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The Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre aims to reshape how the police and other organisations work together in order to reduce harm among vulnerable people in society.

The police have always dealt with vulnerable people but increasingly they have been drawn into policing complex problems that they cannot solve on their own, such as modern slavery, county lines drug networks, mental health, online child sexual victimisation, and domestic abuse.

These problems have been made much worse by austerity, with the police having to fill gaps left by underfunded public services and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Our research explores how vulnerabilities produced, exacerbated and mitigated by policing and how can the police and other services best be used to prevent and reduce vulnerabilities.

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Reshaping the future of policing vulnerabilities



The Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre works on multiple projects across our three research work strands, combining data science with qualitative insights.

Who we are

The ESRC Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre brings together an interdisciplinary team of 23 co-investigators from across institutions across the world, as well as 38 police, non-governmental organisations, local and national government partners.

Jointly led from the Universities of York and Leeds by Co-Directors Professor Charlie Lloyd and Professor Adam Crawford, the team includes Deputy Directors Dr Kate Brown (University of York) and Dr Dan Birks (University of Leeds), as well as eight post-doctoral researchers, and a professional support team of three based across the two institutions. 


There are several ways that researchers, students, practitioners and policy-makers can work with the Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre.

Early Career Researcher Development Fund

Providing research grants of up to £25,000 for Early Career Researchers to lead co-produced projects that align with the Centre’s programme of work, values and principles.

Translational Fellowships

Enabling practitioners and policy makers to undertake research that addresses particular vulnerability and policing problems or solutions in their work.

PhD Network

Bringing together a community of PhD students across multiple disciplines who focus on the intersection of vulnerability and policing.