Elizabeth Aston

Elizabeth Aston

Dr Elizabeth Aston Director, Scottish Institute for Policing Research

Associate Professor of Criminology

Biography

I am the Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and an Associate Professor of Criminology. I am on the International Advisory Board for the N8 Policing Research Partnership, the Governance Board of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, am a member of various Police Scotland advisory/reference groups, and Chair of the Cyber Kiosks External Reference Group .

I have a strong record of collaborative research on policing both in Scotland and in Europe, and am experienced in knowledge exchange and building strong research-practitioner relationships. In addition to organising various SIPR conferences and events I was on the Program Committee of the International Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health 2019. I have recently delivered invited keynote /plenary presentations at the Flemish Centre for Policing and Security, the Catalan Institue of Security and the London Policing College. In addition to academic publications I have written for The Conversation, been featured on TV by the BBC and STV, and quoted by the Financial times and others.

I was a joint work package leader on ‘Unity’, a €4.6 million Horizon 2020 EC funded project on Community Policing, technology and co-operation between the police and public. I am currently co-lead a working group in a COST Action on 'Police Stops' in Europe, have conducted research on stop and search in Scotland, and been an active member of Police Scotland’s National Stop Search Unit ‘Research, Evaluation and Operational Review Group’.

Prior to my SIPR role I was Head of Social Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, Depute Programme Leader for the MSc Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychology, and Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Criminology. Edinburgh Napier University is now rated the top modern university in the UK for criminology (1st of 37) in the Times Good University Guide 2020 .

Prior to joining Edinburgh Napier University in 2011, I held a SIPR Postdoctoral Research position at the Centre for Criminal Justice and Police Studies, the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). I have also worked as a Researcher at the Medical Research Council’s Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow. My ESRC CASE award PhD was linked to ‘The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime’.

My research interests centre on intersections between criminal justice and other policy areas such as health, e.g. policing and substance use. My expertise lies in local policing and I have conducted research on the relationship between substance use and offending; community policing; stop and search; local policing in Scotland; and youth diversionary projects. I am interested in developing work on drugs and policing, local policing, public confidence, visibility and engagement (including online) and the role of technology in policing. I would welcome applications from prospective PhD students interested in these policing topics.

Themes

Research Areas

Events

Esteem

Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Invited member of the Governance Board of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit
  • Invited member of Police Scotland Drug Strategy Board
  • Invited member of NHS Health Scotland 's 'Public Health Approach to Justice' Monitoring and Evaluation Advisory Group for 'Rights Respect & Recovery'
  • Invited member of Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland joint Research Forum
  • Invited member of International Advisory Board of the N8 Policing Research Partnership
  • Police Scotland’s Public Confidence Steering Group member
  • Chair of Digital Cyber Kiosks External Reference Group, Police Scotland
  • NSSU Stop and Search Reference Group member, Police Scotland
  • Local Approaches to Policing Expert Reference Group, Police Scotland
  • Program Committee International Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health
  • SIPR Police Community Relations Brokering Team
  • Police Scotland Research and Evaluation Operational Review Group (REORG) on Stop and Search

 

