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‘Prevention in Partnership’ Conference on 22 March 2023 in Hatfield

Dr. Elke Loeffler (Director of Strategic Partnerships, CPRL) and Lynda Coates, Superintendent of Prevention First in Hertfordshire Constabulary, co-led the “Prevention in Partnership Conference”, which was co-hosted by Hertfordshire Constabulary, Hertfordshire County Council and the Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL) at The Open University.

This interactive conference was attended by more than 130 participants from a wide range of public services, nonprofit and business organisations. The conference was opened by Professor Jim McManus, Executive Director of Public Health, Andrew Butler, Director of Regulatory Services & Estates, HCC and Matt Nicholls, Assistant Chief Constable, Hertfordshire Constabulary.

The discussions at the conference showed that prevention is not a new topic for most public services – indeed, there are already promising local practices to build on. However, the frank conversations also revealed that much remains to be done. As Dr. Nick Caveney, Chief Superintendent at Hertfordshire Constabulary, pointed out, more effective data sharing and joint analysis between agencies has the potential to reduce costly crisis management due to unlinked data and research, as highlighted by a case study presented at the conference on “Real Time Suicide Surveillance” in Hertfordshire. In particular, there was a perceived need to implement and scale effective prevention programmes which are evidence-based and which are likely to result in better outcomes for local communities and more efficient public services. The ‘Making Every Adult Matter’ (MEAM) project led by Hertfordshire County Council with a range of local partners and CRPL, is a great start in the right direction. However, it was recognised that wider and deeper local partnership working and interdisciplinary research will be needed in order to progress prevention of harm for vulnerable people in and beyond Hertfordshire. Elke has already convened an enthusiastic interdisciplinary team from the Open University, together with some colleagues from the University of Hertfordshire, which has applied for funding to the Open University’s Open Societal Challenge.

If your police force is engaged in innovative prevention initiatives, we’d like to hear from you. Please get in touch with Lynda Coates and Elke Loeffler