Better Policing Collaboration to link academics with practitioners

This is an extract from the latest Birmingham Perspective. To find out more about the further links between academics and practitioners as part of the Better Policing Collaboration, please follow the link at the bottom of this article.

Crime and policing has always been at the forefront of public debate. Yet academic researchers and practitioners have not collaborated as fruitfully as they might have to understand ‘what works’ by way of interventions and the costs and benefits of alternate interventions. There is however reason to hope that there will be a push towards more evidence-based policing.

The recent collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham, Aston, Warwick and Liverpool with five police forces and Skills for Justice seeks to identify priorities for innovation in policing which would lead to lower crime and a safer community. The collaboration has received funding from the College of Policing to develop a framework to identify priority areas for academics to work with practitioners to come up with innovation in policing.

The University of Birmingham will be hosting a large Research/Training Fair on 4th April at which colleagues with expertise in policing and crime reduction will be able to interact and network with representatives from local police forces, Offices for Police and Crime Commissioners and fellow academics from other universities. We hope that through such activities, the Better Policing Collaboration will bridge the academic practitioner gap and play a major role in crime prevention and safer communities.

The University of Birmingham has a wide range of researchers across its Colleges whose expertise spans different areas of crime reduction and analysis of criminal behaviour. To give a flavour of the wide ranging expertise we offer, we highlight research from the Department of Economics' Dr Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, which we hope will aid the consortium’s objective to develop innovation in policing.


Dr Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay is an economist whose research has looked at understanding the way policing and socio-economic factors (wages, unemployment) affect crime rates and he has a number of papers which perform a statistical analysis of what factors affect crime rate.

The models can be used to compute the changes in crime rate that occur if any of these factors change. The analysis can be extended to perform cost benefit analysis of different policing and socio-economic interventions.

He has also modelled the impact of encouraging citizen reporting of criminal behaviour on crime rates and has shown that perverse and unintended effects can arise if such incentives are given without appropriate training to citizens on how to analyse if a behaviour is likely to signal criminal activity.

His work has implications for appropriate design of an effective community policing framework. Bandyopadhyay is also working with Professor John Raine to develop a framework for evaluating the functioning of PCCs and their impact on community safety and the criminal justice system.

Find out more, including a look at research by Dr Jessica Woodhams from the School of Psychology, and comment on this topic in the latest Birmingham Perspective.