Acquisitive crime: A pilot for an exploratory knowledge exchange platform for policing

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Leeds

In Collaboration With

West Yorkshire Police and the Office of the PCC for West Yorkshire

Principal Researcher

Dr Nicholas Malleson

Level of Research

Professional / Work-based

Project Start Date

November 2014

Research Context

​This pilot is part of a wider initiative to develop an exploratory knowledge exchange platform for policing by exploiting knowledge assets, utilising data and piloting research co-production.  The project is a collaboration West Yorkshire Police (WYP), the Office of the PCC for West Yorkshire (OPCCWY) and the University of Leeds and will build a strategic and innovative knowledge exchange and research co-production platform, piloted in four thematic areas of policing.  The other demonstration projects are around the themes of: policing partnerships; community engagement and public order.

The overall objective of the partnership is to explore various means of fostering greater collaboration between academia and the police in order to enable greater translation of evidence into practice, to help identify the priority research needs of police and to support the emergence of an evidence-based profession.

The project has six broad objectives:

  1. Co-ordinate and facilitate the exploitation of opportunities for research, knowledge exchange and skills training;
  2. Provide for co-ordination between researchers and end users in the process of research design and implementation, evidence gathering and dissemination in ways that facilitate evidence-based contributions to policing policy and practice;
  3. Develop and deliver collaborative primary research which addresses contemporary policing challenges identified by the partner organisations;
  4. Provide the basis for programmes of training to support innovation and the use of research evidence to address policing problems in new ways;
  5. Enable opportunities for the utilisation of research evidence in policing and the development of wider research skills; and
  6. Embed an understanding of the value of research evidence and the development of skills within policing to get research evidence used over the longer-term.

This pilot project on acquisitive crime will use, and add value to, existing police recorded crime data on shoplifting and burglaries.  Nationally, crime has shown substantial reductions in recent decades but burglary and shoplifting are two volume crimes that tend to show different trends and hence are the focus of this pilot.

The study will explore the types of data available, what they contain and what questions they might answer.

Research Methodology

​The project will draw together a large dataset of over 10 years of police-recorded crime data covering all cases of burglary and shoplifting across West Yorkshire.  It will conduct a large-scale spatiotemporal data analysis - using a combination of crime, socio-demographic and geospacial data - in an attempt to identify clusters and explain differences in the distribution of acquisitive crimes across cities in West Yorkshire.  This quantitative analysis will be complemented by interviews with key retail managers to better understand security measures and reporting behaviours with regard to shoplifting, hence mediating some of the problems with recorded crime statistics.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available.

Date due for completion

October 2015
Return to Research Map