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NPCC appoints first National Policing Chief Scientific Advisor

Professor Paul Taylor has been appointed as the first National Policing Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA).
Published - 11/05/2021 By - Chloe Livadeas

The new National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) role will “connect science and technology expertise both in the UK and globally to keep policing at the forefront of best practice”.

Funded by the Home Office, the CSA will focus on crime prevention and will use emerging evidence, research and innovation in science and technology, including in both data and behavioural science, to advise policing on the opportunities and risks to help reduce crime.

Independent, expert, scientific advice will be provided to the sector as a whole, including the College of Policing, the National Crime Agency, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, individual forces and  government Ministers. 

The successful candidate, Paul Taylor, is Professor of Psychology at Lancaster University, Professor of Human Interaction at the University of Twente, and director of the UK Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST).

Professor Taylor, currently the director of the CREST based at Lancaster University, has led on innovations in crime prevention, predictive policing and a national programme of research that has helped shape policing in counter-terrorism and emergency response. His research uses modelling and experimentation to understand and predict human cooperation and violence. Its implications have helped in the prevention of serious crime, the negotiation of hostage crises, and the use of data in national security.

Before this, Professor Taylor established Lancaster’s Institute for security research, leading staff and students from ten departments.

In 2005 he received a Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Commendation for his contributions.

He took up the role of Police CSA on 1 May 2021. His salary is between £120 - 130k per annum, for a fixed term of three years. 

Professor Taylor said: “It is my privilege to be joining the NPCC at a time when science and technology has so much to offer policing.

“The UK has always been at the forefront of using evidence and science in policing and I intend to build on this tradition, ensuring the very best research and innovation lies at the heart of what we do.

“I look forward to working with outstanding colleagues across the sector and within the Chief Scientific Advisor network.”

Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said the new role will “help ensure that police can make the best use of the latest science and technologies to help prevent and reduce crime”.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair Martin Hewitt, said: “As we continually strive to make twenty-first century policing more effective and efficient, it is crucial that we deepen and expand our capability to harness science and technology to prevent crime and keep people safe.

“Professor Paul Taylor will bring his exceptional experience and outstanding leadership to help policing to be prepared for both the opportunities and the threats presented by science and technology in the future, and I look forward to working with him.”

The NPCC say a new science and technology strategy for policing will be developed alongside the establishment of a new National Crime and Justice Laboratory. The new Lab was pledged in the government's last manifesto but lacked specific details. 

The NPCC said they were unable to provide delivery dates of the Lab at this stage, and that full details were still being agreed and Professor Taylor will be involved in the work to create it. They gave the same response when the CSA role was first advertised six months ago in October 2020. 

The CSA will be responsible for chairing the Police Science, Technology, Analysis and Research (STAR) Board, supported by the Home Office. The Board is responsible for overseeing the spending of up to £5.2m pot from the 2021/22 Policing Funding Settlement.

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