What Works: Commissioned Partnership Programme


What Works Centre

 What Works Centre for Crime Reduction

The government has selected the College of Policing to host the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction - part of a world-leading network of centres providing robust, comprehensive evidence to guide public spending decisions.

The What Works Centre for Crime Reduction will:

  • review research on practices and interventions to reduce crime
  • label the evidence base in terms of quality, cost and impact
  • provide Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and other crime reduction stakeholders with the knowledge, tools and guidance to help them target their resources more effectively.

It will be led by a core team from the College of Policing, and supported by a "commissioned partnership programme" which has been jointly funded by the College and the Economic and Social Research Council.

The table below outlines a range of potential benefits from the Centre's introduction.



More informed decisions Evidence will be translated into practical insights that the police service and their partners can easily use
Better value for money Guidance will be clear, helping decision-makers to access and apply the evidence locally to make choices about where to spend and disinvest
Reassurance and accountability Sharing knowledge about "what works" with the public will help build confidence in the police service and its crime reduction partners
Collaboration and partnership Links will be strengthened between the police service, crime reduction partners and the academic sector
Prevention, not reaction Evidence will be provided on the most effective approaches that can help prevent crime

For more information about the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction please contact Nicky Miller or Mark Abram at the College of Policing.

Research programme

What Works Centre for Crime Reduction: Commissioned Partnership Programme

The commissioned partnership programme will deliver work to support the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, helping the College of Policing to become an evidence-based professional body.

The programme started in September 2013 and will focus on:

• mapping and assessing the quality of the evidence base
• ranking and labelling interventions in terms of quality, cost and impact
• training for practitioners on evidence appraisal and an evaluation of the Centre's overall effectiveness.

Commissioned partnership programme: list of work packages

Work package


1.List of systematic reviews A comprehensive listing will be made of systematic reviews on crime reduction topics to establish a common database of knowledge on searches and expert consultation.
2. Mapping and evidence synthesis Systematic mapping and full synthesis of the evidence across a range of specified crime reduction priority areas will be undertaken. At a minimum, a qualitative synthesis will be expected for every topic, complemented by a quantitative synthesis if sufficient evidence exists.
3. Development of decision criteria A comparative labelling scheme will be developed, using a consistent evaluation standard to rate and rank the effectiveness of interventions and the overall cost-saving.
4. Application of criteria to reviews A taxonomy will be developed of ranked and labelled interventions. This will be developed by applying the criteria to each systematic review identified from work packages 1 and 2.
5. Developing advice on costing interventions Detailed guidance will be produced for practitioners on how to undertake cost analysis of specific interventions.
6. Design of a development programme on crime reduction evidence appraisal A development programme will be produced to equip practitioners with the capability to understand, critique and make effective use of evidence.
7. Deliver a pilot of the programme (to police practitioners) A pilot of the development programme will be undertaken to assess how far its aims and objectives have been met.
8. Primary research The programme will support primary research on a topic to be decided in collaboration between the grant holder(s) and partners.
9. Test impact of the What Works Centre on decision-making An evaluation of the overall effectiveness of the Centre will be undertaken.

Project Partners

The three-year commissioned partnership programme is co-funded by the College of Policing and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The consortium comprises University College London (UCL), the Institute of Education (IoE), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Birkbeck College, and Cardiff, Dundee, Surrey and Southampton universities.

For more information on the institutions and individuals involved in this work please use the following links:

Professor Gloria Laycock - Director of the Commissioned Partnership Programme

Professor Nick Tilley – Deputy Director

Professor Shane Johnson

Professor Kate Bowers

Professor Richard Wortley

Dr Aiden Sidebottom

Dr Jyoti Belur

Lisa Tompson

Dr Phil Edwards

Professor Ian Roberts

Rebecca Steinbach

Professor Mike Hough

Gill Hunter

Tiggey May

Tim McSweeney

Ali Wigzell

Professor Martin Innes

Professor Mike Levi

Dr Amanda Robinson

Professor Jenny Fleming

Professor David Gough

Carol Vigurs

Dr Karen Schuchan Bird

Dr Katie Quy

Professor Nick Fyfe 

Professor Nigel Fielding

Dr Karen Bullock

Dr Jane Fielding


Outputs from the Commissioned Partnership Programme will be available here:

Page last modified on 17 mar 14 12:20