Conference Activity

  • Presentation with Janos Fazekas: 'Generating comparative knowledge on the governance of police stops in Europe'European Society of Criminology Conference, Ghent , September 2019
  • Organised and Chaired a Panel 'Governing police stops: a comparative approach' European Society of Criminology Conference, Ghent , September 2019
  • Invited panel presentation: Visible online? Police legitimacy and face-to-face engagement’ at European Society of Criminology Conference, Ghent, September,2019
  • Co-organiser & contributor ‘Research into Practice’ SIPR-Police University College Finland (POLAMK) two-day event: day 1 Education, day 2 prevention, March 2018.
  • Invited Program Committee member LEPH
  • Organisation of the Scottish International Policing Conference
  • O’Neill, M and Aston, L. ‘Community Policing and Diverse Communities: Findings From the Unity Horizon 2020 Project’ Presented at the European Society of Criminology Conference, Sarajevo, September 2018.
  • Aston, L. and Hail, Y. ‘Information sharing, Procedural Justice & Community Policing in Europe’ Procedural Justice in Policing Symposium, December 2018.
  • Organised a SIPR a two day SIPR visit from 10 researchers from BRA, the Swedish National Crime Prevention Council, Economic and Organised Crime Division.
  • Invited panellist at Digital Justice Scotland 2018, in a session on innovative solutions for police forces, chaired by Henry McLeish, , 26th September 2018.
  • Presentations at European Society of Criminology Conference, Cardiff 2017 'Community Policing and Information sharing: findings from teh unity H20020 Project' and 'Improving experiences of stop and search : lessons learned from scoftland' (invited as part of a panel on Police Stops)
  • Organised 'Power, Policy and Practice' A Research Showcasing Event for Social Sciences and Psychology. February 2017
  • Chaired and co-organised a panel on ‘Developing Police Practice through Evidence: success stories and barriers’ at the SIPR International Policing Conference Policing and Professionalisation, December, 2017.
  • Invited Chair of ‘People and Organisational Development’ workshop at the Scottish International Policing Conference 'Policing: Localism in a globalising world'
  • Invited Chair of plenary discussion at Social Media and Community Policing Conference, Munich
  • Chairing of Lothian and Borders Community Justice Authority Learning and Innovation Workshops
  • Presentation at European Society of Criminology Conference, Prague

 

Editorial Activity

  • Invited Series Editor for 'Palgrave's Critical Policing Studies'

 

Fellowships and Awards

  • Fellowship of Higher Education Academy

 

Grant Reviewer

  • invited reviewer for ESRC End of Award and Impact Grants

 

Invited Speaker

  • Invited keynote 'Legitimacy and Technology' at 'Street Policing in Smart Societies' Flemish Centre for Policing and Security 30th Anniversary Conference, Ghent, September 2019
  • Invited plenary on 'Public Confidence and Enforcement and Engagement Methods' at Institute for Public Security Catalonia's 300th Anniversary Conference 'Present and Future of the Police Force', September 2019
  • Invited to present ‘SIPR and the role of research in policy and practice’ to the Scottish Community Safety Network’s Chairs and Leads event ‘Making the case for community safety’ , May 2019.
  • Invited to present ‘SIPR and Knowledge Exchange in Scotland’ to the Police University College Finland school seminar series, Tampere Finland, February 2019
  • Invited panelist 'Seizing the Future: Police Scotland's powers to seize and examine electronic devices'' Open Rights Group Scotland Conference, October, 2019
  • ‘Methods of visible policing & public confidence: a review of evidence’ invited presentation to Police Scotland’s Public Confidence Steering Group, 18th July 2018.
  • Invited Discussant ‘Placing prevention in a new landscape of partnership and governance perspective’ at the Edinburgh Executive Sessions in Policing on ‘Scottish and New Zealand Perspectives on Policing and Prevention: the challenges of innovation, implementation and evaluation’
  • Invited guest lecture ‘Community Policing in Europe: Unity’ at Northumbria University
  • Invited presentation 'Community Policing in Europe: Unity findings on Communication'. SIPR Scotland-Sweden Comparative workshop on 'Local Policing: perspectives on public confidence, local governance and community engagement. to National Swedish Council for Crime Prevention
  • Invited presenter & chair ‘Community Policing in comparative perspective’ at the Edinburgh Executive Sessions in Policing on ‘The challenges of localism within national policing arrangements: the Netherlands and Scotland in comparative perspective’
  • Invited key panel presentation ‘A comparative analysis of current community policing in Europe’, Social Media and Community Policing Conference, Munich
  • Invited presentation ‘A successful Horizon 2020 funding bid: Enhancing cooperation between law enforcement agencies and citizens - Community Policing’ at SIPR Workshop ‘Horizon 2020 and Opportunities within SIPR’
  • Invited presentation ‘Developing an Evidence Base for Local Policing in Scotland’, Scottish Institute for Policing Research and George Mason University Research Symposium
  • Invited plenary ‘Local Policing in Scotland: a case study approach’ Scottish Institute for Policing Research Annual Conference

