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Award offers chance for exchange with US university on race in policing

The Scholar Award will allow a UK officer or staff member to find out about US initiatives to strengthen community-police relations, with a focus on black communities.

The US-UK Fulbright Commission, the National Black Police Association (NBPA), and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) today launched a new award aimed at furthering research into policing and criminal justice.

The Fulbright-Stephen Lawrence Scholar Award in Policing will give a UK officer or staff the chance to conduct research in a three-month programme hosted by three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States.

The US-UK Fulbright Commission awards scholarships to American and British students who want to study across the Atlantic or others who want to carry out research in each other's countries. 

The award aims to further the exchange of knowledge and best practice in law enforcement in the United States and the UK, particularly in terms of how to improve community engagement with regards to race.

The grant of $20,000 offered in academic year 2022-23 will see its awardee conduct research in a three-month programme hosted by law schools Howard University School of Law, the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, and North Carolina Central University School of Law.

The NBPA said these universities have contributed to a “rich body of scholarship in the US relating to race and policing, and this experience will present the awardee with an opportunity to find out about initiatives to build healthier community-police relations”.

Maria Balinska, Executive Director of the US-UK Fulbright Commission, said this exchange of knowledge and experience “could not be more timely”.

“A great deal of research has been conducted in the US specifically with regard to race and policing, and racial justice is a global challenge we are committed to facing head on through this new award,” she said.

Andrew George, President of the NBPA, said: “This policing award speaks to hope for a better future – the lasting legacy of Stephen Lawrence. The award named after him will be invaluable in informing policing black British communities. We are curious to find out what perspectives law schools at HBCUs in the United States will offer us.”

Stephen Lawrence's mother Baroness Lawrence will review the short-listed applications, and be involved with the interview process alongside the NBPA.

Alison Lowe, APCC Lead on Equality, Diversity and Human Rights, and the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in West Yorkshire, said she looked forward to seeing the” gains in fresh knowledge and perspectives from this exchange”.

In a joint statement, the three law schools said: “The UK and the US have taken different approaches when it comes to policing citizens. Education exchange is precisely intended to explore differences, as a means to broaden perspectives and encourage new ideas and thinking. We are proud to host this exchange, which will enrich the body of research around law enforcement and community engagement.”

Offices of the Police and Crime Commissioner across the country have committed funding, including: Bedfordshire; Gwent; Leicestershire; North Wales; Nottinghamshire; South Wales; South Yorkshire, Surrey; West Midlands; Warwickshire; Derbyshire; Avon and Somerset; West Yorkshire Combined Authority; Police Service of Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland Policing Board); Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) and Ministry of Defence Police.

More information and how to apply can be found here

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