Plymouth Hoe at sunset
Researchers from the University of Plymouth have published an independent evaluation of local policing, community safety, and victim support initiatives undertaken in the aftermath of the Keyham shootings on Thursday 12 August 2021.
At around 6pm that day, a critical incident resulted in the murders of five people, and two further members of the public being seriously injured. Due to the nature of the crime, the timing and location, a significant number of adults and children witnessed the events.
Following the incident, the Home Office funded a number of policing and safety activities in the area, while the Ministry of Justice supported a variety of victim support activities.
The evaluation aimed to assess how those initiatives had been received by those living and working in the community.
It also sought to establish whether a similar approach might work for other communities nationally following a future critical incident involving serious violence.
The research was conducted by PhD candidate Caroline Watson, Dr Katie McBride, Professor Zoe James, and Dr Daniel Gilling from the University of Plymouth’s School of Society and Culture.
They carried out interviews and focus groups with residents and professionals working in the local area, including a workshop focus group specifically with young people.
In the autumn of 2022, they also developed a community survey that was completed by 240 residents of Keyham, Ford, North Prospect, and Morice Town.
The findings showed the most visible interventions put in place following the incident – such as community policing and improvements to public spaces – were viewed most positively by residents.
There was also evidence of public confidence in the community policing team among those who had contact with them.
While residents did not generally report feeling unsafe in their local area as a direct consequence of the critical incident, the research found that young people’s feelings of safety were affected.
The importance of Victim Support services in the ongoing trauma recovery process was also noted by professionals working in the local area.
This evaluation report represents the outcome of the first year of a three-year research project. Year one was funded by the Home Office and commissioned by a partnership of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, Plymouth City Council and Devon and Cornwall Police.
Years two and three are funded jointly by the OPCC and D&C Police through their Serious Violence Prevention programme.
On Wednesday 19 July, from 1-5pm, the researchers are hosting a public drop-in session at the University of Plymouth’s Roland Levinsky Building to share their findings. Members of the evaluation team will be present to talk about the project and answer questions. For further information please email