document.

To apply, please download the Application Form, Equal Opportunities Monitoring form and associated guidance.

The closing date for applications is Tuesday, 11 October 2016 (midnight). Your completed application form and the Equal Opportunity Monitoring form must be returned to one of the following before the deadline:

If you have any questions about the Scheme or require any further information please contact us at

New forms of data centre for doctoral training

22 August 2016

The N8 PRP are very pleased to announce a new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Professor Mark Birkin at the University of Leeds will now be leading DataStream: A Centre for Doctoral Training in New Forms of Data, along with collaborating universities (all N8): University of Manchester, University of Sheffield and University of Liverpool. This will be the only ESRC funded CDT in New Forms of Data across the UK and beat off significant competition from other university consortia. Funding has been awarded for three cohorts of at least 10 students per year commencing in 2017.

This is part of the ESRC post graduate strategy and will the first time they have funded CDTs which will deliver training in focused, thematic interdisciplinary research areas. To find out more about this and other awards please visit the ESRC Postgraduate Strategy page.

N8 PRP announces ‘vulnerability’ as the focus for the year ahead

8 August 2016

‘Vulnerability’ is a huge challenge for modern policing, vulnerable victims are often at greater risk of harm and cases are complex, and require sensitive multi-agency approaches. Now more than ever police forces are faced with the challenge of effectively identifying and supporting vulnerable victims from harm and exploitation, and this places major demand on police resources in an age of austerity.

Following consultation with both policing practitioners and academics it was clear that there is a need to further explore and understand some of the complexities of policing the vulnerable. As such it has been agreed that the N8 PRP will focus its next year of activities on crime areas which fall within the topic of vulnerability, this will include but is not exclusive to: mental health; domestic abuse; child sexual exploitation; hate crime; homelessness; drug and alcohol misuse.

Over the coming year the partnership will support new research and facilitate knowledge exchange, working closely with all partners, including the College of Policing to try to respond to three main questions:

  • How can police forces work more closely and effectively with social care and partner agencies to safeguard the vulnerable?
  • How can police forces exploit existing research more effectively and implement findings into authorised police practice?
  • What are the gaps in current research and where can we best support new areas of research to improve the effectiveness of policing the vulnerable?

The N8 PRP is due to host is next major event the Policing Innovation Forum (PIF) on 8 November 2016 in Manchester and this will initiate the year’s emphasis on to the topic of vulnerability.

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.

Domestic Abuse has been identified by policing partners as a common top level priority and there is concern that the current and wide-ranging research in relation to Domestic Abuse appears not to be having a significant impact in the policing of this issue. Following discussion at a recent steering group meeting, it was agreed that the main theme of the PIF will be ‘Vulnerability’ but that within this the issue of ‘Domestic Abuse’ will serve as a focus to explore a range of interconnected associated problems and causes.

The aim of the Forum will not be to discuss and revisit prior research but to encourage creative discussion on why it has proved so difficult to implement positive change in this pressing challenge for policing and to determine new and innovative research approaches in tackling the short, medium and long term characteristics of Domestic Abuse.

Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI) Research Showcase Shorts – Dr Carly Lightowlers

2 August 2016

LSSI Social Sciences Shorts is an on-going series of engaging video interviews with leading social scientists working at the University that showcase research excellence with impact. Among other interviews Professor Adam Crawford (Director of Leeds Social Sciences Institute & N8 PRP) talks to Dr Carly Lightowlers (Academic Fellow, Crime and Policing Data Analytics) about how a bottle of wine symbolises her work around young people’s alcohol consumption and its relationship with violence.

Carly is a member of the N8 PRP Data Analytics team, focused on collaboration with police and academic partners to support data sharing, analysis, and use. The strand have plans to develop a forum and clearing house to improve data quality and accessibility with the aim of creating new opportunities for research co-production.

LSSI provides cross faculty support for the social sciences targeted around three key priorities: developing interdisciplinary research excellence; maximising impact, knowledge exchange and user engagement; ensuring training and capacity building.

Watch the full series of LSSI Research Showcase Shorts here

N8 PRP hosts its first annual knowledge exchange conference

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

N8 PRP Director, Professor Adam Crawford speaks at international symposium on ‘Evidence based policing’

20 June 2016

Professor Adam Crawford of the University of Leeds Law School and Director of the N8 Policing Research Partnership (N8 PRP), recently gave a presentation on the merits and lessons of co-production in police-university relations to an international symposium on ‘Evidence Based Policing’ organised by Professor Johannes Knutsson of the Norwegian Police University College and held in Kongsvinger, Norway on 24-26 May 2016.

