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Effectiveness of a contact-based anti-stigma intervention for police officers


International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

Volume 76, May–June 2021, 101697

Linus Wittmann; Robert Dorner; Imke Heuer; Thomas Bock; Candelaria Mahlke



Police force interaction rates with individuals with mental health conditions are on the rise. International research reveals that the presence of a mental health condition increases the risk for detention and use of force by police officers. Stigmatization of individuals with mental health conditions as dangerous and unpredictable is assumed to have an impact on the likelihood of police use of force. The following study examines a trialogical intervention to reduce stigmatization of individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia in a police officer sample.


1318 police officers participated in a trialogical contact-based intervention with the aim to reduce stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs. Emotional reactions, stereotypes and social distance were assessed prior to and after the intervention in a one-group design.


Negative stereotypes were positively associated with social distance in individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and were positively associated with anxiety. Dependent sample t-test revealed reduced anxiety towards individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, less negative stereotypes, and less social distance post intervention. All results were significant, and all effect sizes showed a small to moderate effect.


Trialogical contact-based, short-term anti-stigma interventions appear to reduce stigmatizing attitudes towards individuals with mental health conditions in a large police force sample. A missing control group is a key study limitation. Further research is needed to examine the effectiveness of the intervention in a randomized-controlled trial. However, the results clearly suggest that anti-stigma interventions could be beneficially introduced into police training.

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AIC: Reoffending among child sexual offenders


This study examines reoffending among 1,092 male offenders proceeded against for a child sexual offence in New South Wales between 2004 and 2013, including 863 child sexual assault offenders, 196 child abuse material offenders and 33 procurement/ grooming offenders.

Seven percent of child sexual offenders sexually reoffended within 10 years of their first police proceeding for a child sexual offence, while 42 percent non-sexually reoffended. Risk of sexual and non-sexual reoffending was highest in the first two years.

Child sexual assault offenders were the most likely to reoffend non-sexually, while procurement/grooming offenders were the most likely to reoffend sexually. There was evidence of transition to other sexual offence types, but this varied between groups. Indigenous status, history of offending and the number of child sexual offences emerged as important predictors of reoffending, although risk profiles varied between offender types.

ECPA 2021: submit your project on bullying and violence among minors

The #ECPA2021 competition is now open



The European Crime Prevention Award (ECPA) and Best Practice Conference (BPC) will take place on 8 and 9 December 2021 in Slovenia. The theme is bullying and violence among minors (both online and offline).

Entries for the ECPA should be submitted through the National Representative of your Member State to the EUCPN Secretariat, the deadline is 15 October 2021.



How to participate





New AIC Publications









  • New AIC research demonstrates the potential to routinely analyse narrative data on family and domestic violence (FDV) in police reports.
  • Based on a sample of almost 500,000 FDV events, the research found that a specific type of abuse could be identified in over 70 percent of events. Victim injuries were identified in over a third of events.
  • The research also showed that around 16% of events involved a person of interest or victim with a mental disorder.

Text mining police narratives for mentions of mental disorders in family and domestic violence events
Text mining police narratives to identify types of abuse and victim injuries in family and domestic violence events









Copyright © 2021 Australian Institute of Criminology, All rights reserved.


Cybercrime Conference: fake news, legislative and policing responses, and women in cyber





Cybercrime Conference: fake news, legislative and policing responses, and women in cyber


1-4pm, 21 July 2021 - ONLINE


This free-to-attend online event will feature a range of speakers addressing current themes in cybercrime and cybersecurity research. Industry and policy practitioners will come together with academic speakers to examine these issues.

Key themes that will be explored are:

  • Legislative and policing responses to cybercrime e.g. Computer Misuse Act, Domestic Abuse Bill
  • Fake news

We will also reflect on the emergence of women in the cybercrime field.




1.00pm – Arrival


1.05pm – Welcome and short introduction to UCL Dawes Centre for Future Crime, Professor Shane Johnson, Director


Session 1 - Legislative and policing responses to cybercrime


1.15pm – Exploring eWhoring, Professor Alice Hutching, Director, Cambridge University Cybercrime Centre


1.35pm – Unpacking Image-Based Sexual Abuse Legislation, Frances Ridout, Director, Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre, Queen Mary University School of Law, and practising Barrister


1.55pm – Biocrime, Internet-of-Ingestible-Things and Cyber-biosecurity, Mariam Elgabry, Director, Enteromics Ltd


2.15pm – Panel with the above speakers, chaired by Dr Sherry Nakhaeizadeh, UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science


2.40pm – BREAK


Session 2 – Fake News and Disinformation


2.50pm – In the grey zone: tackling information manipulation in 2021, Sabrina Spieleder, Policy Officer, Division of Strategic Communications and Information Analysis, European External Action Service


3.10pm – How do we make people more aware of false information online? Designing effective visual warnings to fight the spread of online misinformation, Dr Fiona Carrol, Reader in Human Computer Interaction with the School of Technologies, Cardiff Metropolitan University


3.30pm – Speaker to be confirmed


3.50pm – Panel with the above speakers, chaired by Dr Enrico Mariconti, UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science


4.15pm – END





To register please click here



Organised by the UCL Dawes Centre for Future Crime and the UCL Security and Crime Science EDI Committee.

