Public Engagement

The relationship between the police and the public is regarded as essential to ensuring that policing serves the public fairly, effectively, and efficiently. Police forces recognise the importance of engaging with a wide range of communities, and often describe community engagement as part of everything they do, placing high importance on maintaining trust and confidence. However, the public are not always fully-informed about the pressures police work under, including resource constraints and new and emerging risks and harms. And sometimes, despite the best intentions of police, relationships with some communities can breakdown, and become marked by low confidence and a lack of trust.

Embedding public engagement in the work of the N8 Policing Research Partnership means recognising the importance of the public to policing, and working with police forces to facilitate knowledge sharing and the identification of good practice in their community engagement activities. It also means exploring public attitudes towards evidence-informed policing. What role do the public think universities and other research organisations should play in informing and supporting police work?

The public engagement activity strand will address these issues in two ways:

  1. By supporting and facilitating reflection on community engagement strategy and practice within police partner organisations, helping to establish a police-community engagement network for the North of England to embed knowledge sharing beyond the life of the Catalyst Project.
  2. By producing and disseminating new knowledge about public perspectives on how university research can and should inform policing. New knowledge will be produced using a combination of quantitative survey-based methods and more qualitative approaches, including convening “Citizens Jury” events in each of the partner police force areas to discuss new research-informed ideas emerging during the life of the Catalyst Project.

Engaging the public with policing, and policing research, can never be a one-off activity. It will always be complex, time-consuming and, ultimately, unfinished. It is also resource intensive.   The activities of the Public Engagement Strand will embed sustainable mechanisms for continuing to develop and share new ideas about how police can best engage different communities. They will also test out different ways of thinking about relationships between university-based researchers and police policy and practice, and generate new knowledge about how the public perceive these relationships.

For more information about the Public Engagement Strand please contact the strand lead Liz Turner, lizt@liverpool.ac.uk.