His paper, entitled: ‘Research co-production and knowledge mobilisation in policing: Some insights from innovations in police-university collaboration’ drew on experiences and insights gained in developing the ESRC Knowledge Exchange project with West Yorkshire Police (2014-15) as well as the ongoing HEFCE funded Catalyst grant that is supporting the N8 Policing Research Partnership.

Professor Knutsson is one of the international advisors to the N8 PRP. Other delegates include other members of the N8 PRP Advisory Board, including Professor Gloria Laycock (UCL), Professor Lorraine Mazerolle (Queensland University) and Betsy Stanko, as well as Rachel Tuffin of the College of Policing.

The symposium will result in an international collection of essays to be published by Routledge early in 2017 provisionally entitled ‘Advances in Evidence Based Policing’ edited by Johannes Knutsson and Lisa Thompson (UCL).

N8 Policing Research Partnership – Annual Report 2016

16 May 2016

The N8 PRP Annual Report 2016 is now available.

Consumer Data Research Centre – Computer programming for social scientists – Autumn School 2016

13 May 2016

The Consumer Data Research Centre are pleased to announce that applications are now welcome for places at the Computer Programming for Social Scientists – Autumn School 2016. The course will take place between 8 and 15 September 2016 at the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, University of Leeds.

This hands-on seven day summer school aims to bring social scientists without any programming experience to the point where they can program their own social science models and applications. It will provide a beginner’s-level introduction to computer programming using examples drawn from social science. It will also introduce key libraries, methodologies, and platforms available for social science programmers.

The emphasis for the school will be on practical, hands-on development of skills, each day building up core programming ideas. Students will learn the high-level programming language Java. Java was chosen because it is the most in-demand language in industry, and because people who learn the language should have no difficulty subsequently picking up other languages. Students will be introduced to general good practice in coding and other aspects of programming.

To apply please complete the online form and please email a CV concentrating on your experience, if any, with computers and computer programming and your background in social science to: Eleri Pound –

Deadline for applications: 17 July 2016

Full details

Computer Programming for Social Scientists: CDRC Autumn School – 8-15 September 2016, Leeds, UK

This hands-on seven day autumn school aims to bring social scientists without any programming experience to the point where they can program their own social science models and applications. It will provide a beginner’s-level introduction to computer programming using examples drawn from social science. It will also introduce key libraries, methodologies, and platforms available for social science programmers.

The emphasis for the school will be on practical, hands-on development of skills, each day building up core programming ideas. Students will learn the high-level programming language Java. Java was chosen because it is the most in-demand language in the industry, and because people who learn the language should have no difficulty subsequently picking up other languages. Students will be introduced to general good practice in coding and other aspects of programming.

Practical work will include building up social science models. Practicals will centre on Agent-Based Modelling, as it is a powerful technique that is nevertheless relatively clear for beginners. However the course will also introduce students to Spatial Microsimulation, a range of Artificial Intelligence techniques, and Scientific Visualisation. Days four and seven will be “hacking” workshops specifically for students to build their own software with advice from experienced staff.


Day 1

The core elements of computer programming I:
Objects, classes and variables
Arrays and Collections
Evening Lecture

Day 2

The core elements of computer programming II:
Flow control
Methods and access control
Evening lecture

Day 3

The core elements of computer programming III:
Evening lecture

Day 4

Students get to work on their own projects, with support from staff
Using Eclipse

Day 5

The core elements of computer programming IV:
User interfaces and graphics
Evening lecture

Day 6

The core elements of computer programming V:
Agent-Based Modelling platforms (alternatives
will be available for those not wanting to do
ABM, including GIS programming)

Day 7

Students get to work on their own projects, with support from staff.
Using Github


Dr Andy Evans has over 30 years programming experience, and has taught social science programming for over 10 years. His specialist areas are online GIS and agent-based modelling of socio-economic and ecological systems.

To Apply


£280 for postgraduate students
£500 for researchers, academic staff, public & charitable sector

Application deadline

17 July 2016


Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, University of Leeds


*Fees will include tuition, refreshments and lunches for the week. Travel and accommodation are not included.

Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI) Research Showcase Shorts – Dr Teela Sanders

26 April 2016

LSSI Social Sciences Shorts is an on-going series of engaging video interviews with leading social scientists working at the University that showcase research excellence with impact. Among other interviews Professor Adam Crawford, Director of N8 PRP and LSSI talks to Teela Saunders (Professor of Sociology) about the impact Maggie O’Neill’s ‘Prostitution And Feminism’ had on her research interests.

LSSI provides cross faculty support for the social sciences targeted around three key priorities: developing interdisciplinary research excellence; maximising impact, knowledge exchange and user engagement; ensuring training and capacity building.

Evidence driving change in police practice: an update from the SEBP annual conference
‘Exploring evidenced based policing’ an N8 Policing Research Partnership 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-Binning, Corinne May-Chahal or Ian Paylor

Professor Adam Crawford represents N8 at parliamentary reception

19 February 2016

Professor Adam Crawford was part of a senior team representing the N8 Universities to present at a Parliamentary Reception on 8th February which outlined the N8’s vision for Innovation-led Northern economic growth.

N8 presented itself as a willing partner in ensuring that northern research voices are heard in national innovation and economic policy-making. Newly appointed Chair of the N8 Research Partnership, Koen Lamberts delivered the keynote address to an audience of MPs, government department officials and leading academics at a specially convened reception at the Houses of Parliament. He began by underlining the strength of the North’s research and innovation base, which has world class assets and expertise in academic, research centres and business. Professor Lamberts explained that the Northern universities, through the N8, are driving increased collaboration across the region. He reiterated that the N8 universities are passionately committed to playing a central role in regional economic growth and called for further major investment in Northern world-class research and innovation capabilities, improved infrastructure, and support for research translation and cross pollination between academia and public and private sectors.

Professor Lamberts said:

“The North has distinctive research strengths that can be translated into innovation-led growth – taking the region towards an economic future built on world class research centres. However, Northern innovation ambitions will need national government support to turn them into reality.

The N8 Research Partnership can serve as a coherent regional voice with national government about the exciting potential of an innovation-led economy for of the North.”

The event was sponsored by Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne Central and Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, as well as Culture, Media and Sport. Ms Onwurah said: “Increasing the skills base for the region is key to our economy. Also, ensuring we provide a careers path and attractive lifestyle to retain our highly skilled graduates within the region. N8 Universities can play an important role in addressing these key challenges.”

N8 policing research

One of two key N8 research areas highlighted throughout the event in the field of ‘urban transformation’ was the N8 Policing Research Partnership which is leading the way in delivering research excellence with impact. This pioneering research collaboration, led by Professor Adam Crawford at the University of Leeds, with the Northern police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners enables policing innovation to address real-world challenges.

Professor Crawford said:

“The N8 Policing Research Partnership is a dynamic Northern Powerhouse in policing research and knowledge exchange that is harnessing the skills, capabilities and resources across the North of England and providing multi-disciplinary expertise in problem-solving. It is already delivering research co-production and knowledge exchange at a scale with real impact by fostering cross-force collaborations. It provides a model of how to build sustainable relations of trust, openness and honesty as a platform for expert-led collaborations with implications for other sectors.

“Our philosophy is that those who are going to use research and apply the knowledge base should be involved in building it by actively co-producing the evidence. Policing professionals need to become knowledge producers as well as evidence users.”

N8 Collaboration and innovation

Professor David Hogg, Pro-VC for Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds also spoke on how N8 high performance computing is supporting business innovation. Other speakers at the event included Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President of The University of Manchester, who articulated the strengths of collaboration exemplified through equipment sharing between N8 universities, and the existing regional strengths in advanced materials and life sciences.

The North of England’s devolution deals, track record of reinvention through regeneration and the current need for addressing societal needs based on innovation poses a unique opportunity.