New Drug Use Monitoring in Australia report shows how the methamphetamine market has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic








New Drug Use Monitoring in Australia report shows how the methamphetamine market has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Since the pandemic began, the availability and quality of methamphetamine have decreased, prices have increased and consumption has declined.
  • The impact of the pandemic on the methamphetamine market varied by location, with more disruption identified in Perth than in Brisbane or Adelaide.
  • Almost one-third of respondents (30%) bought larger quantities of methamphetamine during the pandemic to avoid a possible shortage in product, and 28 percent had used other substances as a substitute for methamphetamine.

Read: Declines in methamphetamine supply and demand in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic









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Webinar: Tackling Discrimination within the Police Force: How to improve police practice and create a more representative force

Tuesday, July 27th 2021

Key Speakers Include:

Professor Lawrence W. Sherman KNO, Director of the Police Executive Programme, University of Cambridge

Richard Hobbs, UK Policing Lead at Deloitte

Sheldon Thomas, Founder of Gangsline

Cherie Johnson, Expert on Girls in Gangs

Katrina Ffrench, Founder and Director of UNJUST

Sal Naseem, Regional Director for London at The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)

Dr Angela Herbert MBE, Chair of the Violent Crime Prevention Board

Event Details Website Register to Attend

Following the Black Lives Matter protests, there has been a renewed focus on discrimination within UK policing. Since 2014, there have been nearly 5,000 complaints to the police regarding their use of stop and search powers, and according to the IOPC, black people are nine times more likely to be stopped than white people in England and Wales. Black people are also underrepresented in police forces across the UK, which many argue explains issues of discriminatory practice. While 3.3% of the population is black, only 1.2% of the police force is, and out of 44 police forces across the country, 41 have an underrepresentation of black officers.

In the last year the IOPC have subsequently launched an investigation into police discrimination which promises to examine the use of stop and search, police use of force as well as cases where victims from BAME communities have felt unfairly treated by the police, including not treating allegations of hate crime from BAME complainants seriously.

It has been over two decades since the publication of the Macpherson Report, which followed the murder of Stephen Lawrence and branded the London’s Metropolitan Police as “institutionally racist”. Since then there has been an improvement in the extent to which the police represent the communities they work in, but in the last 10 years progress appears to have stalled with the percentage of black officers barely increasing. The current government’s announcement of its plan to increase the police force by 20,000 officers, has been described as a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to redress the racial disparities in officer numbers and could reinvigorate the upward trend in the share of BAME officers. Yet, the recent expansion in the use of stop and search powers could further damage relations between the police and BAME communities, thus creating greater obstacles to making a more representative force.

Nevertheless, issues of discrimination in police practice go beyond the numbers of BAME police officers. The Lammy Review, published three years ago, highlighted a number of issues and made several recommendations that could reduce discriminatory practice. Despite making up just 14% of the population, BAME men and women make up 25% of prisoners, while over 40% of young people in custody are from BAME backgrounds. In 2018-19, a person from the black community was more than nine times as likely to be stopped and searched by police compared to a white person. Research also shows that a black person is also three times as likely to be arrested, and five times as likely to have force used against them. Amnesty International stated that although black youths were responsible for only 27% of the violence committed by young people in the capital, they comprised 72% of the Metropolitan Police’s gangs matrix, which flags offenders for intensive monitoring.

Implicit biases are perhaps a key driver in discriminatory practice. Studies show that police officers, including black officers, are more likely to interpret ambiguous behaviour as aggressive when coming from a black person than a white person. When reaching for an object, officers are also more likely to assume that it is a gun if the person in question is from a BAME background. A number of police forces have taken steps and initiated training courses to help reduce implicit biases, but this is far from uniform across the country.

A year after the announcement of a review into police discrimination by the IOPC, this timely symposium will provide police forces and other key stakeholders with the opportunity to understand how discrimination manifests itself within these institutions, identify key strategies to overcome them internally, and devise better and fairer police practices to work with sections of the BAME community.


  • Discuss ways in which implicit biases can be reduced to prevent discriminatory practice
  • Develop strong community partnerships to build trust and understanding
  • Learn about the efforts to improve the representation of BAME officers in the police force, and how this can be improved
  • Discuss the government’s aim to introduce 20,000 new officers, and how this can be used to make the force look more like the communities they police
  • Reflect on the Macpherson report, and examine whether the “institutional racism” it described has been tackled
  • Analyse internal police complaints procedures and whether there is evidence of discriminatory practice
  • Examine how “institutional racism”, as described in the Macpherson Report, should be tackled
  • Identify key actions on the back of the Lammy Review
  • Learn about the challenges posed by implicit biases, and leading best practices within police forces
  • Reevaluate certain rules and powers that are the most susceptible to discrimination, as studies of fines handed out during lockdown have shown
  • Identify and capitalise on opportunities to build trust among young people, especially from BAME backgrounds

To register to attend this webinar, please click here.