Police Knowledge Fund

The College of Policing, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Home Office launched the two year Police Knowledge Fund (PKF) in 2015 to increase evidence in priority areas and embed an evidence-based approach in policing.

In October 2018, the College published its national review of the PKF programme, presenting examples of some of the fund's activities and outputs and their impact on key areas of policing policy and practice.

The £10 million fund supported the development of 14 police-academic research collaborations involving 39 police forces and 30 academic institutions across the UK, with funds awarded ranging from £250,000 to £1.3 million. The review provides evidence of how the programme has:

  • developed and accelerated links between academia and the police which have influenced how research is produced and used to inform decisions across all levels of policing
  • led to a better understanding by academics of the policing context and vice versa, supporting the delivery of applied research in priority areas including child sexual exploitation, mental health and digital policing, and informing the development of new tools and technical solutions to support tactical and strategic decision making
  • increased capability of officers and staff to apply evidence-based approaches helping them respond to new challenges in a more informed and cost-effective way, and
  • developed new structures and processes within and between collaborating partners which has supported them to continue beyond the life of the PKF, and in some cases secure additional funding.

Rachel Tuffin, Director of Workforce Transformation at the College, is pleased to share the results of forces' and universities' drive and commitment to deliver and use new policing knowledge:

"This ambitious programme has led to thousands of officers and staff benefiting from professional development, and hundreds completing short research projects. Policy and practice has been influenced through academic research on issues ranging from child interviewing to 'cloud' storage, and restorative justice to demand modelling.  New research-based policing tools have been developed on issues from custody to digital evidence and social media. 

These collaborative approaches provide great models for the future of police professional development, and for officers and staff building and using research evidence.  We're really proud to have worked with universities and forces on this programme, and to be able to share the positive impact it has had on policing.'

Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas, President of the Police Superintendents' Association supports the initiative:

"The Police Knowledge Fund, through the College of Policing, has provided for the first time a means for policing and academia to come together and provide research and develop evidence for improving policing in this country, and challenge conventional practice as well as develop the service to meet the contemporary challenges that it is facing. I believe this exciting initiative is leading the way internationally across law enforcement and it is my hope that this goes on from strength to strength"

The PKF has been well received by participating police officers and staff from the collaborations:

​"I strongly believe that this has been the most important innovation in policing during my service. In times of austerity, using methods that can be empirically shown to work is vital, not only in terms of operational capacity but from a public confidence and legitimacy perspective. It also leads to innovation and creativity and helps aligns some of the best minds in the country to challenging policing problems."   Police officer


The numerous outputs from the PKF have been collated into a central catalogue, including research briefings, reports, training materials and event information.   Links to products are also available from a series of themed pages. These showcase some of the key products across the collaborations against a number of policing priority areas.

Details of the 14 individual collaborations supported by the review, including contact details for the academic lead, can be found here.

For further information on the PKF, please email whatworks@college.pnn.police.uk