The N8 universities are established as anchor institutions in their cities to help drive economic regeneration. Through their expertise in engaging with public and private sector bodies to co-produce research with direct, real world applications, the N8 universities are taking a lead in:

  • Applied urban policy – provision of an evidence base that will provide practical solutions for better urban living, and societal success.
  • Policing research – helping police forces to meet and address the changing nature of law enforcement in the 21st century
  • Community-based research – developing new methods for mutual benefit
  • Culture and Heritage – ensuring integration and utilisation of cultural asserts for community cohesion, graduate retention and urban growth.
Call for papers – North East Crime Research Network Conference

8 February 2016

Thursday, 6 April 2016, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne

The North East Crime Research Network is a network of criminology and criminal law postgraduate students, early career researchers, academics and practitioners from across the region. Our aim is to provide a friendly and supportive network for discussion and the sharing of ideas. We are delighted to be hosting our second conference on Thursday 6th April in conjunction with the Centre for Crime and Justice, Northumbria University.

Proposals for papers are welcomed on any topic related to crime, including (but not limited to):

  • policing
  • sentencing
  • probation
  • prisons
  • youth justice
  • restorative justice
  • hate crime
  • organised crime
  • domestic violence and sexual abuse
  • drug/alcohol use
  • green criminology

We are keen to host a variety of papers from as many different perspectives as possible. We therefore encourage submissions from researchers from any academic field, including: criminology; philosophy; law; neuroscience; psychology, etc. We also encourage practitioners from a wide range of sectors including police, probation, youth offending, housing, etc. as well as academics at all stages of their career – particularly PhD and early career researchers.

Abstracts should be no more than 250 words long. Please include your name, institution/ organisation and title of your paper/talk.

Deadline for all submissions is Friday, 19 February 2016. Abstracts should be sent to Kelly Stockdale (Email:

Submissions can also be made by groups of three or four people who wish to present as a panel on a particular theme – please clearly indicate on your abstract if it is to form part of panel session, including the names of co-panelists.

Call for papers – Rethinking cybercrime

8 February 2016

Monday, 27 and Tuesday, 28 June 2016 – University of Central Lancashire, Preston

Organised by UCLan Cybercrime Research Unit [UCRU]

Keynote speakers

  • Professor Michael Clarke (Director, Rusi)
  • Professor Majid Yar
  • Dr Tim Owen (Director, UCRU)

We are delighted to inform you about an exciting international conference devoted to Cybercrime. The theme of the conference is to critically examine the current ‘state of play’ in global Cybercrime in relation to a diverse range of issues including terrorism, online sexual predation, property/identity theft, cyber-bullying, virtual criminology, cyber-security and trolling, in tandem with attempts to ‘rethink’ ways in which we might conceptualise theoretical developments, inform social and educational policy, respond to threats and prevent and combat online criminal behaviour.

Call for papers

UCLan Cybercrime Research Unit [UCRU] are warmly inviting and encouraging participation and attendance from academics, practitioners, professionals and students from a diverse spectrum of disciplines and fields including:

  • Criminology and criminal justice
  • Policing, law enforcement and forensic investigation
  • Law
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and social policy
  • Information technology and computing
  • Security and counter-terrorism
  • Armed services
  • International relations
  • Prison services

Broad conference themes

  • The emergence of ‘virtual criminology’
  • The growth of cyber-space as a major site for crime and moral transgression
  • Cyber-terrorism and role of the internet in radicalisation
  • Identity theft and online fraud
  • Intellectual property crime
  • Online sexual predation & grooming
  • Surveillance, monitoring and privacy
  • Effectiveness of law and order agencies to control cybercrime
  • Security services [private and government]
  • Hate crime and hate speak
  • Trolling and anti-social behaviour
  • False accusation and defamation
  • Social networking and deviance

In addition to these broad themes, we welcome submissions for papers and poster presentations on any aspect of cybercrime.

Submitting your paper

Please submit a 300 word abstract linked to the broad themes of the conference by 1 March 2016

Abstracts will appear in the conference booklet and selected papers will appear in a proposed edited collection with a leading academic publisher.

Feedback date: by June 2016

Conditions of submission

The abstracts should be submitted by email [Microsoft Word format preferred] to Liz Roberts in the Conference Team:

The subject-line of the email should clearly state, ‘Rethinking Cybercrime Conference Abstract’. All submissions will be reviewed by a Conference Review Committee, chaired by Dr Tim Owen, Director of UCRU.

Abstracts must include the following:

  • The title of the abstract
  • The name of the author[s]/presenter[s], institution represented, postal address, and email address
  • The name of the primary contact person for conference information

Please state your preference for a paper or poster presentation

The word-length of the abstract should not exceed 300 words

Please note: All presenters and delegates will be required to pay the fee of £200 for the attendance of the two day conference.

