Small Grants

As part of the Research Co-production element of the N8 PRP we will annually make a call for bids to our Small Grants.

The Small Grants Awards open call will provide pump-priming funds of up to £25,000 to support research into targeted and important areas of policing work where the gaps in knowledge are most prominent and where research benefits are of greatest value. It will provide the necessary flexibility to move swiftly to respond to emergent areas of policing, new challenges and pressing concerns.

Call for Small Grant Awards 2016 - 2017

Applications for 2016/17 now closed - Awards to be announced April 2017

The Small Grants Awards open call will provide pump-priming funds of up to £25,000 to support research into targeted and important areas of policing work where the gaps in knowledge are most prominent and where research benefits are of greatest value. It will provide the necessary flexibility to move swiftly to respond to emergent areas of policing, new challenges and pressing concerns. Ideas generated via the ‘Policing Innovation Forum’ activity strand (which in November 2016 was on the theme of Domestic Abuse) are particularly welcomed as are proposals that link to other activity strands and ensure stakeholder involvement in the choice of topics for research co-production.

The intention is to support emergent collaborations and innovative partnerships between researchers and policing partners and research pilots that will result in applications for larger follow-on funding grants. We are focusing the Catalyst Project Small Grants Awards towards building multi-partner collaborations. The purpose of allocating funds is to facilitate and energise the development of proposals for collaborations – we expect this to take the form of short projects, delivering a proposal for larger scale collaborations. This funding is for the strategic development of research collaborations, as well as research itself.

The first round of small grants produced a high number of applications and after a lengthy review process, three were chosen to receive funding from the N8 PRP

Policing Bitcoin: investigating, evidencing and prosecuting crimes involving cryptocurrency

(Greater Manchester Police, North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, Birmingham City University and Crown Prosecution Service)

Cryptocurrency has increasingly become a common method of value exchange in a number of types of criminal activity such as Ransomware cases for example, where victims of extortion included police forces. Significantly, in 2014, the Greater Manchester Police Economic Crime Unit investigated a case in which several million pounds of Bitcoin were stolen from an international victim by a locally based Manchester criminal. Following a complex investigation the victim refused to provide an evidential statement to the police, stating that he would bear the loss of 3 million dollars rather than lose his reputation in the cryptocurrency community. The Crown Prosecution decided that there was not enough evidence to pursue a prosecution and the case was dropped. Recently, Operation Viscount highlighted the fact that the police alone cannot successfully investigate cases involving cryptocurrencies.

The objective of this research is therefore to bring together interdisciplinerary experts from national and local law enforcement, academia, the Crown Prosecution Service, private industry and the financial sector in order to explore and comment upon the various challenges that cryptocurrecncies, such as Bitcoins, create for the police.

contact Phil Larratt or Professor David Wall

Mapping the contours of human trafficking

(University of Manchester, Greater Manchester Police and University of Leeds)

The main aim of the collaboration is to establish a profile of human trafficking incidents and offences known to GMP since the implementation of the Modern Slavery Coordination Unit (MSCU) in March 2015, Greater Manchester Police has been collating a database of such incidents and offences since this time.

The database includes details of over 250 cases, including those that were reported to the National Referral Mechanism, and those that were reported to or detected by the police. Many such offences are facilitated to some degree online, via websites and social media, and the database has some relevant details that can be extracted about the cyber components of such crimes. Other information contained in the database includes: the nationalities of victims and offenders; the types of offences committed; the charges brought; the locations of the activity and the success or otherwise of convictions; and the progress made with the investigation. As it stands, GMP and the multiagency Challenger Team (including Immigration, UK Border Force, Gangmasters Licensing Authority, and local authority professionals) have no capacity to include all information in the database and to perform a thoroughgoing analysis of it. This analysis is much needed, however, for it can reveal how the new law is working, where policing efforts are successful, as well as something of those cases,victims and offenders that are not so readily resolved under the Modern Slavery Act.

contact Professor David Gadd

Exploring Novel Psychoactive Substance (NPS) use and its consequences for police practitioners and substance users in the North East of England

(Newcastle University, Northumbria Police and Durham University)

This project will gain insight into the impact on current policing practice of novel Psychoactive Substance (NPS) use. 

The work will have two linked strands: first we will explore with a range of police staff the impact that the fast changing culture of NPS use has on their day-to-day work as first responders in the criminal justice system; we will also explore with NPS users the sourcing and purchasing, including on-line availability, as well as immediate behavioural impacts and wider consequences of NPS use. As well as offering an insight into risks and harmful behaviours connected with NPS use, we will explore perceptions about the legality and impending illegality of NPS use, its relationship with wider substance use (classified drugs and alcohol), and how police custody suite interactions are viewed and managed by a range of police staff and detainees.

contact Professor Eileen Kaner

For further information about the small grants process please contact Dr Jill Clark