 

Media Activity

  • The Scottish Sun: central commentator in an exploration of potential crime issues under lockdown conditions 5th April 2020 pg. 8 & online
  • The National -quoted in a feature by Karin Goodwin ‘Scottish Government warned police laws ‘not fit for purpose’ in a digital age’. 8th Devember, 2019.
  • Financial Times Liz Aston quoted in 'Police Scotland chief constable faces new probe’ 31st January
  • Commonspace ‘Suppression of draft reports alleging corruption in Police Scotland indicative of lack of accountability, expert says’ [Liz Aston quoted 1st May 2018]
  • Edinburgh Evening News ‘Drunkenness blamed over surge in city rape reports’ [Liz Aston quoted], 29 May 2018
  • Quoted in Edinburgh Evening News ‘Cyber Sex Crimes on the Rise Across Edinburgh’ by Andy Shipley 23rd November 2018.
  • STV news and Scotland Tonight: Liz Aston TV interview for extended news report on policing of Paedophile Hunters 10/09/18
  • BBC News TV interview with Liz Aston on policing of hate crime, featured on 6pm BBC news, 10 o’clock news and radio Scotland News Drive, 14th November 2018.
  • Edinburgh Evening News ‘New stats show crime falling across Capital’ Liz Aston commentary for the feature, 31 July 2017.
  • BBC News ‘Praise for Police Scotland stop and search changes’, 22 February 2017,
  • BBC News, ‘Report says stop-and-search should be “last resort”’, 19 June 2015,
  • The Herald, ‘Lib Dems question police stop-and-search schools project’, 7 August 2015,
  • The Herald, ‘Nicola Sturgeon urged to take action on stop and search’, 25 June 2015,
  • The Scotsman, ‘Police stop and search should be “last resort”’, 19 June 2015
  • The Herald, ‘Experts criticise promotion in schools of police stop and search’, 19 June 2015,

 

Membership of Professional Body

  • Drug Research Network Scotland member
  • European Society of Criminology
  • Scottish Centre for Criminal Justice Research, Associate Researcher
  • Member of Scottish Institute for Policing Research

 

Reviewing

  • Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing invited peer reviewer
  • International Journal of Police Science and Management invited peer reviewer
  • Evidence and Policy invited peer reviewer
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice invited peer reviewer
  • International Journal of Drug Policy invited peer reviewer

 

Date


19 results

Generating comparative knowledge on the governance of police stops in Europe

Presentation / Conference
Aston, E., & Fazekas, J. (2019, September)
Generating comparative knowledge on the governance of police stops in Europe. Paper presented at European Society of Criminology Conference, Ghent
Aston, E., & Fazekas, J. (2019, September). 'Generating comparative knowledge on the governance of police stops in Europe. Paper presented at European Society of Criminology C...

Co-creation of value: Understanding the assessment of vulnerability across Law Enforcement and Public Health

Report
Murray, J., Heyman, I., Wooff, A., Dougall, N., Aston, L., & Enang, I. (2019)
Co-creation of value: Understanding the assessment of vulnerability across Law Enforcement and Public Health. Scottish Institute for Policing Research
As police contact has and continues to increase with people who are considered vulnerable, it is essential to establish a better understanding of what it means for a person to...

Achieving cultural change through organizational justice: the case of Stop and Search in Scotland

Journal Article
Aston, E., Aston, E., Murray, K., Murray, K., O'Neill, M., & O’Neill, M. (2019)
Achieving cultural change through organizational justice: the case of Stop and Search in Scotland. Criminology and Criminal Justice, https://doi.org/10.1177/1748895819839751
In recent years, the scale, impact and legality of stop and search in Scotland has been subject to intense critical scrutiny, leading to major legal and policy reform in 2016....