For further information about the conference please contact Liz Roberts at UCLan Conference and Events Team on 01772892650 or via email:

Additionally, for any further updates please check the website for new information:

For further information please check our website.

2015 news archive

N8 seeking academic partner to support police research

21 December 2015

Applications are now open for an academic partner to work with a police researcher in the pilot of the ‘People Exchange’ strand.

The N8 Policing Research Partnership operates through various activity strands led out of each of our partner institutions. Durham University leads on our ‘People Exchange’ strand which aims to provide significant staff mobility and interaction between police/partner agencies and academics in HEIs. The intention is to foster greater mutual understanding and trust between the partners via people exchange, including secondments, internships and placements, and also to facilitate research into priority policing issues. Durham are currently seeking an academic partner to support a police researcher seconded to the project for the equivalent of three months full time. Details of the role are below.

  • Topic: Exploratory research into utilising restorative approaches with organised crime groups
  • Partner police force: Durham Constabulary
  • Timing: Closing date for applications: 5pm Friday 04 December 2015. The project is expected to run from end-January to end-April 2016.
  • Resources: There is no direct financial resource allocated for academic time but all fieldwork costs will be covered. The police researcher will be seconded to the project for the equivalent of three months full time.
  • Benefits to academics: This is an opportunity to work in partnership with a highly motivated and self-organised police staff officer with previous research and academic publishing experience. Anticipated outputs include: co-authored published article in a peer-reviewed journal; open access pieces such as The Conversation; development of recommendations with the potential to change national policy and practice; and a joint presentation at the British Society of Criminology conference.
  • Next steps for academics wanting to apply: To apply please complete the attached form and email to by the closing date. For an informal conversation please contact Professor Nicole Westmarland (strand lead) by email or on 07786 173809. Please note you must be employed at an N8 institution to apply.
  • Next steps for the scheme: Following the piloting of this strand an open call for police/academics on all areas of policing will be made in 2016.
N8 PRP work with Beyond the Gaze on police prostitution strategy and learning

4 December 2015

Focusing on The working practices, regulation and safety of Internet-based sex work in the UK – an N8 PRP Updated National Police Prostitution Strategy and Learning event

The Leeds Social Science Institute at the University of Leeds is funding a learning event with the N8 Police Research Partnership to launch the revised and updated Police Prostitution Strategy from the National Chief Police Council.

The event will take place on 8th February 2016 in Leeds and will focus on good practice in policing and protection initiatives with sex workers. Starting the day, ACC Nicky Holland the lead for Prostitution at the NCPC will outline what is new in the approach and the overall ethos. This will be followed by good practice examples from Chief Constable Christopher Bowen from West Yorkshire Police speaking about the innovative managed area operating in Leeds, and a presentation from London Metropolitan Police on dealing sexual assault cases. The afternoon showcases new and innovative work using net reach tools and the National Ugly Mugs will report on the new safety technologies which are currently underdeveloped.

The programme is packed with experts and cutting edge approaches to the rights and protection of sex workers. For those interested in attending please contact Teela Sanders on

Beyond the Gaze is a collaborative research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council for three years starting in September 2015.

The sex industry has been impacted by changes in technology, particularly digital communication. With online sex markets expanding and diversifying with little in the way of regulation the project asks: How has the Internet shaped the 21st Century adult commercial sex industry in the UK and what is the role of regulation?

The team, working with National Ugly Mugs (NUM, UK Network of Sex Work Projects) hope to provide an internet based outreach (Netreach) service for sex workers as well as a Netreach toolkit for good practice models of Internet outreach. Already the project provides an online resource hub for both practitioners and sex workers, find out more here.

“The N8 provides a rich resource of personnel and expertise to join up thinking and partnerships to make research matter across disciplines and organisations. This event benefits from the infrastructure that N8 has to provide as well as reaching out to key police partners who may not otherwise know about our past and current research activities and how they can link in as Beyond the Gaze progresses.”
Teela Sanders, Professor in Sociology at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds

Call for Small Grant Awards 2015 2016

11 November 2015

Funding to Support Innovation and Research Co-production from the N8 Policing Research Partnership Catalyst Project.

