Police and academics team up to implement early intervention in serious violence hotspots

Police on the beat

A new project to identify and target hot spots for knife crime and other serious violence is being developed by Bedfordshire Police and leading academics.

The work between the force and the Cambridge Centre for Evidence Based Policing (CCEBP) aims to use evidence and data to effectively target police patrols at hot spot areas for serious violence.

Early indications suggest that the right interventions in less than eight per cent of the county could prevent up to 41 per cent of relevant crimes and harm in Bedfordshire.

The project is bringing together different work and studies from UK police forces, as well as evidence from around the globe.

It enables the force to identify more precise locations where serious youth violence has consistently taken place in the past.

The project has also drawn on global research to recommend a set level of patrol to those areas in order to deliver an effective deterrent to such crimes.

It is hoped that putting this level of police presence into some 28 of the 352 lower super output areas in Bedfordshire – less than eight per cent – will suppress some of the drivers of youth violence, such as gang activity or drug dealing.

GPS technology would then be used to track the level of deployments to the targeted areas, with supervisors being automatically notified if the level dips below that recommended under the model.

Bedfordshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, the national lead for serious violence, said, “This initiative offers a powerful opportunity to tie technology and world-class academic work together to prevent serious violence in a way that maximises the value of resources across the police.

“There is of course no substitute for local knowledge and we will continue to tap into our officers and our communities in order to understand what is going on.

“But we hope this project will provide us with some effective foundations to target our efforts at the right places and protect people from serious harm.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt mentioned the project in his speech on Thursday at the APCC & NPCC Partnership Summit in London.

Professor Lawrence Sherman, from CCEBP, added, “We welcome the chance to partner with Bedfordshire in focusing, not just on targeting the most likely areas for knife crime, but also to deploy a hot spots targeting alarm for those areas—using GPS to show when there has been no patrol in a hot spot for several days.

“We hope this tool will help to reduce serious violence across the UK and globally.”

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