The Home Secretary today (Wednesday 28 January) announced a new £10 million Police Knowledge Fund to support closer working between police and academia in order to promote evidence-based policing and more effective responses to crime.
The Home Secretary made the announcement during a keynote address to the inaugural International Crime and Policing Conference being hosted by the Home Office in London today and tomorrow.
Sharp decline in crime
The event brings together academics, charity leaders and senior police from across the globe to explore the sharp decline in crime across much of the Western world in the last 20 years and address challenges posed by previously under-reported crimes or new technology.
The Police Knowledge Fund will play a key role in developing that understanding.
It will be jointly funded by the Home Office and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which will administer the Fund. Its scope and aims have been established in partnership with the College of Policing.
It is hoped that the police will join forces with experts from academic fields like criminology, economics, neuroscience and computer analytics to better understand why crimes are committed and use that evidence to develop new and innovative ways of policing.
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
The new Police Knowledge Fund will be critical to increasing knowledge, evidence and expertise on policing and cutting crime.
Police reform is working and crime is down by more than 20 per cent under this government according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.
But we are not complacent and we know that the picture is becoming more complex. We must develop better analysis and evidence on crime trends and drivers and share it so that police forces and others can ensure crime keeps falling.
I am clear that government and law enforcement do not have all the answers, and that we need to harness knowledge and expertise from a range of different fields. Policing and crime reduction should have the same relentless focus on evidence as our medical and legal professions.
That is why I am delighted to have convened the International Crime and Policing Conference 2015, and to be joined here in London by over 120 of the brightest minds from around the world and from a wide range of fields to discuss emerging challenges in crime and the police response.
The Home Secretary also announced that the Home Office will work with Surrey and Sussex police forces to develop a prototype for people to report non-emergency crime on www.police.uk. This will give victims greater choice over how they report issues to the police and could eventually be made available across England and Wales.
Online crime reporting
It is estimated that online crime reporting could save up to £3.7 million and 180,000 officer hours per year if it is adopted by all forces.
The International Crime and Policing Conference 2015 is being attended by delegates from the US, Canada and New Zealand including Professor Franklin Zimring from UC Berkeley School of Law, Toronto Chief of Police William Blair and Former Mayor of Christchurch Sir Robert Parker.