Innovation and the application of knowledge for more effective policing

N8 Policing Research Partnership Catalyst Grant

This exciting new five-year programme of research and knowledge exchange will pioneer an innovative collaboration between police forces and universities in the North of England. It intends to build a regional policing research platform with national impact and international significance.

Aim and Objectives

The overall project aim is to build research co-production capacity and test mechanisms for exploiting the knowledge and expertise of the HE sector in order to strengthen the evidence base on which police policy, practice and training are developed and so support innovation and the professionalisation of policing.

The project objectives are:

i.       To produce high quality, independent research of relevance to the police services and which will enhance the international reputation and recognition of policing research in the north of England.

ii.       To build policing research and knowledge exchange capacity in HEIs and to facilitate the efficient and effective transfer of knowledge that is vital to developing sound, evidence-based policing policy and practice.

iii.       To enhance the quality, integrity, scope, synthesis and exploitation of the datasets available to inform policing research and effective practices.

iv.       To develop capacity and resources in (a) policing research and (b) police and crime data analytics in ways that inform research and facilitate knowledge creation, dissemination and application.

v.       To encourage and foster the development of national and international links with other researchers, policy makers and practitioners involved in policing research.

vi.      To develop and disseminate a transferable model of practice for application by other HEIs and across the public sector, and internationally - with a view to extending the reputation and impact of English HE.


This project will enhance the impact of HE research in the policing sector through the development and testing of mechanisms of knowledge exchange to strengthen the evidence base on which police policy, practice and learning are developed and so support innovation and the professionalisation of policing.

By mobilising human and data resources within the partnership the project will:

  • develop and strengthen the research evidence base
  • demonstrate the value of research co-production by tackling front-line problems
  • enhance the capacity of policing partners to undertake and utilise research
  • improve the scope and robustness of the data available to inform practice
  • open up new avenues for data analysis, visualisation and data exploitation
  • build a culture change in the police that is appreciative of the role and value of research evidence
  • foster change among participating universities by enhancing pathways to impact across the sector.

Delivery Mechanisms and Activities

The programme has been designed to make an important contribution to innovation and the aspiration for the professionalisation of policing. Nine interconnected and mutually supportive activity strands (each N8 institution leads on a strand) are planned to deliver project goals by providing a robust and sustainable platform for HE-police collaboration. The 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. This initiative will develop and test mechanisms of knowledge exchange and research co-production to strengthen the evidence base on which policing policy, practice and learning are developed. These activities will also secure a culture change in the use of research in policing and relations between researchers and policing professionals. 

Reports and presentations

Presentations from the conference Police-University Research Collaborations: making evidenced-based policing a reality, which took place on 29 September 2015 at the Learning and Development Centre, Wakefield are available to download.

Download associated reports and presentations.

A review of the conference is also available on the Policinginsight website, written by PhD student Sean Butcher