Aldham Robarts Library


Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies

Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies projects

Academics from the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies are working on a number of cutting-edge projects

From crime prevention to skills gaps, the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies (LCAPs) undertake a number of projects that relate to their research agenda. In addition to the Police Knowledge Fund, academics from LCAPS are undertaking the following projects.

An Exploration of the Criminal, Dangerous and Anti-Social Use of Motorcycles Across Merseyside

Academics from the Centre have recently conducted a research project, commissioned by jointly by LJMU and Merseyside Police, exploring the criminal, dangerous and anti-social use of motorcycles across the county. The issue of motorcycle-enabled crime has recently become a national concern for Policing, with Merseyside experiencing a high volume of issues with off road motorcycles in particular. Despite successful seizures and crack downs of motorcycles, Merseyside have still experienced mass ride outs and also fatal incidents to both riders and members of the public.

The motorcycles under scrutiny in this research, but not limited to, are off road motorcycles such as scrambler bikes, racing bikes and at times quad bikes. The research, led by Charlotte Watkinson and supported by Dr Matthew Millings and Dr Daniel Silverstone, undertook a qualitative nature and aimed to examine the perspectives and experiences of: professionals including serving police officers, community leaders and also riders themselves. The research also engaged with national leads and forums.

The headline findings from this project uncovered both key messages from police officers and also rider perspectives. Focusing on officers, there was a sense of operational anxiety in combating this issue and one that was deemed to require a national response. It was apparent in the research the scale of community concern around the recklessness of the behaviour also. Whilst on the other hand, riders exploited the weaknesses in current legislation and conveyed reasons for riding such motorcycles to fit in to three categories; the thrill and excitement of the motorcycle, the exponents of cycle craft and at times the links to organised crime. The research has been presented to a multi-agency forum and outputs from the research will follow in due course.

For further details contact Charlotte Watkinson

Disrupting the Routes between Care and Custody

Duration - 3 years from 2019

Dr Jude Towers is an expert adviser to the Nuffield Funded Disrupting the Routes between Care and Custody research project that is running between 2019 to 2021.

The research prioritises the specific experiences of care-experienced girls and those in custody, giving voice to views that are rarely heard to help ensure that policy and practice responses are sufficiently informed by a service-user perspective. 

The research will interview women in custody with experience of the care system to help identify what needs to change within both the care and criminal justice system to disrupt the pathway between care and prison. Interviews will also be conducted with a range of professionals and practitioners working within the care and justice systems, including care workers and police, to explore their perspectives and recommendations for reform. Exploratory work on the quantification and measurement regimes that enable to links between care and custody to be explicated and interrogated will also form part of the research agenda.

For further details contact the Project PI Dr Claire Fitzpatrick.

Evidence-based practice in public protection and crime prevention

The College of Policing are at the forefront of efforts to embed evidence-based thinking in policing practice development in England and Wales. Together with HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) and the Home Office, the College – through The Police Knowledge Fund – supported 15 projects to stimulate innovative working practice between police professionals and academic institutions. Our Merseyside-based project, one of those being supported, brings together LJMU, Merseyside Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside.

As a multi-disciplinary project team comprising of seconded police officers and research-active University staff we work collaboratively to deliver postgraduate research training and supervision to police officers/staff and manage practice-based research. Our activities facilitate knowledge transfer and implementation through developing mechanisms to commission and evaluate research evidence. We work to develop the research skills of each of the 70 police officers/staff we have engaged and support them in producing research outputs capable of contributing to policy development within the following priority areas: child exploitation, crime prevention, hate crime, and cyber-crime. Student projects have supported the development of evidence-based practice in respect of police-led missing from home debriefing interviews and the enhanced targeting and management of domestic violence perpetrators. Other projects have explored police engagement strategies with a range of vulnerable groups including young people in police custody, sex workers, criminally exploited children, and victims of disability hate crime.

Quantitative and spatial analytical skills

There are a number of cultural shifts taking place within UK policing and broader human security domains for which quantitative skills are integral. The College of Policing has called for increased focus on quantitative techniques in police training. Additionally, the increased emphasis on evidence-based practice requires effective methods for deploying, appraising and monitoring policing innovations and interventions.

