Projects in the Centre in Crime, Justice and Policing

Members of the Centre for Crime, Justice and Policing are involved in several funded projects. Here are examples of some of our members’ current projects.

Police Knowledge Fund

This is a £1.1 million project funded jointly by the Home Office and HEFCE via the College of Policing. Birmingham is part of a consortium (which includes the Universities of Nottingham, Derby, Liverpool, Suffolk, Manchester Business School, Skills for Justice and Crest Analytics and supported by several police forces) and is leading or supporting a number of work packages that range from cybercrime evidence reviews, understanding victim surveys to supporting cover operations. The overarching aim is to support evidence based policing and translate the knowledge base in everyday policing practice.

Birmingham researchers in this projects are Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay (Economics), Jessica Woodhams (Psychology), Matthew Cole (Economics), Nathan Hughes (Social Policy), Layla Branicki (Strategy and International Business) and Penelope Tuck (Accounting).

Domestic Perpetrator Programme Evaluation

Economics, Psychology and Social Policy academics have been commissioned by Sandwell Council to evaluate the effectiveness of a community based domestic violence perpetrator programme. Quantitative analyses are being used to determine positive change on psychological characteristics being targeted by the programme and on outcomes such as police calls, arrests and reconviction. Qualitative analyses are being used to understand the views of facilitators and clients involved with the programme.

Researchers working on this project are Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay (PI, Economics), Surinder Guru(Social Policy and Social Work), Jessica Woodhams (Psychology), Aixa Garcia Ramos (Economics) and Jessica Eaton (Psychology).

Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies and Police and Crime Commissioners: Research, Development and Training in Evidence Based Policing

Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies and OPCCs have commissioned the Better Policing Collaborative to assist in the development of EBP within their policing practice. Birmingham is leading on a series of evaluations of policing interventions/practice. The overall package is led by Jessica Woodhams and Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay. We describe below some of the evaluations.

Best Practice in the Handling of Police Calls

Several police forces utilise THRIVE in responding to calls from the public. THRIVE stands for Threat, Harm, Risk, Investigation, Vulnerability and Engagement.  Calls received by the police are assessed against each of these criteria to determine the needs of the caller and how police resources can be best deployed to meet these.  Researchers from Life and Environmental Sciences and Social Sciences have been commissioned to evaluate how this process works in practice. A mixed methods approach is being used to investigate how calls are triaged with this system and elucidating the experiences of those using it as call handers, dispatchers, etc., and those who are tasked as a result of calls being assessed according to THRIVE.  

Researchers: Jessica Woodhams and Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay.

Embedding Lawyers in Public Protection Units to provide Early Investigative Advice (EIA)

Academics in Social Sciences and Life and Environmental Sciences are collaborating with colleagues from the University of Nottingham to evaluate a national trial of embedding CPS lawyers within police units to provide EIA. This work is being partly funded by the College of Policing. We are evaluating whether the pilot has increased the speed of case processing as well as improved victim engagement. Interviews are being conducted with CPS and police representatives from each of the pilot sites to seek their experiences of being part of the EIA pilot project to understand the mechanisms behind the changes as a result of EIA.

Researchers:  Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay (UOB), Jessica Woodhams (UOB) and Eddie Kane (University of Nottingham)

ESRC IAA Funded Project on the use of ANPR data to help solve sexual offences

A collaboration between Psychology (Dr Jessica Woodhams, Kari Davies) and Economics (Dr Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay) is investigating the utility of ANPR data in linking sexual offences. This also involves determining the appropriate data parameters for the preservation of data for current/future police investigations nationally and assessing the optimum retention period to assist with the investigation of sexual and other serious crimes.

Experimental Psychology Society and Police Knowledge Fund Funded Project on Detecting “Deception” using EEG techniques

Professors Bowman, Beech and Dr Woodhams (Psychology, UoB and Computer Science, Kent) are working together to investigate the potential use of EEG techniques for criminal investigations and vetting.  With funding from the EPS and PKF, the researchers have been assessing the accuracy with which EEG techniques can detect undisclosed familiarity with places and personal identifiers (e.g., names). 

Therapeutic Environments for Youth Custody

Economic and Social Research Council, Impact Acceleration Account c£15,665 PI 2016-18

This proposal follows an invitation from MTCNovo to engage in the co-design of activity to inform a need they have identified in relation to their imminent operationalisation of Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre (STC). It also represents an opportunity for an existing, ongoing research interest to develop in a new direction (into youth custody).

PI: Dominique Moran (Geography)

‘Fear-suffused environments’ or potential to rehabilitate? Prison architecture, design and technology and the lived experience of carceral spaces

Economic and Social Research Council £728,214 2014-2017 ES/K011081/1

This research investigates developments in the design of prisons, exploring the propositions that punishment is manifested architecturally, that 'good' prison design need not cost any more than 'bad' design, that architecture, design and technology (ADT) may impact on prisoners' emotional and psychological reactions to incarceration, including their behaviour, their willingness to engage with regimes and their capacity to build positive relations with other prisoners and staff, and that ADT may significantly influence prisoners' prospects of rehabilitation and reintegration into society on release. One 'lifer' notes that many of the crises facing penal systems in the developed world (including overcrowding, violence, mental and physical illness, drug use, high levels of suicide, self-harm etc.) are intrinsically related to the 'fear-suffused environments' created by prison architects. This research critically interrogates this statement. 

Researchers Yvonne Jewkes (U.Brighton) and Dominique Moran (UOB, Geography)

Breaking the Cycle? Prison Visitation and Recidivism in the UK

Economic and Social Research Council £361,191 2012-2016 ES/K002023/1

In the aftermath of the 2011 UK riots, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke described the rioters as a 'feral underclass, cut off from the mainstream', and blamed the riots on the 'broken penal system - one whose record in preventing reoffending has been straightforwardly dreadful'. Reoffending or recidivism is key to the operation of the repetitive cycle of incarceration, re-entry, re-offending and re-incarceration, and represents a major policy challenge. This interdisciplinary project provides a new perspective on prison visitation and its relationship to the highly topical issue of recidivism in the UK. The project will uniquely generate both the most nuanced insights yet produced into the relationship between prison visitation and recidivism, and also critical insights into the socio-spatial context of prison visiting, to inform visitation policy and the design of more effective prison visiting spaces. It seizes an opportunity to influence policy and create impact, at a time when the coalition government is consulting on policy reform, in particular in relation to recidivism. It represents convergence of cutting-edge debates in cognate disciplines of human geography, criminology, psychology and wider social theory, and resonates with policy development in individual prison institutions in the UK in the context of the 'Breaking the Cycle' initiative.

Researchers: Dominique Moran (PI, Geography, UOB) and Louise Dixon (Psychology, Victoria U. Wellington, New Zealand)