The Small Grants Awards open call will provide pump-priming funds of up to £25,000 to support research into targeted and important areas of policing work where the gaps in knowledge are most prominent and where research benefits are of greatest value. It will provide the necessary flexibility to move swiftly to respond to emergent areas of policing, new challenges and pressing concerns. Ideas generated via the ‘Policing Innovation Forum’ activity strand (which in October 2015 was on the theme of Cyber-crime) are particularly welcomed as are proposals that link to other activity strands and ensure stakeholder involvement in the choice of topics for research co-production.

The intention is to support emergent collaborations and innovative partnerships between researchers and policing partners and research pilots that will result in applications for larger funding grants. We are focusing the Catalyst Project Small Grants Awards towards building multi-partner collaborations. The purpose of allocating funds is to facilitate and energise the development of proposals for collaborations – we expect this to take the form of short projects, delivering a proposal for larger scale collaborations. This funding is for the strategic development of research collaborations, as well as research itself.

Applicants are asked to complete the following application form in line with the criteria detailed in the ‘Process for applying for Catalyst project Small Grant Awards’.

Setting out proposals for activities costing up to £25,000. Please note that these activities must be completed by 31 March 2017 at which point funding will no longer be available.

Applicants should submit the application to Dr. Jill Clark ( by Thursday 14th January 2016

Applications will be considered by the N8 PRP Catalyst Project independent panel and awarded by the project Steering Group in late March 2016.

Confirmation of funding decisions will be made following this Steering Group with the intention that projects will be able to start as soon as possible from the beginning of April 2016.

You can view emerging ideas from this years Policing Innovation Forum in the news article above this one.

The first Innovation Forum delivers opportunities for police and universities to co-create research

2 November 2015

N8 PRPs first major event, the N8 Policing Innovation Forum was held on 14 October 2015 and is the dynamic ‘engine’ of innovation at the heart of the overall project. Our policing partners identified Cybercrime as a priority topic for this event and Forum brought together key policing and academic partners along with wider stakeholders to identify key research areas, stimulate knowledge exchange and drive innovation.

Key speakers at the N8 Innovation Forum included:

  • Sir Peter Fahy (Chief Constable, GMP)
  • Vanessa Smith (West Yorkshire Police Cyber Team)
  • John Parkinson (Exec Policing & Security Consultant)
  • Martin Tyley (KPMG)
  • Prof. David. S. Wall (Professor of Criminology, University of Leeds)
  • Prof. Nick Tilley (Professor of Security & Crime Science)

This was an energising and stimulating event, ambitiously combining keynote addresses along with market place ideas exchange and live role play. It showcased creative collaborative thinking and a huge thanks to all that took part.

Professor Adam Crawford, Director of the N8 Policing Research Partnership, said:

“The calibre of creative thinking and curiosity brought to this event was truly impressive. It demonstrates the need to work collaboratively in order to innovate in addressing key policing priorities. Of all the challenges to contemporary policing, cyber-crime demands that we think differently and develop innovative ways of working”

“The Policing Innovation Forum is further example of the manner in which N8 universities are collaborating with policing partners in novel ways to co-produce knowledge that will inform future policing strategies and help ensure police practices that conform with the best research evidence available.”

Some fantastic and challenging ideas for collaborative research initiatives were delivered and we hope to see these explored over the coming year. Mike Cunningham (HMIC), who attended the event gave the takeaway message:

“To academics your biggest gift to policing is challenge. To police your biggest task is to embrace challenge”

Marketplace notes

Funding to Support Innovation and Research Co-production from the N8 Policing Research Partnership Catalyst Project has now been annouced and details about applying for the small grant awards 2015/2016 can be found here

Sir Peter Fahy tells first N8 Police Forum that innovation will help to fight Cybercrime


View the full video for the speakers and role play

'Crime, Justice and Society' - free online course from the University of Sheffield

2 October 2015

A free online course starting 12 October. Explore the role of the state and criminal justice interventions in producing safe and just societies. What traditional and innovative responses to crime and victimisation work? Why do people stop offending? Which interventions are seen as fair and lawful? Alongside a team of specialists from the School of Law, you will explore, debate and research subjects such as crime and criminal justice; policing; victim and victim support; restorative justice; prisons and confinement; community sanctions; and desistance. You will hear from criminal justice practitioners, police and probation officers, former offenders, victims, academics and historians to create a detailed view of the criminal justice system; from crime through to desistance. Sign up at

N8 Policing Research Partnership gains a new police partner

4 June 2015

Cheshire Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire have announced a formal collaboration with the N8 Policing Research Partnership.

