Knife crime in London, how people see the police and new technology used in policing were some of the key topics addressed by students at a mini conference at the University of East London examining criminology and policing issues.
The recent conference was part of the University’s increased focus on creating greater cooperation and dialogue between the University, communities across London and the police.
The students from the University on the BSc (Hons) Professional Policing degree course, together with pupils from Westminster City School, also looked at the influence of crime and the professionalisation of policing.
The focus is part of the University’s recently launched Tri-Com project, a unique initiative which aims to help break down barriers and perceptions between groups through dialogue. The University of East London is among the first universities to lead the way with such a project.
As part of the scheme the University’s policing students are mentoring young people through its new Pathways into Policing project, set up within the Tri-Com initiative, which is designed to increase knowledge of the roles within policing and related careers. It acts as a stepping stone into policing and other related degrees.
Under the project University students and young people meet regularly with police officers to discuss issues that affect them, while exploring solutions and gaining a better understanding, from all sides, of challenges that exist in the community.
Dr Sarah Jane Fox, University of East London’s programme lead, policing, law and criminology, and the initiator of the project, explained, “Tri-Com is a collaborative partnership project which aims to encourage inclusion and engagement across London by breaking down barriers and myths. We also aim to build up more trust between the police and young people.
“The objectives that Tri-Com is focusing on relate to understanding peer pressure such as online, virtual and face-to-face. What we are trying to do is to increase awareness, and as part of this to deter youths from crimes, including knife crime and online crimes, while at the same time minimising the risk of them becoming victims.”
Dr Fox added, “We recognise the need to educate and inform about the police and the role of policing by establishing avenues of communications by interactivity and mentoring. We want to work together to problem solve by forming collaborative groups and working from the bottom up and top down – meeting in the middle to find and explore solutions to society’s issues.”
Ms Zainah James, a teacher from Westminster City School in central London, said, “We want to be part of a cultural transformation in our city and we are massively excited to work with the police and University of East London to make this happen.
“Our students are interested in different aspects such as psychology, policing and the investigative area of police work. This is a great opportunity for them to learn and contribute to tackling the issues that young people across London face.
“Working with the students from the University of East London will give our pupils an insight into east London life and enable them to learn from people near their own age.”
Professor Julia Davidson, professor of criminology at the University of East London, said, “This project directly links into the University’s new specialist Online Harms and Cyber Crime Unit and the work we have recently been engaging in, not only in London but across the globe.”
The University students will, in year two of their studies, engage in further community engagement projects.
The University of East London has a Centre of Professional Policing (CoPP), which, as a Centre of excellence, collaborates with the police, the College of Policing, other policing sector, government bodies, public agencies and charities to meet the needs of policing today and for the future in relation to learning and research. The CoPP is based in the Royal Docks School of Business and Law at the University’s Stratford Square campus in London.