Research themes

We conduct research in all areas of criminology. This includes research in the following areas:

Analytic criminology

Recent advances in mathematical analysis and data science methods are opening up new exciting directions in criminology and policing. This research area is a melding of computational Bayesian methods, continuum and agent-based modelling, and nonlinear analysis.

Our research projects are addressing:

  • Theoretical reasons for crime hotspot formation.
  • Computationally efficient Bayesian methods to incorporate police crime data to self-exciting criminal behavioural models.
  • Uncovering covert network structure.
  • The development of algorithms to assist in the prioritisation of police resources to high harm domestic violence offenders.

Issues in criminal justice

We conduct research on all areas of the criminal justice system. In policing, we have a long history of collaboration with the British Police and been involved in recent projects addressing:

  • Police officer injury.
  • Police use of social media.
  • Impact of retirement from the police service.
  • Implementation of problem-oriented policing across the UK.
  • Effective strategies in reducing crime as part of the College of Policing's 'What Works Centre for Crime Reduction’.
  • Responses to victimisation involving a focus on youth and hate crime.
  • Governance of crime prevention in England and Wales and Italy.
  • Analysis of illicit and unregulated markets, with reference to drugs and organised crime.
  • Prisoner experiences of legitimacy and quality of life.
  • The effects of youth imprisonment on caregivers.
  • Women's experiences of food in prison

We also research addressing court systems and outcomes, with projects looking at:

  • How victims are treated by the police, Crown Prosecution Service and courts, once their case progresses.
  • Potential of video enabled justice.
  • Assessing the implementation of new digital and video technology in magistrates’ courts and police custody suites including: a new digital booking tool designed to identify and reduce time gaps between cases; and the installation of new video technology in police custody suites.
  • The Court Reform Programme alongside the Ministry of Justice.
  • Sentencing consistency across the courts in England and Wales, examining the impacts of new sentencing guidelines, disparities between judges, and identifying new approaches to measure consistent practice.

Technology crime and control

We are interested in understanding and evidencing the growing impacts of technology, not just upon offending, but the criminal justice process as a whole.

Current research is focused upon several thematic areas:

  • Developing a more sophisticated understanding of digital or cybercrime and more effective responses to this including:
    • The creation of an international working group on cybercrime aimed at setting out new cybercrime research methods for the coming decade
    • Working with the Surrey Centre for Cyber Security on mapping and responding to the emerging phenomenon of Cloud based offending
    • Research into the nature and form of organised crime online.
  • Creating a more comprehensive approach to technology crime and control, in order to extend understanding beyond the use and misuse of digital technologies.
  • Analysis of the implications of automation for crime and its control i.e. algorithmic-based crime prevention tools.
  • Developing new frameworks for more effective handling of technology dependent evidence in the courtroom.