Towards Justice: Law Enforcement & Reconciliation


Please be aware that, in light of current circumstances, this conference will be postponed. The dates listed on this page are the original dates, and will be updated once new dates are confirmed. More information on our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic is available here.

This year's Cumberland Lodge Police Conference examines criminal justice approaches to addressing historical wrongs in society. It explores the role of the police in promoting successful and enduring reconciliation and the pursuit of wider social justice, through an inclusive process of community healing.

Police officers at all levels will gather for three days with historians, legal professionals, charity representatives, academics, senior civil servants and future leaders, to exchange views and share ideas, drawing on experiences from the UK and beyond.

Our annual Police Conference has been influencing policing and criminal justice matters since the early 1980s. Every summer it brings together a cross-sector delegation to stimulate fresh thinking on pressing issues regarding the relationship between the police and society. The series is now in its 39th year. Our conference steering committee is chaired by Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney QPM.

How should we respond to past harms?

This year’s conference addresses the following questions:

  • How should we respond to moral shifts, which turn actions of the past, once considered legitimate or ordinary, into crimes or acts of discrimination and oppression?
  • How do we deal with new social and ethical standards to judge the past?
  • What are we trying to achieve with investigations – and how can other, non-police actors become involved in the process of creating accountability without focusing on blame?
  • Beyond police investigations, how can prominent public inquiries or independent panels contribute to addressing past wrongs?
  • What can public institutions learn from victim experience? And, what should be the role of victims and their testimony in attempts to investigate historical wrongs?
  • How should the relationship between the state and the media be designed in order to achieve both high levels of independent scrutiny and accessible communication?


Participatory sessions will explore:

  • Putting the past right
  • The experience of Northern Ireland
  • Justice, accountability and blame
  • Public enquiries and successful scrutiny
  • The victim's perspective
  • The challenges of investigation
  • The state and the media

There will be opportunities for group discussion and breakout sessions throughout, and time and space for reflection and networking.

The conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule, in order to enable frank and productive conversations.

On Sunday morning, there will be an optional trip to the Royal Chapel of All Saints.

Cumberland Lodge Report

We will be presenting the key themes of discussion and cross-sector recommendations from this conference in a Cumberland Lodge Report on ‘Towards Justice: Law Enforcement & Reconciliation’.

The report will be reviewed and refined at an expert consultation in September, before being launched in central London and published online and in print.

We have commissioned Professor Martina Feilzer (Professor in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Bangor University) to support these discussions as a freelance Research Associate, and to write our pre-conference briefing and final report.


We warmly welcome all registrations of interest in attending, but attendance will be by invitation only, to ensure a broad and balanced representation. If you would like to be part of this conference, please follow the 'Make Enquiry' button on this webpage to let us know how and why you would like to contribute.

This conference is part of our 2019-20 series, Inclusion & Opportunity

PhD student travel bursaries

We are pleased to offer five fully funded bursaries for this conference, to support PhD students working in relevant fields to participate, by helping with the costs of travelling to and from Cumberland Lodge. (This is in addition to conference registration costs, meals and accommodation on site).

To apply, please download the application form on the right-hand side of this webpage and send it to Emily Gow at by 12pm on 21 April 2020.

Dates and times

From: 19 Jun 2020 - 3:00pm
To: 21 Jun 2020 - 3:00pm
Add to Calendar