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ESRC WRDTP Collaborative Project: Protecting the vulnerable through neighbourhood policing


Project Description

This ESRC PhD studentship is a collaboration of the University of Leeds and South Yorkshire Police.

Drawing primarily on the disciplines of criminology and sociology, it will explore the recent reconfiguration of ‘neighbourhood policing’ through a discourse of ‘vulnerability’. It will explore the extent to and the ways in which the emergence of ‘vulnerability’ as a core priority within policing potentially reconfigures the very purpose of public policing - how ‘demand’ for policing is understood, responded to, and managed - at the local, neighbourhood level. It will question whether the institutionalisation of ‘vulnerability’ refocuses policing priorities and protection onto erstwhile stigmatised populations and marginalised groups, traditionally seen as problematic due to their interactions with authorities, lifestyles or circumstances, and the extent to which it potentially shifts the delivery of policing towards an emphasis on proactive prevention and harm minimisation from a public health perspective.

The successful candidate will work closely with South Yorkshire Police, collecting diverse sources of data with which to interrogate the research questions including observations, interviews, focus groups and administrative data. These highly prestigious, collaborative ESRC studentships are awarded by the White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership, a leading PhD training consortium of seven universities.

A key aim of the studentship is to provide the successful applicant with high quality research training and professional development opportunities. S/he will join a leading law school and become part of a vibrant and interdisciplinary community of postgraduate researchers with access to excellent training, peer group support and networking opportunities. They will be based in the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Leeds, which has an international reputation for research excellence and outstanding postgraduate training.

A particular focus of the studentship is collaborative and joint working with South Yorkshire Police, the lead force in a national problem-solving and demand reduction initiative (2018 to 2021), aimed at transforming frontline practices. The successful candidate will undertake a placement with the partner, gaining experience of working in professional contexts to enhance their vocational and transferable skills.

The studentship and project will also benefit from close affiliation with the N8 Policing Research Partnership, a consortium of 11 universities and police forces, which will provide additional training, learning, dissemination and impact opportunities. They will also receive close support, mentoring and guidance from the academic supervisors, Professors Stuart Lister and Adam Crawford, as well as from senior officers in South Yorkshire Police.

Funding Notes

Full awards provide UK/EU academic fees and a maintenance grant at standard Research Council rates (£15,009 in Session 2019/20) for full-time study, together with other allowances if appropriate. EU applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.

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