Global progressive policing

Leading police improvement: Violence against women and girls, digitalization, and public protest

5th International Police Education Conference

The 5th International Police Education Conference on 10th November 2023, hosted by the London Policing College and supported by Policing Insight, explores the critical themes of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), digitalization, and public protest. We delve into key insights from five workshops that gathered experts, academics, and professionals from around the world to address the challenges and opportunities in modern policing.


The 5th Police Education Conference, November 10, 2023, promises to be a platform for leading police improvement. It will dissect the complexities surrounding Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), digitalization, and public protest, focusing on outcomes drawn from in comprehensive workshops held in October. These workshops brought together over 1,000 practitioners, academics, and professionals from more than 30 countries, making the conference an incubator of innovation and developing ideas to bolster police effectiveness. The discussions uncovered critical themes that demand attention and action to maintain police legitimacy and public trust in an ever-evolving world.

Workshops on Public Protest concluded:

A core theme was the importance of balance and consensus in public order policing. Achieving this equilibrium was seen as critical for facilitating lawful protests and depended upon precisely defining what constitutes a “lawful protest.” Effective communication emerged as a linchpin, particularly as protest dynamics evolve, encompassing new categories such as civil disobedience. The unique nature of Extinction Rebellion’s approach, involving organised peaceful law-breaking, sparked a debate about how the police should adapt to existential threats like climate change. The conference participants debated whether the police should adjust their approach in response to protests linked to climate change, given the issue’s existential importance to society. While some argued for adaptation considering the crisis’s severity, others emphasised the importance of police impartiality and adherence to the law within a democratic society.

Workshops on VAWG concluded:

In addition to many specific needs for officers and leaders the workshops identified the multifaceted nature of addressing violence against women and girls. It emphasised the importance of a collaborative, informed, and empathetic approach in policing.

The workshop provided a comprehensive overview of the challenges and strategies related to combating VAWG. It emphasized the importance of proactive measures, responsible technology use, and a collaborative approach involving law enforcement, communities, and society at large. There was considerable discussion about the development of a cyber secure model for women and the need for a focus on escape and protection rather than enforcement. The insights shared by the panellists underscore the need for a holistic response to ensure the safety and security of women and girls in a rapidly changing world.

Workshops on Digitalisation concluded:

The integration of digital skills into mainstream policing is crucial to address the growing digital component in criminal activities. Police need to invest in training, technology, and support to ensure that officers can effectively combat digital crimes while protecting their mental health. As technology continues to advance, officers must be equipped with the necessary skills and support to serve justice and safeguard their well-being.

The workshop underscored the growing influence of AI and the Dark Web on cybercrime and the challenges they pose to law enforcement agencies. To address these challenges effectively, law enforcement agencies should prioritize technology education, training, and collaboration with external partners. Investing in digital awareness and skills is crucial to adapt to the evolving landscape of cybercrime and ensure that law enforcement remains effective and secure.

Full conference

Taking these themes forward the conference will have three sections. The first will include contributions from Chief Constable BJ Harrington QPM, Chief Constable Steve Watson QPM, former HMI Matt Parr CB and Dr Rick Muir of the Police Foundation. They will discuss the policing context from the strategic level, identifying key themes for action.   

The second will include a keynote address from Professor Betsy Stanko OBE on the development of Operation Soteria and three separate panels to work on the outcome from the workshops.

  • Digitalisation: Stuart Hyde QPM, Georgina Morgan (Tech UK), Dean Watkinson (CCL)
  • VAWG: Parm Sandhu, Professor Betsy Stanko, Lizzie Peters (MOPAC), Yasmin Khan (Halo)
  • Protest: Roger Gomm QPM, Chief Constable BJ Harrington, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams (NPCC), Professor Densie Martin, Abertay University

The third and final section will bring this together to look at the way forward and will include key speakers from the day and Pro Vice Chancellor Adrian Ellison from the University of West London.

You can join the conference online for free. Register via Eventbrite at Leading police improvement VAWG, Digitalisation and Public Order Tickets, Fri 10 Nov 2023 at 09:30 | Eventbrite

The 5th Police Education Conference is set to be an exciting event in the realm of policing. It will bring to the forefront the critical themes of Violence Against Women and Girls, digitalization, and public protest. The insights gained from the five enlightening workshops provide a solid foundation for addressing these key challenges in modern law enforcement.

  • The need for effective communication, community engagement, and adaptability in public order policing emphasizes the evolving role of the police in a rapidly changing world, particularly in the context of climate change activism.
  • The discussion on Violence Against Women and Girls highlights the importance of collaboration, specialized training, and comprehensive support to address this critical issue.
  • The focus on enhancing digital skills recognizes the pivotal role of technology in contemporary law enforcement and the importance of protecting officers’ well-being.
  • The challenges in combating cybercrime in the era of AI and the Dark Web underscore the need for law enforcement agencies to prioritize technology education, training, and collaboration.

To lead police improvement successfully, a proactive, holistic, and adaptive approach is imperative. The 5th Police Education Conference promises to be a catalyst for change, assisting police identify the tools and insights needed to thrive in a complex and ever-changing world.

The full report from the workshops will be published on our website:

5th International Police Education Conference

You must be registered and logged in to post a comment