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Abertay expert to attend US Congress briefing

13 September 2016

An Abertay University academic is to take part in a US Congress briefing later this month on the subject of gang violence.

Bill Graham large

Dr Bill Graham, an expert in community-based initiatives to tackle gang violence, has been invited to attend the Congressional Briefing on Violence in Washington DC on 27 September.

The engagement is part of a tour of the USA being undertaken by Bill that will include presentations to a number of American universities, the Police Foundation and members of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Bill’s expertise stems from his previous career as an Inspector with Strathclyde Police, where he was involved with Glasgow’s Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV), set up in 2008.

The CIRV brought together several agencies to work collectively with the police in engaging directly with gang members, showing them alternative ways of tackling the inequalities and lack of opportunity they faced every day.

This ‘holistic’ approach helped gang members to choose to give up violence and get help with education, training and employment.

The CIRV ran for three years and was credited with substantial falls in violent offending and possession of weapons.  

It was modelled on similar projects in the USA, particularly in cities like Boston and Cincinnati, but differed by being a collective effort through a single agency rather than leaving different aspects to different organisations.

Bill retired from Strathclyde Police in 2010 with the rank of Inspector.  The following year, he began teaching policing at a university in Glasgow and later completed his PhD on how the American approach to violence-reduction was adapted to Scottish circumstances.

His speaking tour later this month and into October will present his observations on how the differing policies were implemented in the USA and Glasgow.

Bill says:  'CIRV was very successful while it lasted, and its American equivalents also have produced great results.  

'My research looks at what underpins that success and how the different environments on each side of the Atlantic have influenced the way policy is implemented in each case.

'I’ll not just be talking about the Scottish experience but learning more about what did and didn’t work in America, connecting with US-based researchers in the same field.'

As well as the Congressional briefing, Bill will also be visiting the University of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University and George Mason University in Virginia.

In addition to his research, Bill also teaches on Abertay's BA (Honours) in Criminology.

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