Date range
21 June 2019, 4:30pm to 23 June 2019, 1:00pm
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This year's Cumberland Lodge Police Conference will be exploring the attraction of gangs in order to understand and police them more effectively, and seek to identify best practice in early intervention and prevention strategies.

Our annual Police Conference is now in its 38th year. This year, it will bring together a multi-agency delegation of police officers, academics, non-governmental organisations, policymakers and practitioners, over three days, for a thorough exploration of gang culture and identities in Britain today.

Bursaries for PhD students

We are pleased to be able to offer five fully funded places at this conference, for PhD students working in relevant fields, thanks to the support of the Dawes Trust. A flyer with further information can be downloaded from this webpage.

Bursaries cover full conference costs, including travel, accommodation, meals and attendance.

Please note that all bursaries have now been awarded for 2019.


Participants will discuss pressing issues such as:

  • Growing social divisions and their implications for gang culture
  • The attraction of gang culture
  • The impact of social media on recruitment within gangs
  • Whether the UK can learn from international law enforcers and their perspectives on gang culture
  • Best practice in prevention and early intervention.

You can read the Conference Briefing in full-screen mode below, or download a copy in pdf format from this webpage.


Our keynote address will be delivered by Commissioner Cressida Dick CBE QPM of the Metropolitan Police Service, on Saturday 22 June. 

We are delighted to announce that other confirmed speakers at this year's conference include: 

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE - Chief Executive of Turning Point

Dep Asst Commissioner Duncan Ball - Metropolitan Police

PCC Mark Burns-Williamson OBE - Chair of The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC)

Professor John Dickie - Professor of Italian Studies at University College London, and author of Mafia Republic: Italy's Criminal Curse

Nikki Holland - Director of Investigations, leading on County Lines at the National Crime Agency (NCA)

Will Linden - Co-Deputy Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit

David James Smith - Journalist for The Sunday Times

Dr Keir Irwin-Rogers - Lecturer in Criminology, Open University  

Sherry Peck - Chief Executive of Safer London

Junior Smart - Head of Gangs SOS Project at St Giles Trust

Identities and belonging

This conference is part of our ‘Identities & Belonging’ series for 2018-19, which is exploring the way in which understandings of identity are shifting, and what the resulting transformations might mean for practices of belonging across Britain.

In light of this, the Police Conference will examine the challenges that the attraction of gang identity and association presents for the police.

We will be exploring how the police might best respond to the growing attraction of gangs, which coincides with a general trend of social fragmentation.

Evidence shows that in struggling urban areas, marked by social exclusion and decline, gangs have a strong pull on young people in particular.

Gang culture can offer a sense of protection and belonging to vulnerable young people in a society where they may feel undervalued. It can prove difficult to police criminal gangs. The strong loyalty that many young people feel towards these criminal communities make gang culture particularly hard to police.

Feedback from past conferences

Police Conference 2017, ‘Freedom Restrained? Public Protection, Risk & Policing’:

This is an exceptional event, bringing together those whom share common concerns, challenging us to find better ways of working and learning together. This, often lacking, approach adds value to us all and helps build a bridge of understanding across those who rarely have time to help one another add depth to our own knowledge.’

'Attending this conference gave me the opportunity to talk with people I would likely never have had the chance to otherwise. I found this to be particularly important at a time when stronger links need to be forged between different practitioners and academics. Cumberland Lodge was an incredible forum, in which to safely discuss difficult topics, with a wide range of people. Everything I learnt will influence my studies, ways of thinking and future discussions on the different topics.’

The conference had the right balance of policing and academic perspectives. It was so well run and everything just seemed to flow. The best thing for me was being given the opportunity to discuss opinions and ideas with Senior Officers in a safe and nurturing environment.

Police Conference 2016, 'Eliminating Slavery: Enhancing the Police Response':

'Cumberland Lodge provides an outstanding opportunity to wrestle with some of the great challenges of our time, alongside some of the great leaders of our time. Never a wasted moment for those who attend.'

‘It was heartening to listen and engage with colleagues, and the environment provides you those valuable moments of self-reflection.You walk away feeling challenged to do more.' 

‘Cumberland Lodge distinguished itself, yet again, in assembling insightful speakers in a supportive environment that challenged my thinking. My work on Home Office strategy will have been influenced materially by the conference.'


This year's conference is kindly sponsored by KBR.