SOLD OUT: Reshaping the relationship between vulnerability and policing

The ESRC Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre’s inaugural annual conference is now fully booked. Join the waiting list to be notified if places become available.

9am – 4.30pm, Thursday 5 September 2024

Cloth Hall Court, Quebec St, Leeds, LS1 2HA


This one-day conference provides an opportunity for academics and practitioners to share ideas and create plans to improve the policies, systems and processes that impact the policing of people considered vulnerable.

The sessions will reveal new findings from the Centre’s research projects and provide insights into the latest vulnerability and policing work. By bringing academics, practitioners and policy makers together, the event will offer opportunities to explore how research can be applied to policy and practice.

Programme

Arrival, tea and coffee – 9am – 9.30am

Opening plenary session – 9.30am – 10.30am

Welcome: Professor Kiran Trehan, Chair of the Centre’s National Engagement Group

Keynote speakers:

Session chair: Professor Charlie Lloyd, Co-Director of the Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre

Session 1 – 10.30am – 11.30am

Vulnerabilities in the context of domestic abuse (1)

This roundtable will start to explore to what extent language around vulnerabilities has shifted by policing responses to domestic abuse. It will start by looking at emerging findings from the Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre’s research on domestic abuse responses in the state of Victoria, Australia (presented by Professors Kate Fitz-Gibbon and Sandra Walklate).

The session will then move closer to home, to look at how ‘vulnerabilities’ are or are not responded to in terms of service providers (Dr Rebecca Shaw) and in policing domestic abuse in a trauma-informed manner (Dr Sam Lewis).

Speakers

Children and young people

This session will include three presentations focusing on children and young people.

The first talk (Dr Andrew James Williams) will explore a participatory action research method that saw young people from deprived communities take photos around what made them feel heard or ignored in their community. The talk will discuss the project’s approach, findings and what has happened since the project.

The second presentation (Dr Laura Pajón) will provide findings from a project examining the role of social media in the trafficking and exploitation of children and young people.

The third talk (Dr Nikki Rutter) will explore responses to children’s explosive and harmful impulses as part of a project that aims to support for families living with child-to-parent violence and abuse.

Speakers

Harnessing routinely collected data to inform evidence-based responses to vulnerability (1)

This session will showcase research that seeks to capitalise on public services’ routinely-collected data to inform evidence-based responses to vulnerability. It will feature talks about ongoing Centre projects and from researchers engaged in related approaches from further afield. This includes presentations on how connected data are being harnessed in Bradford to generate positive societal outcomes, how administrative data can be used as an indicator of vulnerability in children and young people, and the Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre’s ongoing Data Scientist Development Programme.

This session is distinct to “Harnessing routinely collected data to inform evidence-based responses to vulnerability (2)”. It is not necessary to attend both, to get the most of out of either session.

Speakers

Operationalisation of vulnerability in policing

This session will explore the strengths and weaknesses of vulnerability as an organising concept in the context of policing. Speakers will give talks on research studies that have considered the implications of how vulnerability is mobilised in different policing contexts in the UK and beyond. Research findings will include studies of police custody, vulnerability policing in Tasmania, and service provider/service user views on vulnerability and policing in the city of Bradford, UK.

The Chair will provide a perspective from current work leading the Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme within the College of Policing. There will be opportunity to discuss how vulnerability might be mobilised progressively in policing and multi-agency work to reduce harm to those deemed vulnerable.

Speakers

What the public want from policing

This discussion will focus on trust and confidence in the police as well as what the public wants from the police. The session will reflect on research from the Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre that explored the concept of a ‘minimum policing standard’ – people’s views on a set of functions police should always be able to provide and the conduct they should adhere to. The speakers will talk about what service people think the police should deliver, and whether they think police are achieving it.

Speakers


Coffee break – 11.30am – 12pm

During this break, there will be an opportunity for early career and PhD researchers to connect in a dedicated networking session.


Session 2 – 12pm – 1pm

Vulnerabilities in the context of domestic abuse (2)

This roundtable follows on from the earlier session, and continues to explore to what extent language around vulnerabilities has shifted as a result of policing responses to domestic abuse. Professor Nicole Westmarland will start by presenting emerging findings from the Centre’s research on domestic abuse responses in Manchester, UK, and also offer some theoretical contextualisation for discussion particularly in relation to people who perpetrate domestic abuse.

Following this, Professor Amanda Robinson will present key findings on specialist police units based on innovations in South Wales. This will be followed by Dr Lisa Tompson, who will introduce her research on the intersectional profiles of people who experience family violence in New Zealand.

Speakers

Tackling child online violence in the community

This workshop will explore how we can work with local communities and services to develop an effective holistic response to online child sexual victimisation, taking local needs and existing support networks into account. Practitioners from Blackpool who work with children and young people and respond to online violence will help us understand what it looks like to support young people and families in the community, as they negotiate online sexual harms.

The speakers will present local priorities that have been co-designed with services and community members. The priorities have the potential to influence change and help to address the inherent difficulty in keeping up with the nature and scope of online violence experienced by children.

The aim of the overall project is to approach online child sexual victimisation in an engaging and supportive way that empowers local communities to generate quality standards that children, young people, and services can work towards.

Speakers

Harnessing routinely collected data to inform evidence-based responses to vulnerability (2)

This session will showcase research that seeks to capitalise on public services’ routinely-collected data to inform evidence-based responses to vulnerability. It will feature talks about ongoing Centre projects and from researchers engaged in related approaches from further afield. This includes presentations on analysing space time patterns of knife crime, missing persons risk assessment and harm prediction, and exploratory applications of large language models to support analyses of unstructured police incident narratives.

