Update on violence reduction research

The University of 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 Dr Keith Floyd. They are, in turn, working with operational representatives of the five East Midlands forces, to explore ways of improving the policing of violence.

The aims of VRIN are to:

  1. Develop a network for knowledge exchange
  2. Disseminate good practice in order to influence policy and practice. This will be facilitated through a VRIN webpage
  3. Become a repository of good practice in violence reduction accessible to practitioners
  4. Map current interventions used nationally and internationally to reduce weapons related violence and to ascertain ‘what works’
  5. Map data sources and assess the feasibility of building composite datasets regionally using data from a range of agencies
  6. Design and conduct future research that meets the needs of practitioners and is easily transferable into practice, making a positive impact
  7. Ensure the sustainability of the partnership beyond the initial funding period
  8. Provide opportunities for post graduate researchers in violence reduction
  9. Evaluate interventions
  10. Organise a project conference at the end of year one

The VRIN is now active across the region’s forces and priorities of research focus are being discussed.  A number of video calls and email discussions in July and August established Microsoft Teams offered the best universal solution during COVID-19 restrictions. Teams will allow the VRIN Teams pages to function as a repository for documents, a platform for discussion and a way to allow video calls in lieu of face to face meetings. Teams will function as a knowledge hub, an interventions map and a ‘What Works’ / Evidence Base for violence reduction initiatives, enabling forces to learn from shared experiences, especially when developing their own violence reduction strategies.

Meetings in July and August also revealed the considerable existing expertise in violence reduction already in action in the region. They also revealed there were common aspirations for the group and various aspirations shared amongst all forces, for example applying academic rigour to evaluations of violence reduction initiatives. VRIN will endeavour to fill some of those knowledge gaps, drawing on studies and best practice locally, nationally and internationally. As a result of the meetings, an amended route map has been devised to make the most of the remainder of the first year of operation. The VRIN is organising webinars, an end of year conference and will be reporting on the progress of a number of violence reduction initiatives.

Ongoing updates on the work of the VRIN and useful information will be made available to police and academic personnel via the EMPAC and Department of Criminology websites and Police Professional.

If you would like to get involved in this important work contact Dr Keith Floyd at :- kf154@le.ac.uk.