A new programme of research and knowledge sharing is to play a key role in informing future policing policy, following funding for a major new 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 academics and the police, working as the N8 Policing Research Partnership (N8 PRP), to take a major step forward in developing and testing innovative approaches to policing and crime reduction.
The programme of activities brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines, Police and Crime Commissioners, police and partner organisations to generate new insights with practical relevance. The five-year project, led by the University of Leeds, and which involves Newcastle University, 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.
One of the key priorities of the initiative is 'research co-production', a strand that will be led by Newcastle University. Jill Clark, (pictured) Principal Investigator, said: “How we go about building excellent and sustainable research capacity to tackle new and emerging fields of enquiry and policing challenges will be key to the success of this project.”
Gavin Oxburgh, Forensic Psychologist, co-investigator and co-lead of the Newcastle University N8 PRP team, added: “This research grant allows Newcastle University, together with the other N8 PRP universities, to take a major step forward in developing and testing innovative approaches to policing and crime reduction.
“We will be working closely with the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, various police forces, and Your Homes Newcastle, to tackle new and emerging policing challenges, which will really put Newcastle University at the heart of policing studies in the North East of England."
The grant will also fund an associated full-time PhD studentship, led by Dr Oxburgh, to conduct important research into the investigation of serious sexual offences and the ways in which the police interview victims and suspected offenders of such crimes.
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.”
published on: 23 February 2015