EMPAC is able to update here on the latest on the research in violence reduction, led by the University of Leicester. Leicester were able to secure research funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to establish a Violence Reduction Information Network (VRIN), and had started to work with East Midlands police services.
The academic team at VRIN comprises Associate Professor Matt Hopkins, Dr Claire Davis and Research Assistant Keith Floyd. They are, in turn, working with representatives of the five East Midlands forces, to explore ways of improving policing of violence.
However, COVID -19 restrictions on bringing people together for research, and the particular unprecedented impact on public and emergency services, mean the research have had to apply for a formal ‘delay’ from the project funders, for the time being.
The intention of the research network is to be a practical and interactive forum where issues with violence reduction in forces can bring together practitioners and academics to co-problematise and co-produce new knowledge to improve policing. The research agenda set was all about policing need, but adhering to the original plan at this time would not be best delivered through virtual working, and it is ethically unsound to expect policing to detract valuable time from pressing core duties.
Although the original plan will be paused at this time, the academic team will stay in close touch with EMPAC, to gauge when best to formally resume. During these challenging times, the research team are keen to remain flexible and keep communication channels open with policing practitioners and other academics. During this ‘lockdown’ period, crime patterns – especially public space violence – are likely to change. Therefore, the team are interested in discussing potential ideas and possibilities for research-related activities that relate to the crime-related consequences of the pandemic. If anyone is interested in discussing the changing nature of violence, and exploring potential insights during these highly challenging and uncertain times, please contact Keith Floyd at :- firstname.lastname@example.org.
VRIN sends it best wishes of support to colleagues, and looks to resuming the formal research programme as soon as possible: EMPAC will release updates as they arise and encourages all interested parties to contact Keith as above in the meantime to discuss any emergent issues around changing patterns of violence to inform research and innovation.