A TEAM of Huddersfield “crimebusters” has won a big grant to carry on their work.
The criminology researchers, based at the University of Huddersfield, have won massive financial backing for a roster of projects that will probe deep into the heart of crime, anti-social behaviour and extremism.
It will include the use of guns by gangs in the north; how to reduce persistent offending; designing buildings so that criminals are thwarted and deterred; and cutting down the crime and health risks faced by night-time club-goers.
They are just four of the nine new investigations that are now being undertaken by the Applied Criminology Centre (ACC) at the University of Huddersfield.
Total funding of more than £400,000 has been awarded by a wide range of organisations, including the Home Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Youth Justice Board.
The ACC at Huddersfield is headed by Prof Alex Hirschfield, who has a team of seven researchers with a wide range of experience and areas of expertise.
“There is always stiff competition to win contracts to carry out research projects, said Prof Hirschfield.
“I am delighted by the run of success enjoyed by the ACC at Huddersfield. It is certainly unusual to have so many schemes funded simultaneously.’’
One of the highest profile projects, led by Dr Hannah Smithson, is examining gang culture and the factors that lead young people to resort to the use of guns. The research is based in the north.
The Youth Justice Board has funded the University of Huddersfield’s ACC to examine the radicalisation of young people and to appraise the success of schemes that have attempted to reduce violent extremism.
This project is co-led by Dr Aidan Wilcox and Dr Smithson.
The European Union is the source of funding for a project that aims to find the best way to reduce the risks to the health and safety of young people who go late-night clubbing. This is a major scheme that involves 20 partners – known as the Club Health Network – in 14 European countries.
The Huddersfield team is the only group of criminology researchers involved in the project.
Among the other research projects currently under way at the ACC, two are looking at the impact made by ‘target hardening’ and housing that is ‘secured by design.’
This examines the impact made when buildings and estates are designed with crime-proofing in mind.
It ranges from designing better security lighting through to making sure there are no bushes close to pathways where criminals could lurk and jump out on victims passing by.