Bradford mapping research: service provision for vulnerable groups in contact with the police

This study will map the services used by vulnerable groups who are in contact with the police in Bradford. It aims to better understand the connections between the agencies and organisations providing the services and how they meet the needs of vulnerable groups across the city.

People walking on Bank Street, Bradford on a sunny day. Image from Billy Wilson via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Image from Billy Wilson via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The research will involve working with senior and front-line practitioners from the police, health and social care agencies, voluntary groups and the private sector and will explore the experiences of people who use the services and members of the community.

The research complements two other studies the Centre is carrying out that also focus on Bradford. The other Bradford studies include:

  1. Analysis from the Connected Bradford datasets that build upon the work of the Born in Bradford study.
  2. A Q Methods Study of Vulnerability that will explore different perceptions of how vulnerability informs the work of police and partner services.

The Bradford Mapping study will also support existing work in Bradford. This will help provide partner organisations across the city with an in-depth understanding of how, when and why services interact. It will also highlight opportunities to enhance collaboration and improve service provision that meets the needs of vulnerable people.


Bradford has a rich history and continues to explore innovative ways in which to support its community, illustrated by the work of the Alliance for Life Chances and the Born in Bradford Study. However, the city faces significant challenges with high levels of social and economic disadvantage. This means that an increasing number of people struggle with complex and multiple needs increasing their vulnerability and sometimes leading them to contact with the police.

This project seeks to better understand the service provision for people who are vulnerable in Bradford, how services address people’s needs and how they may work together to do so more effectively.

To do this, the research team will:

  • Identify opportunities and challenges in service provision for people who are considered vulnerable;
  • Identify leaders/champions who drive progress;
  • Identify examples of good practice when it comes to different services working together; and
  • Develop an overview of services currently available for vulnerable people across Bradford, as well as how and why they are connected to each other and the ways in which they connect to address multiple and interconnected vulnerabilities.

This will paint a localised picture of “what works” in Bradford. To achieve this, the team will interview, observe and survey a range of stakeholders from the community and services across Bradford, including people who use services. They will also observe local partnership meetings and initiatives.


The study aims to better understand Bradford’s services for vulnerable people in contact with the police. The study has three main objectives, focused on developing an understanding of:

  1. The relationships and links between organisations providing services for vulnerable people;
  2. How individuals are referred and processed through different systems (e.g., Health, Social Care, Criminal Justice, third sector) and how individuals, families and groups come to use different services;
  3. The role of practitioners working at the periphery of different services, bridging the gap and acting as a connector of different services. Particularly, how they manage relationships between organisations and help bring about changes which benefit vulnerable people.


The work contains three interrelated parts:

1. Organisational perspectives of service providers

The team will conduct interviews with senior managers from key services such as West Yorkshire Police, Bradford City Council, West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership and West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership. These will provide an overview of the structural relationships between organisations involved in delivering services. They will also help the team to understand how data is shared and used across services.

2. Case studies of service provision

The team will conduct interviews and focus groups with both frontline service providers and people who use services. One case study focuses on homelessness and violence against women and girls and how services respond to these issues. Two further case studies look at neighbourhoods with established service networks trying to address vulnerability, representing the needs of different communities across Bradford. This will help the team to capture the work of services on-the-ground.

3. Case studies of inter-agency service provision

The team will observe multi-agency teams and interview practitioners attending such meetings, e.g. Community Safety Partnerships. This will help the researchers gain a deep understanding of the intricacies of partnership working, co-ordination between different agencies and good practice.


Lead investigators

Postdoctoral researchers