I am delighted to announce that we have managed to secure continued funding for the N8 Policing Research Partnership beyond the end of the current Catalyst Grant, which concludes in 2020. As of May 2020, the N8 PRP will move into a new phase of its evolution reflected in partner commitments to a co-funding and co-governance model which has been successfully negotiated over recent months. The core partners – the N8 universities and the participating police forces and Offices of the PCCs – will directly fund the partnership through a subscription model, whereby each partner contributes through both monetary and ‘in-kind’ commitments. This will herald an important new stage in the life and growth of the partnership.
It is a great testimony to the value all the partners feel they derive from the engagement, research and knowledge exchange opportunities the N8 PRP affords that they have been willing to commit to the level of resource contribution to sustain and continue to develop the partnership, particularly given all the uncertainties that surround public sector and higher education funding at the current time. The new model will involve a leadership team of one academic co-Director and one policing co-Director with project management and administrative support located within both the university sector and policing partners. The N8 PRP Steering Group will take a more active role in coordinating and determining the work programme and allocation of funds in the future. It is my firm belief that this self-funded model will help sharpen the partner buy-in and commitment, improve coordination, enhance engagement and ensure that benefits to partners are maximised. It will allow the partnership to more firmly entrench the co-production philosophy into all its operations.
This new funding has enabled us to launch another round of the ‘small grants’ scheme at the recent Policing Innovation Forum in Liverpool on 14th November. This will be the fifth annual round of small grants and will have a steer linked to this year’s innovation forum theme of ‘tackling knife crime’. As in previous years, we hope to be able to fund 3 or 4 projects to run across 2020/21. Further information about the small grant scheme can be accessed here. However, the new funding model means that the scheme is restricted to contributing universities and police forces/OPCCs.
By way of conclusion to the Catalyst Grant, we are in the process of organising a two-day international conference in the summer of 2020 (date and venue to be confirmed). This will give us both an opportunity for looking back to the lessons and successes over the last 5 years and to build for the challenges of the future. Further information about the conference will be available in due course via our website and newsletters.
Having secured the immediate sustainability of the partnership beyond the Catalyst Grant, I feel that this is an appropriate time for me to step aside as Director of the N8 PRP, to allow new academic and policing leadership to take the partnership forward into the new phase of development and to secure longer-term funding. In my discussions with the N8 Board and our policing partners, it is clear that they are committed to supporting a longer-term financial model of sustainability which the new team will work to secure. I will continue to work to finalise and complete the Catalyst Grant commitments and reporting (until end September 2020) and to support the new team when they are in place. In due course the N8 will oversee a process for the appointment of a new academic co-Director to take up the reins from May 2020. Fortunately, we will be in a relatively privileged position of having a smooth handover between May and September 2020 while the Catalyst Grant terminates and the new funding model is established. It has been my great pleasure to lead the N8 PRP since 2013 and look forward to helping ensure that the new team are as well placed as possible so that the partnerships thrives.
Adam Crawford, Director N8 Policing Research Partnership
University of Leeds