In 2016, Dr Adegbola Ojo secured a British Academy Skills Innovator Award for a research programme designed to respond to a critical gap in graduate and practitioner quantitative skills. Research activities have been designed to be relevant to both parties as well as up-skilling social science researchers.

A network of researchers has been established bringing together stakeholders from a range of allied human security disciplines who aim to contextualise some of the key debates on evidence-based practice in policing and broader human security; scope the possible limits and boundaries of evidence-based practice in policing; articulate the broader implications of deficiencies in the use of empirical approaches in understanding what works and what does not work; and clarify understanding of evidence-based policing in an international context. In addition to the activities of the research network, the research programme also embeds at least four ongoing research projects including: space-time configuration of insurgency and terrorism for emergency response preparedness, developing a simplified framework for evidence-based policing, understanding the spatial dimensions of journeys to crime, and social media text mining for evidence-informed decision-making.

The Consortium for Criminological Research on the Powerful (CCRP)

The Consortium for Criminological Research on the Powerful (CCRP) is a cross-university research group which aims to challenge and conceptualise ‘the powerful’ by advancing qualitative and quantitative methodology in order to gain valuable insights into the social realities of those in power. CCRP is an affiliation with Ghent University, the University of Porto and the Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies which developed following the Summer School on Elites and Experts as Subjects of Qualitative Research: Challenges in Design, Execution and Analysis that took place at Ghent University, 30 May – 1 June 2017.

The group provides members with opportunities to exchange and cooperate in improving research on the powerful in order to create possibilities for discovering, discussing and overcoming common conceptual and methodological challenges and controversies. It does this by facilitating seminars, conferences and seasonal specialist courses for criminological research and increase interdisciplinary thinking, sustained by close networking and cooperation on research and education projects that focus on the powerful. Members exchange information, especially through social media, on relevant (scientific) events, publications, and funding opportunities relating to criminological research on the powerful. CCRP is also connected with the Working Group on Qualitative Research Methodologies and Epistemologies of the European Society of Criminology.

CCRP is open to students and scholars from a wide array of social sciences, including criminology, sociology, political science, law, communication studies, as well as to criminal justice and policing professionals outside the academic domain.

N8 Policing Research Partnership

Duration - 5 years from 2015

Dr Jude Towers is the Training and Learning lead for the N8 Policing Research Partnership.

The partnership is between eight universities and 11 police forces across the North of England. It was founded in 2013 as a platform for collaborations between universities, PCCs, police forces and partners across the north of England, with the current phase being funded by a HEFCE Catalyst Grant 2015-2020.

The aim of the partnership is to harness the skills, capabilities and resources across the North of England; to engage multi-disciplinary expertise in problem-solving; and to deliver at a scale with real impact by fostering cross-force collaborations. The priorities of the partnership are: to building research co-production capacity; to test mechanisms for exploiting knowledge and expertise to strengthen the evidence-base on which policy, practice and training are developed; and to support innovation and the professionalisation of policing.

The objectives funded under the current HEFCE Grant are:

  • To produce high quality, independent research
  • To build policing research and knowledge exchange capacity in HEIs
  • To enhance the quality, integrity, scope, synthesis and exploitation of  datasets
  • To develop capacity and resources in (a) policing research and (b) police and crime data analytics
  • To encourage and foster the development of national and international links
  • To develop and disseminate a transferable model of practice

More information can be found here:

Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network

Duration - 4 years from 2019

Dr Jude Towers is a Co-Investigator on a four year the UKRI-funded Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network, starting in 2019.

The network aims to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems among children, adults, and the elderly, by bringing together experts with different ways of thinking about violence, abuse and mental health – including those expert by experience, others with expertise from the work they do, and survivor researchers with both forms of expertise. We aim to understand, prevent and reduce the impact of violence and abuse on mental health. 

The work of the Network is subdivided under three themes:

  1. Measurement: measuring the extent and impact of domestic and sexual violence in relation to mental health
  2. Understanding: understanding the pathways that lead to domestic and sexual violence and their relationship to mental health problems
  3. Intervention: Planning interventions and services to prevent, reduce and address domestic and sexual violence in people with mental health problems or at risk of developing mental health problems

More information can be found here: