Elizabeth Aston

Elizabeth Aston

Dr Elizabeth Aston Director, Scottish Institute for Policing Research

Associate Professor

Biography

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.

Themes

Research Areas

Events

Esteem

Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Invited member of International Advisory Board of ESRC Vulnerability & Policing Futures Research Centre
  • Invited member of Police Scotland's Naloxone Delivery Steering Group
  • Invited member of NHS Health Scotland 's 'Public Health Approach to Justice' Monitoring and Evaluation Advisory Group for 'Rights Respect & Recovery'
  • Invited member of Police Scotland Drug Strategy Board
  • Chair of Independent Advisory Group on New and Emerging Technologies in Policing (appointed by Scottish Government)
  • Written submission to Justice Sub-Committee on Policing -parliamentary inquiry report on Facial Recognition, quoted 2020
  • Invited member of Operation TALLA Information Collation, Assurance and Liaison (OpTICAL) Function (Police Scotland)
  • Invited member of the Governance Board of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit
  • Invited member of Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland joint Research Forum
  • NSSU Stop and Search Reference Group member, Police Scotland
  • 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
  • Local Approaches to Policing Expert Reference Group, Police Scotland
  • Invited Program Committee member 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 Organising Activity

  • Police Foundation & SIPR Seminar five: the future police workforce
  • Chair of Police Foundation & SIPR Seminar three: ‘How do we get serious about crime and harm prevention?’
  • Police Foundation & SIPR Seminar four on Legitimacy and Public Confidence
  • Police Foundation & SIPR 'Policing in the 21st Century Seminar Series': seminar one on Organisational Reform
  • Co-organiser & discussant at Police Foundation and SIPR Seminar two on 'Police Governance in Scotland'
  • Organised & chaired panel on Police Stops at European Society of Criminology Conference 2020
  • Directed and Chaired SIPR Event on the Future of Policing (online 2020)
  • Hosted SIPR/ENU Webinar on deliberative democratic ideals with Dr Nick Bland
  • Director of the Scottish International Policing Conference 2019 on Digital Policing
  • Session organiser and Chair at Scottish International Policing Conference 2019 on Digital Policing
  • Organised and Chaired a Panel 'Governing police stops: a comparative approach' European Society of Criminology Conference, Ghent , September 2019
  • Invited panellist at Digital Justice Scotland 2018, in a session on innovative solutions for police forces, chaired by Henry McLeish, , 26th September 2018.
  • Session Chair and Organiser at Scottish International Policing Conference 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.
  • Co-Director with Inga Heyman of the Scottish International Policing Conference 2018 on Policing and Public Health
  • Co-organiser & contributor ‘Research into Practice’ SIPR-Police University College Finland (POLAMK) two-day event: day 1 Education, day 2 prevention, March 2018.
  • Program & Organising Committee International Law Enforcement and Public Health Conference 2019
  • 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.
  • Organised 'Power, Policy and Practice' A Research Showcasing Event for Social Sciences and Psychology. February 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

 

Editorial Activity

  • Lead editor for collection on Governing Police Stops Across Europe
  • Invited Series Editor for 'Palgrave's Critical Policing Studies'

 

External Examining/Validations

  • Invited External Examiner for PhD thesis University of Bath
  • Invited External Specialist, Northumbria University Approvals Panels for Graduate Diploma in Professional Policing Practice (DHEP) – Durham Constabulary & Northumbria Police
  • Invited External on Validation of Masters Policing Programme at Dutch Policing Academy

 

Fellowships and Awards

  • Fellowship of Higher Education Academy

 

Grant Funding Panel Member

  • Chair of SIPR Grant Award Panels (Small Grants, PhD Studentships etc.)
  • Scottish Justice Fellow applications (Scottish Government) Grant Review Panel

 

Grant Reviewer

  • Review of Scottish Justice Fellow applications (Scottish Government)
  • Review of SIPR Grants and PhD studentships
  • invited reviewer for ESRC End of Award and Impact Grants

 