Cheshire Constabulary joins ten other police forces across the north of England that have committed to form a collaborative partnership with the N8 PRP, to provide a regional hub for the north of England, generating research and knowledge exchange work of national relevance and international significance.

Existing police forces and Offices of the Police and Crime Commissioners that are partners in the N8 PRP include Cumbria, Durham, Humberside, Lancashire, Northumbria, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Roberts, of Cheshire Constabulary, said: “Cheshire Constabulary are committed to being part of the developing relationship between police and academia. Cheshire continue to embed Evidence Based Policing in the county and we already work with local, regional and national academic partners to achieve the best results that we can to improve policing for our communities.

“Cheshire Constabulary saw the opportunity to become involved with the N8 PRP as a further development in the benefits of exchanging knowledge and sharing research ideas to ensure that we do not duplicate existing activity and profit from innovation that truly works to reduce crime and disorder.”

DCI Roberts added that Neighbourhood Policing, supported by specialist units, is at the centre of Cheshire Constabulary’s delivery and that research available from the N8 PRP will support this programme, whether this is innovation around problem solving in communities and businesses, or the innovative research it has developed to tackle organised crime groups in partnership with academics from business departments.

DCI Roberts continued: “There has been for some years a growth in investment in policing that has now been replaced with a period of austerity. This, together with a rapid change in crime – such as a reduction in more traditional crimes – will mean that police organisations will all need to be in a position to adapt and change rapidly and to future proof their agencies.

“Whether the focus is towards new crime types, such as cyber-enabled crime, or police legitimacy, police need to focus their reduced human resources towards activity they know works. To achieve this the relationship between the police and universities is vital – firstly to ensure that real evaluation takes place on police activity and secondly that police begin to take ownership of the research as opposed to it being ‘done to them’, as may have happened in the past.”

Professor Adam Crawford, the Director of the N8 PRP, based in the School of Law at the University of Leeds, said: “The N8 PRP is delighted to welcome Cheshire Constabulary to our growing number of policing partners who are keen to transform relations between the police and universities and, in so doing, ensure a greater role for research evidence in informing policing practices.

“THe N8 PRP combines the research excellence and academic expertise of the N8 universities with the resources, capabilities and practical experience of the contributing police forces. This partnership with Cheshire Constabulary further enhances our ability to make a real difference to public safety through cutting-edge research and knowledge exchange.

“With out new five-year programme, which aims to strengthen the evidence base upon which policing policy, practice and learning are developed, the N8 PRP is set to make an important contrbution to innovation and the application of research in advancing the professionalisation of policing. It is vital that we have partners of the calibre and commitment as Cheshire Constabulary on board and playing a key role in this pioneering work.”

Major funding announced for N8 Policing Research Partnership

24 February 2015

A new programme of research and knowledge sharing is to play a key role in informing future policing policy, following funding for a major research collaboration in the North of England.

The £3m grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which is supplemented by a further £3.686m from policing partners and other universities will enable the N8 Policing Research Partnership (N8 PRP), to take a major step forward in developing and testing innovative approaches to policing and crime reduction.

Lead by the University of Leeds, the programme of activities brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines, Police and Crime Commissioners, police and partners organisations to generate new insights with practical relevance. The five-year project aims to strengthen the evidence base upon which policing policy, practice and learning are developed, with impacts nationally and internationally. It is anticipated that this initiative will make an important contribution to innovation and the utilisation of research in advancing the professionalisation of policing.

Professor Adam Crawford, of the School of Law at the University of Leeds and the Director of the N8 PRP, explained: “We want to transform the relationship between police users and academic researchers so that we co-produce the knowledge that will inform and improve the policing strategies of the future.”

The Innovation and the Application of Knowledge for More Effective Policing programme will provide mechanisms to bring researchers and practitioners together to design and undertake research that focuses specifically on new and emerging challenges for policing.

Key priorities of the initiative are research co-production, innovation in policing strategies, mobilising human and data resources to understand crime patterns, and citizen engagement to assess the public reception of new technologies, policing practices and change.

