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The Police Project

As a Performance student, you'll work with Film Production students to produce a short film that helps increase awareness of serious crime for Northumbria Police. These films have proved to be invaluable as training resources for the police and are screened for an audience at an annual awards ceremony.

A large group of people sitting in a cinema watching a screening of a film from the Police Project

Each year, a film project is undertaken by Screen Performance, Performing Arts and Film Production students, on behalf of Northumbria Police. The task is to create a short film that raises awareness of serious crime, that can be used by the police and other services for training. In the past, videos have tackled issues such as capacity to consent, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, cyber safety, modern day slavery, male rape, county lines, policing during Covid-19, peer-on-peer abuse, and male violence against women and young girls. 

We produce a range of different films, from groups made up of actors and film producers. Each group is responsible for scripting, casting, shooting, editing and producing an interpretation of the brief set by Northumbria Police.

A still from a winning video created through the Police Project

There is a competition element to the project, as each film is judged by Northumbria Police, who consider which groups engaged with and covered the brief most successfully.

All participants are then invited to an awards ceremony where the winning video is announced. Every film that is screened at the ceremony is used by Northumbria Police for training purposes. The awards ceremony is a culmination of hard work across the academic year and is a fun event where you can get dressed up, enjoy some drinks and watch the screening of all the short films. The ceremony even attracts the attention of the press on a local and national scale.

A still from a winning video created through the Police Project

The project runs from September to January as part of one of your modules. You’ll attend an initial meeting where the client (Northumbria Police) will provide you with a brief – the theme of which is different each year. All the films are fictional and based on fictional people, however you’ll be informed by anonymous case studies and research.

During the first week of the project, you’ll take part in a networking event with students from all the courses that are involved, and after being introduced to the brief by the client, Film Production students will begin to audition Screen Performance and Performing Arts students.

By taking part in this module, you’ll gain fantastic transferable skills, as well as practical and professional skills that you can take with you into your future career.

Police Short Films

Hear from University staff, students and key stakeholders about our long-standing collaboration with Northumbria Police.

A large group of students and the Vice Chancellor standing together for a group shot, smiling for the camera. The students are holding certificates and trophies.

What our students say

“The knowledge that the films could have some serious impact has made it all worth it. To be able to get people thinking and talking about how an ordeal such as this can affect people is the only way we can remove the stigma.”

James Vardy, Director of 'Talk to me' – a film about male rape

“The film has helped me progress into a professional industry, and it is on my showreel for agents and casting directors to view. Without this fantastic opportunity, my showreel wouldn’t be half as strong, and my experience as an actor wouldn’t be half as broad."

Ross Scott, Actor in 'Damaged Goods' – a film about sexual exploitation

“Producing a film for Northumbria Police with specific aims and objectives was perhaps the first time I got a taste for what it’s like to work on a client’s brief. It taught me valuable lessons in time and budget management, communication, and collaborating with people I had never worked with before."

Glenn Harris, Producer of 'Behind Closed Doors' – a film about sexual exploitation

A student holding a certificate and trophy, standing alongside the Vice Chancellor and a client, smiling towards the camera.

What our clients say

''Education is key to prevention, and these films do a fantastic job at showcasing the warning signs and highlighting the deception, intimidation and violence involved. The students have produced some brilliant films for raising awareness and highlighting the help and support available.”

Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner

"We do a lot of proactive engagement with partners and schools to help educate young people, parents, teachers and carers about issues. The films the students have produced are a great resource to help with this engagement, and will hopefully lead to more people coming forward if they see something that doesn’t seem right."

Michelle Sheridan – Sexual Assault Referral Centre Manager

"The University has consistently responded to our briefs by producing fantastic films on difficult issues. The University has not shirked from these issues. What you have done for the Police is transmit messages in a way that we cannot. These films will be used by Northumbria Police to share these messages far and wide."

Dame Vera Baird – Former Police Crime Commissioner

CATE 2019 winner logo

The University of Sunderland’s Crime awareness student film projects, in collaboration with Northumbria Police, won The Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) which recognises and rewards collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning. Introduced in 2016, the CATE scheme highlights the key role of teamwork in Higher Education.