I am the Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and an Associate Professor of Criminology. In 2020 I was appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to establish and Chair an Independent Advisory Group on Emerging Technologies in Policing. I am the co-editor of Palgrave's Critical Policing Studies Series. I sit on the International Advisory Board of the ESRC Vulnerability and Policing Futures Centre and the N8 Policing Research Partnership. I am on the Governance Board of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, and a member of various Police Scotland advisory/reference groups, including the Drug Strategy Board, Naloxone Delivery Steering Group, and until 2019 chaired the Cyber Kiosks External Reference Group.
My research expertise centres on local policing, and I have been developing work on technology in policing and the intersect between policing and drugs. In 2021 I was awarded an ESRC Open Call Grant as PI for a three year project, INTERACT (Investigating New Types of Engagement, Response and Contact Technologies in Policing) and I am a Co-I on the EPSRC funded 3PO project 'Protecting Public Facing Professionals Online'. I am also a Co-I on 'Researching and developing key components of a new Scottish Drug Checking service' and was an advisor on the Evaluation of the Police Carriage of Naloxone Pilot in Scotland.
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. In 2019 I delivered invited keynote /plenary presentations at the Flemish Centre for Policing and Security, the Catalan Institute of Security and the London Policing College. In addition to academic publications (in the European Journal of Criminology, Policing and Society etc.) I have written for The Conversation, been featured on TV by the BBC and STV, and quoted by the Washington Post, Financial Times and others..
I was co-lead for the the Governance Working Group in the European Police Stops COST Action (2018-2021). I have conducted research on stop and search in Scotland, and was an active member of Police Scotland’s National Stop Search Unit ‘Research, Evaluation and Operational Review Group’. 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.
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 2022 .
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 drug 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 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.