A partnership involving the University of Birmingham has been awarded £50,000 by the College of Policing to forge links between academics and the police.

The funding from the professional body for policing in England and Wales will create a regional network of police forces and academics to examine what works in tackling family violence, exploitation of vulnerable people and radicalisation.

The grant will match researchers from four universities and the national training body ‘Skills for Justice’ with personnel from five police forces to create local networks, run events and carry out research and training. The new partnerships will also enhance the skills of policing personnel so that they can take an increasingly active role in research on crime and public safety.

The University of Nottingham led partnership will see academics from the University of Birmingham, The University of Nottingham, Liverpool and Aston mentor personnel from Derbyshire, Merseyside, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands police forces to test methods to ensure that resources are being used in the most efficient way.

It is hoped this network will be a launch pad for future collaboration between police and academics and lead to a Centre for Better Policing.

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

The partnership is one of seven universities, two police forces and a crime prevention charity which were all given grants totalling £496,000.

Professor Eddie Kane who led the bid from The University of Nottingham’s Centre for Health and Justice said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to match police and academic skills together to make a real difference to effectiveness of policing. Our group sees this funding as an important step in the growing collaboration between the police and academics and the launch platform for future initiatives and opportunities.”

Head of research at the College of Policing, Rachel Tuffin, said: “As the home of the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, the College of Policing wants to build links between police and academia so the way we go about policing is as efficient and effective as possible. 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.”

Jessica Woodhams (Psychology) and Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay (Economics, Birmingham Business School) led the effort from Birmingham. Jessica said: “We have a wide spread of specialist knowledge of crime types, crime reduction strategies, and technologies that can be used to fight crime at the University of Birmingham and within our consortium. Through this grant we will be able to combine this specialist knowledge with real-world policing experience and skills, working towards the goal of evidence-based policing and research and training that meets the needs of modern policing.” Siddhartha agrees that this is an excellent opportunity to bridge the academic-practitioner gap and said “I am really excited that I can use my expertise to do a cost benefit analysis of alternate policing interventions and use my research to develop a framework for evaluating the efficacy of alternate models of community policing."