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Find out how UK universities are helping the British police fight crime!

16 January 2014

If you thought 'British police' only meant 'Bobbies on the beat' – the stereotype of the policeman in a cone-shaped hat – then think again.

The police in England, Scotland and Wales are about to be joined by a new crime-fighting team made up of university staff, students and researchers as part of a plan to make a modern, cutting-edge force.

Improving police work

The College of Policing, set up in February 2013 to look after police training and development, will work with nine universities across the UK, including Durham University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Open University.

A total of £600,000 of grants to the universities, as well as to police forces and charities, will fund a variety of projects. These will deal with some of the most pressing criminal threats in the world today, from domestic abuse to business crime.

In Leicestershire, a county in the Midlands in England, police are working with Loughborough University, De Montfort University and the University of Leicester to train recruits and research new policing methods.

Simon Cole, Leicestershire Police’s chief constable, said universities 'bring some academic rigour' into police work.

'We had a postgraduate researcher from Loughborough who came in to do some work on demand management. As a consequence, we ended up employing him, and he designed the shift pattern that we now use,' he said.

Crime-fighting projects at UK universities

The University of Cheshire will use its grant to develop a Master’s degree in Applied Policing, while the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology will put the £50,000 it received into testing new crime-fighting technology and techniques.

Cardiff University, the University of Leeds and the University of Nottingham all received grants to help them build better regional links between the police and higher education.

The programme is run by the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction and a group that includes the Institute of Education, Birkbeck, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London (all part of the University of London) and the universities of Cardiff, Dundee, Southampton and Surrey. 

There will also be a database so academics can share their research into policing.

Rachel Tuffin, head of research at the College of Policing, said: 'This funding will be a springboard for future research and learning so police officers and staff get the best evidence to help them cut crime and keep the public safe.'

Director of the What Works consortium and Professor of Crime Science at University College London, Gloria Laycock, said: 'This is a hugely important initiative which could change the ways in which policing is delivered across England and Wales.'

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