Researchers from the University of Salford have won a €3.1m funding bid to help police forces across Europe including Greater Manchester Police find innovative ways to improve how they fight crime.
The funding, awarded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Security Research Programme, will enable a team of academics to work closely with six European law enforcement agencies including the Dutch and Estonian national police forces, the Lisbon Police, the German police in Lower Saxony and the Spanish police in Catalonia.
The University’s Design Against Crime Solution Centre will work together with these police forces on the three-year Cutting Crime Impact (CCI) project to find innovative ways of tackling high-impact crimes such as physical and sexual assault, robbery, burglary and vandalism.
Academics from the Solution Centre, working with other CCI research partners, will train individuals to carry out research within each of the forces, mapping processes, interviewing stakeholders and shadowing officers to collect detailed information about how the police carry out certain roles.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP), who are a strategic partner in the Solution Centre, will be using the project to explore and develop ways to improve neighbourhood policing and to prevent crime through urban design and planning.
Chief Superintendent Paul Savill from GMP said: “We are thrilled to be working with the University of Salford and other partners of the CCI project consortium. It is an exciting project to be a part of as we look at innovative research into new methods of reducing and preventing crime.”
Other forces will use CCI to address issues around predictive policing — the mapping of crime and other data to forecast where crime hotspots may emerge — and measuring and mitigating people’s feelings of insecurity and perceptions of crime risk.
Once data on the problems and current policing approaches has been collected, representatives of each force will work with experts from a wide range of disciplines within the CCI consortium to design and develop innovative ways to address identified issues. Solutions may take a variety of forms — from digital tools, such as apps, to new ways of working or guidance for officers facing specific challenges.
These new ‘toolkits’ will then be integrated within each of the forces’ operations and demonstrated in a real policing environment. CCI researchers will monitor how effective the tools are in practice and identify necessary improvements.
This will develop innovative solutions that will help those forces do their jobs better, and therefore help them keep people safer in places from Greater Manchester to Estonia.
Andrew Wootton, Director of the University’s Design Against Crime Solution Centre, said: “The CCI project is based very much on a bottom-up approach, with researchers working directly with each of the police forces to gain real insight into how they work and the problems they face.
“This isn’t a project whose end results will just sit on a shelf — it will develop innovative solutions that will help those forces do their jobs better, and therefore help them keep people safer in places from Greater Manchester to Estonia.”