Professor Crawford added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to combine the intellectual power and research excellence of eight leading Universities with the resources, capabilities and practical skills of police forces across the north of England. We are delighted to have the support and backing of HEFCE and the contributing Police and Crime Commissioners and senior police command teams. Together, we now have an opportunity to make a real difference to public safety through cutting-edge research and knowledge exchange that will deliver collaborative advantages.”

Sir Alan Langlands, Chair of the N8 Research Partnership, said: “This ground-breaking initiative will extend the existing successes and work of the N8 Research Partnership beyond science and technology into the social sciences. It will enable policing researchers across the N8 universities to collaborate with a broad range of policing stakeholders to deliver excellent research with impact and application in areas with considerable public benefit. I am delighted that this pioneering work is taking place in the north of England; though I am confident that it will have both national and international significance.”

Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, one of the forces involved in the project, stated: “We are excited to be part of this pioneering collaboration. We look forward to working with the N8 Research Partnership to shape and deliver a wide-ranging programme of activities that will enable us to become more efficient and effective in our frontline activities, to cut crime and keep people safe.

“It is essential that we develop new ways of dealing with the complexities of policing, protecting vulnerable people and every variety of threat, such as terrorism, cyber-crime and sex offenders. In order to do this it is right that we make full and appropriate use of the expertise that lies in our universities so as to develop the evidence needed to tackle these and any emerging challenges.”

David Sweeney, the Director for Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange at HEFCE added: “The N8 Partnership between policing and higher education can deliver a recognised body of knowledge, evidence and expertise on policing and crime reduction, and has the potential to generate co-operative and innovative solutions to policing issues. HEFCE is delighted to support this multi-university collaboration.”

National Public Order Police Liaison Officer Conference

4 January 2015

Liaison based public order policing: Creating a coordinated evidence based approach – University of Leeds, 26-27 March 2015

This free-to-attend event is open to police, academics and other stakeholders. It will enable a fuller understanding of the status, benefits and pitfalls of Police Liaison Team (PLT) deployments and will be invaluable for those forces with, or planning to develop, PLTs. For further information, please see

2014 news archive

Event brings together academics and police to discuss innovation

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.

N8 event to shape development of regional policing

11 March 2014

Confirmed speakers at the event include:

  • Prof Dame Shirley Pearce, Chair of the College of Policing
  • Sir Peter Fahy QPM, Chief Constable, Greater Manchester Police
  • Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington


A round table panel including senior representatives from operational policing, the Offices of the Police and Crime Commissioners, government and funders and researchers will discuss some of the key issues.

Delegates will also discuss development of the N8 regional policing research hub, funded through the College of Policing’s Innovation Capacity Fund, as a platform for knowledge exchange, and innovation around eight key themes:

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


Discussions will also focus on how the hub can lead to greater collaboration between universities, PCCs, police forces and partner organisations across the north of England.

2013 news archive

N8 Partnership receives policing research grant

21 December 2013

The funding from the professional body for policing in England and Wales has been awarded to create a regional network for evidence-based policing so that police methods and techniques for tackling crime can be tested, helping the police service to become more efficient.

It will work with officers to build their knowledge of evidence-based research and give them opportunities to start research in their own area of expertise. This work can then be shared with their colleagues across the country in other forces. The partnership, based in Leeds, includes scholars from eight universities across the north of England.

Professor Adam Crawford, of the School of Law at the University of Leeds, said:

“This is a great opportunity for us to do something innovative 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 look forward to working with the College of Policing and our local partners, PCCs and police forces to realise the full potential that this award offers us to create a regional hub fostering experiments in research co-production, knowledge exchange and advanced training opportunities.”

A mixture of 75 academic institutions and police forces submitted bids to the College for sums of up to £50,000.

The University of Leeds is one of seven universities, two police forces and a crime prevention charity which were all given grants totalling £496,000 to create local networks between police and academic partners.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williamson, said:

“As we look at ways of becoming more efficient as policing suffers severe and continued cuts and we look at protecting frontline policing, being awarded this £50,000 is a great opportunity for successful research through collaborative working.”

College of Policing head of research, Rachel Tuffin, said:

“This funding for a regional hub at the University of Leeds will be a springboard for future research allowing police officers and staff to access more evidence to help them to cut crime and keep the public safe.

“I am hugely excited by the contribution this partnership will make to the way the police service goes about its work and the benefits that will result for the service and the public.”

N8 launches policing research partnership

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.