Defining and Assessing vulnerability within law enforcement and public health organisations: A scoping review.

Journal Article
Enang, I., Murray, J., Dougall, N., Wooff, A., Heyman, I., & Aston, E. (2019)
Defining and Assessing vulnerability within law enforcement and public health organisations: A scoping review. Health and Justice, 7(2), https://doi.org/10.1186/s40352-019-0083-z
Historically, police departments focused solely on criminal justice issues. Recently, there has been a dynamic shift in focus, with Law Enforcement professional groups assumin...

Defining and Assessing Vulnerability: Perspectives across Law Enforcement and Public Health (LEPH)

Presentation / Conference
Murray, J., Enang, I., Dougall, N., Wooff, A., Aston, E., & Heyman, I. (2019, January)
Defining and Assessing Vulnerability: Perspectives across Law Enforcement and Public Health (LEPH). Paper presented at 4th PUBSIC (Innovation in Public Services and Public Policy) Conference
Law enforcement has traditionally been considered to focus mainly on criminal justice issues. However, over the past decade, there has been a dynamic shift in focus, with law ...

Law enforcement and public health: setting the research agenda for Scotland .

Report
Murray, J., Heyman, I., Wooff, A., Dougall, N., Aston, L., & Enang, I. (2017)
Law enforcement and public health: setting the research agenda for Scotland . Scottish Institute for Policing Research
Police Scotland’s contact with people with vulnerability and health problems has been increasing year-on-year, with significant costs and unknown outcomes associated. This is ...

Review of Evidence: What effect do enforcement-orientated and engagement-orientated methods of visible policing have on public confidence?

Report
Hail, Y., Aston, E., & O'Neill, M. (2018)
Review of Evidence: What effect do enforcement-orientated and engagement-orientated methods of visible policing have on public confidence?. Scottish Institute for Policing Research
Abstract not available.

Changing Stop and Search in Scotland

Journal Article
O'Neill, M., & Aston, E. (2018)
Changing Stop and Search in Scotland. European Journal of Policing Studies, 5, ISSN 2034-760X
Compared to other areas in the UK, stop and search in Scotland was on a disproportionately large scale prior to 2015 and targeted children and young people. Scottish police of...

Unity - Ethical, legal and socially responsible framework for training, awareness raising and exploitation

Report
Hail, Y., Aston, E., Wooff, A., & O'Neill, M. (2018)
Unity - Ethical, legal and socially responsible framework for training, awareness raising and exploitation. https://www.unity-project.eu/index.php/documents/: European Commission
Hail, Y., Aston, E., Wooff, A., & O'Neill, M. (2018). Unity - Ethical, legal and socially responsible framework for training, awareness raising and exploitation. European Comm...

‘Improving the Practice of Stop and Search in Scotland’

Journal Article
O'Neill, M., & Aston, E. (2017)
‘Improving the Practice of Stop and Search in Scotland’. Translational Criminology, 7-9
No abstract available.

Pre-Napier Funded Projects

  • Lanarkshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership ‘Development of a treatment process and effectiveness model in South Lanarkshire addiction services’. Professor David Best (PI) and Dr Elizabeth Aston (Co-I) (£59,876)
  • Lanarkshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership, ‘Development of a Well-being Self Evaluation Tool for young people in Lanarkshire’. Professor David Best (PI) and Dr Elizabeth Aston (Co-I), (£18,735)

Current Post Grad projects

Previous Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • Anna Sierka ‘Exploring the mechanisms underpinning the relationships among trauma, substance use and offending in Scottish incarcerated women’. MRes student Dr Liz Aston (DOS) and Prof Thanos Karatzias, 2013- 2015.
  • Dr Yvonne Hail Local Policing in Transition: Examining the Impacts and implications of Police Reform in Scotland