This session is distinct to “Harnessing routinely collected data to inform evidence-based responses to vulnerability (1)”. It is not necessary to attend both, to get the most of out of either session.

Speakers

Vulnerability, policing and intersectional experiences

This workshop will explore the relationship between vulnerability and policing through focusing on intersectional experiences, bringing difference and diversity centre stage to consider policy and practice. It will look at how policing vulnerability relates to social divisions including race, ethnicity, gender, age, class, care experience and trauma histories. There will be brief talks on topics including the racial logics of vulnerability policing, difference in county lines vulnerabilities, and policing sexual harassment of racially minoritised young women and girls. Speakers will include Revolving Doors Lived Experience Members. There will be opportunity for discussion and questions focused on how to take forward addressing intersectionality and difference in policing vulnerabilities.

Speakers

Impacts of policing vulnerability on the mental health and wellbeing of the police workforce

This panel discussion will focus on ways to ensure our evolving police workforce is equipped to respond to vulnerabilities appropriately whilst remaining mentally healthy. The first half of the session will begin with a brief overview of the area followed by an introductory presentation of each discussant’s topic. In the second half, a discussion with the panel and audience will examine how to train and sustain a mentally healthy police force that minimises further harms when encountering issues of vulnerability, whether within or outside the organisation. It will also explore the implications of changing workforce demographics for the future of policing.

Speakers


Lunch – 1pm – 2pm


Session 3 – 2pm – 3pm

Mapping policing and vulnerability in Bradford

This panel discussion will explore service provision in Bradford for vulnerable people drawn into contact with the police. The session will introduce the Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre’s Bradford Service Mapping project, before going on to present findings from its homelessness, violence against women and girls, and place-based case studies. Additionally, two Bradford practitioners who provide interventions for vulnerable groups will deliver presentations.

Drawing on both research findings and practitioners’ lived experience, the session will provide insights on what is working well in the city and where challenges still lie in meeting the complex needs of vulnerable populations.

Speakers

  • Dr David Rowlands (University of Leeds)
  • Dr Larissa Engelmann (University of Leeds)
  • Dr Adam White (University of Sheffield)
  • Clare Flannigan (Coordinator, Bradford Homeless Outreach Partnership)
  • Helen Dudman (Multiple and Complex Needs Worker, Bradford Homeless Outreach Partnership)
  • Sam Kirkby (Community Centre Manager, Sutton Centre, Holme Wood)
  • Kieron Stewart (Holmewood Youth Coordinator, Holme Centre, Home Wood)
  • Chair: Chief Superintendent and District Commander for Bradford Richard Padwell (West Yorkshire Police)

Policing and processing vulnerability and exploitation in county lines/local drug markets

This session will explore how the policing and safeguarding of (often young) people understood as, or potentially considered as, both vulnerable and criminally exploited is developing in the UK.

Drawing on the ESRC Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre’s ‘County Lines Policing and Vulnerability’ project, Professor Ross Coomber will provide an overview of all forces’ policing practice and viewpoints. The session will then delve deeper into issues from the perspective of those tasked with progressing policing in this area nationally (Duncan Evans) and in terms of progressive broader contextual safeguarding at the local level (Tony Kirk).

Speakers

  • Professor Ross Coomber (University of Liverpool)
  • Inspector Duncan Evans (National County Lines Lead for Child Exploitation, National County Lines Coordination Centre)
  • Anthony Kirk (Head of Service Contextual Safeguarding, Children’s Services, Wirral Council)
  • Chair: Tom Bucke (Deputy Director, Home Office Analysis and Insight, Home Office)

Burden for achieving access: serving deaf and autistic communities

This panel session will explore the challenges that arise when communication and procedures are hindered by specific access and communication needs. Robert Skinner will examine how technology is utilised to make police services accessible to deaf individuals who prefer using signed languages. Estelle Clayton will present research from the INTERACT project, highlighting autistic individuals’ experiences of digitally-mediated policing. Jemina Napier will share insights from the JUSTISIGNS 2 project, focusing on the experiences of Deaf victims of domestic violence in accessing communication and information. This session underscores the critical importance of involving individuals with specific communication needs in the design and implementation of essential police services.

This session is contributed by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR).

Speakers

Mental health and policing

This session will explore current research in mental health and policing. It will report on progress from the Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre’s research exploring how police respond to, and work with, people experiencing mental distress. It will also provide an international perspective on mental health and policing and an opportunity to discuss the policing of mental health in the context of Right Care, Right Person.

Speakers

Vulnerability and the law

This panel discussion will present and explore the findings of two projects funded by the Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre: ‘Defendants as victims: a scoping review of vulnerability, victimhood and safeguards from charge to conviction’ and ‘Over-policed and under-protected? Administrative justice, criminal justice, and positive obligations to protect “legally vulnerable” groups’.

The first presentation will explore the possibility for law reform to better respond to the needs of defendants and suspects who are also victims of crime. This includes addressing disparities in the safeguards offered to vulnerable defendants and witnesses, and expanding the scope of legal defences. The second presentation will examine the growth of ‘vulnerability’ as a statutory concept in public law, and whether this is reflected in the experiences of frontline workers who interact with vulnerable individuals.

Speakers


Coffee break – 3pm – 3.30pm


Plenary panel – 3.30pm – 4.30pm

The conference will close with a plenary panel including:

Close – 4.30pm