Invited Speaker

  • Invited to speak about the Independent Advisory Group on Emerging Technologies in Policing at SPA/Police Scotland Joint Research and Evidence Forum event on Emerging Technologies in Policing
  • Invited plenary speaker 'organisational change & organisational justice' at Police Foundation seminar on the impact of organisational reform: Police Scotland eight years on
  • Invited keynote on 'Digital Justice' at Scottish Associate for the Study of Offending Conference 2021
  • Invited plenary speaker on 'Policing Academic Partnerships' at N8 Policing Research Partnership Conference 2020
  • Invited contribution to SPA/Police Scotland Joint Research & Evidence Forum Performance Benchmarking event
  • Invited Aston & McVie 'Current research & evidence using policing data & statistics' SPA/Police Scotland Joint Research & Evidence Forum Event on The use of policing data and statistics in public discourse
  • Invited to speak at the inaugural Postgraduate event at the International Law Enforcement and Public Health Conference, 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 keynote 'Legitimacy and Technology' at 'Street Policing in Smart Societies' Flemish Centre for Policing and Security 30th Anniversary Conference, Ghent, September 2019
  • Invited keynote speaker on 'Policing Research and Education in Scotland' at the International Police Education Conference, London Policing College, December 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
  • ‘Methods of visible policing & public confidence: a review of evidence’ invited presentation to Police Scotland’s Public Confidence Steering Group, 18th July 2018.
  • Invited to be a panellist at a RIO Researcher Skills Forum event on developing your career (2018)
  • Invited presentation 'Information Sharing and Community Policing in Europe: the Unity project' at the Stockholm Criminology Symposium 'Models for Successful Policing' in June 2018
  • Invited to present Unity in a session on 'Community Engagement' at the Canterbury Centre for Policing Research's Annual Conference 'Taming the Wicked: the Role of Partnerships' in June 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 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 guest lecture ‘Community Policing in Europe: Unity’ at Northumbria University
  • 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

  • Naloxone in Police Scotland Evaluation Report featured in print editions of the Herald, the Times, Scottish Daily Mail, 18th February 2022
  • Naloxone evaluation report featured online in BBC, STV, Independent, Mail Online, Police Professional, Glasgow Times, The National, Belfast Telegraph, This is Local London, Planet Radio, North Edinburgh News 18th February 2022
  • The Scotsman & Evening News features reporting on new ESRC grant INTEARCT awarded to Liz Aston as PI, 11th February 2021
  • digit.fyi featured new ESRC project INTERACT awarded to Aston as PI, 12th February 2021
  • 'Police administer anti-overdose drug just two hours after completing training' Police Carriage of Naloxone Research mentioned in Evening Telegraph, Herald, STV, BBC Online, Evening Express, Clyde One, Police Life Scotland, BBC Scotland News, Glasgow Life, Head Topics, 11 March
  • Washington Post -Aston quoted in: 'Defund the police? Other countries have narrowed their role and boosted other services' 14th June 2020
  • The Scottish Sun: Aston central commentator in an exploration of potential crime issues under lockdown conditions 5th April 2020 pg. 8 & online
  • BBC World Service Radio Interview on 'Community policing: a more holistic approach to law enforcement', 10th June 2020
  • The Herald featured Liz Aston's appointment as chair of new independent advisory group, 11th September 2020
  • 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.
  • Quoted in Edinburgh Evening News ‘Cyber Sex Crimes on the Rise Across Edinburgh’ by Andy Shipley 23rd November 2018.
  • Commonspace ‘Suppression of draft reports alleging corruption in Police Scotland indicative of lack of accountability, expert says’ [Liz Aston quoted 1st May 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.
  • Financial Times Liz Aston quoted in 'Police Scotland chief constable faces new probe’ 31st January
  • Edinburgh Evening News ‘Drunkenness blamed over surge in city rape reports’ [Liz Aston quoted], 29 May 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,
  • The Scotsman, ‘Police stop and search should be “last resort”’, 19 June 2015
  • BBC News, ‘Report says stop-and-search should be “last resort”’, 19 June 2015,
  • The Herald, ‘Nicola Sturgeon urged to take action on stop and search’, 25 June 2015,
  • The Herald, ‘Experts criticise promotion in schools of police stop and search’, 19 June 2015,
  • The Herald, ‘Lib Dems question police stop-and-search schools project’, 7 August 2015,

 

Membership of Professional Body

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

 

Non-executive Directorship

  • Director of Scottish Institute for Policing Research

 

Public/Community Engagement

  • Organised 'Improving the Governance & Practice of Police Stops' workshop online with international audience (pracititioners, academics & public)
  • Organised and presented at SIPR & DRNS) Knowledge Exchange event on Approaches to Policing of Drugs
  • Invited panelist 'Seizing the Future: Police Scotland's powers to seize and examine electronic devices'' Open Rights Group Scotland Conference, October, 2019
  • Invited presentation at Soroptimists Dunfermline for International Women’s day 2019 to 100+ members of the public.
  • Invited interview on Visible Policing Podcast (2019)

 

Reviewing

  • Contemporary Drug Problems peer reviewer
  • 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


61 results

Research Briefing on the policing and legal challenges of the proposed drug checking services in Scotland

Report
Falzon, D., Aston, E., Carver, H., & Parkes, T. (2022)
Research Briefing on the policing and legal challenges of the proposed drug checking services in Scotland. Scottish Government

Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: Stop and Search case study (in 'Scotland's Research Contribution to National and International Challenges')

Report
Aston, E. (2022)
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: Stop and Search case study (in 'Scotland's Research Contribution to National and International Challenges'). Edinburgh: Scottish Funding Council

Naloxone In Police Scotland: Pilot evaluation

Report
Hillen, P., Speakman, E., Dougall, N., Heyman, I., Murray, J., Jamieson, M., …McAuley, A. (2022)
Naloxone In Police Scotland: Pilot evaluation. Edinburgh: Drug Deaths Taskforce, Scottish Government
This report describes the independent findings of an evaluation of a Police Scotland test of change (pilot) of the carriage and administration of naloxone as an emergency firs...

‘Virtual policing’, trust and legitimacy

Book Chapter
Bradford, B., Aston, E., O'Neill, M., & Wells, H. (2022)
‘Virtual policing’, trust and legitimacy. In J. Terpstra, R. Salet, & N. R. Fyfe (Eds.), The Abstract Police: Critical reflections on contemporary change in police organisations (213-238). Eleven International Publishing
Increasing technological mediation of police-public contact is a significant trend in UK policing. Members of the public are increasingly likely to encounter policing in ways ...

Newly Recruited Research Fellow – Estelle Clayton – Completes the INTERACT Team

Other
Clayton, E., & Aston, E. (2022)
Newly Recruited Research Fellow – Estelle Clayton – Completes the INTERACT Team. [Blog post]

Technology and Police Legitimacy

Book Chapter
Aston, E., Wells, H., Bradford, B., & O’Neill, M. (2022)
Technology and Police Legitimacy. In A. Verhage, M. Easton, & S. De Kimpe (Eds.), Policing in Smart Societies (43-68). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-83685-6_4
Through a consideration of the use of mobile devices by the police and the public, this chapter explores some of the potential issues raised by the incorporation of technology...

Evidence submission on 'Policing of drugs in Scotland' to Criminal Justice Committee session on the criminal justice aspects of drugs

Other
Aston, E. (2021)
Evidence submission on 'Policing of drugs in Scotland' to Criminal Justice Committee session on the criminal justice aspects of drugs. [https://www.parliament.scot/~/media/committ/1208]
In this brief submission I will focus mainly on evidence pertinent to the policing and drugs in Scotland but I will also endeavour to begin address some of the key topics whic...

Information sharing in community policing in Europe: building public confidence

Journal Article
Aston, L., O'Neill, M., Hail, Y., & Wooff, A. (in press)
Information sharing in community policing in Europe: building public confidence. European Journal of Criminology, https://doi.org/10.1177/14773708211037902
The literature on the importance of procedural justice in policing is extensive. Using the context of information sharing in community policing, this paper argues that interac...

The Scottish Institute For Policing Research Annual Report 2020-21

Report
Aston, E., & Boyle, M. (2021)
The Scottish Institute For Policing Research Annual Report 2020-21. Edinburgh: Scottish Institue for Policing Research

Vulnerability assessment across the frontline of law enforcement and public health: a systematic review

Journal Article
Enang, I., Murray, J., Dougall, N., Aston, E., Wooff, A., Heyman, I., & Grandison, G. (in press)
Vulnerability assessment across the frontline of law enforcement and public health: a systematic review. Policing and Society, https://doi.org/10.1080/10439463.2021.1927025
Assessing vulnerability is an international priority area across law enforcement and public health (LEPH). Most contacts with frontline law enforcement professions now relate ...

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