Francesca Menichelli

Dr Francesca Menichelli

Lecturer in Criminology
PhD in Urban Studies, Universita' di Milano-Bicocca, FHEA
+44 (0)1483 686965
30 AD 03
Office: Mon: 1-3 pm; Teams: Wed: 9:30-10:30 am

Academic and research departments

Department of Sociology.


University roles and responsibilities

  • Athena SWAN Lead

    Affiliations and memberships

    Academic networks


      Research interests


      Postgraduate research supervision



      In recent years, individuals suffering from severe and multiple disadvantage (SMD) have become an explicit target for policy and a new wave of partnerships bringing together the police, local authorities, mental health and social care with third sector organisation has been trying to develop new ways of supporting them. This paper focuses on one of these partnerships and reconstructs how the Covid-19 outbreak impacted on efforts to embed responsiveness, participation and equity into the governance structure of the newly-established partnership. An advisory group bringing together individuals with personal experience of SMD was involved in the identification of the priorities to be pursued. However, the first lockdown and the requirement to house all rough sleepers forced the partnership to abandon them to focus on housing. Complications also emerged in attempts made to embed participation in the work of the partnership, as the peer mentors involved lacked the skills and resources necessary to embrace new forms of remote working. Finally, the unexpected depth of the needs in the client group also raised unforeseen complications in terms of how to allocate available support equitably. The case study offers two lessons: first, police can play a strategic role at the local level in tackling vulnerability and disadvantage; second, police and health partnerships need to be considered in terms of their commitment to democratic values, not just their effectiveness. The paper concludes by offering some broader considerations on the intersection between policing and public health in light of the pandemic

      Francesca Menichelli (2014)Technology, context, users: a conceptual model of CCTV, In: Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management37(2)pp. 389-403 Emerald

      Purpose The purpose of this paper is to challenge the traditional placement of CCTV within the realm of crime prevention technologies and to propose a conceptualisation of surveillance cameras that takes into account how different elements interact to shape how these are understood, defined and used in the day-to-day practices of the police. Design/methodology/approach Methodologically, the research draws on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in two medium-sized Italian cities where open-street CCTV systems have been recently implemented and is based on a combination of non-participant observations and interviews with police officers in both forces. Findings Overall, two main findings emerge from the fieldwork. First, cameras are rarely used and not for reasons pertaining to crime control; rather, they have become a tool for the efficient management of scarce policing resources, with particular emphasis on the co-ordination and real-time tracking of patrolling personnel. Second, this shift is understood in radically different ways by officers in the two cities, so that what is experienced as a benign form of peer-to-peer co-ordination in Central City becomes a form of undue surveillance on the part of higher ranks in Northern City. Originality/value The value of the present work is twofold. On one hand, it provides relevant information to police practitioners on how organisational and structural factors impact on the use of surveillance cameras in policing. On the other, embracing the idea that CCTV is constructed through the interaction of several distinct, yet related, processes can explain why the same technology is implemented, defined and used in different ways in comparable organisations.

      Francesca Menichelli (2013)Rearranging Urban Space, In: International Journal of E-Planning Research2(4)pp. 13-26 IGI Global

      This article investigates what happens to urban space once an open-street CCTV system is implemented, framing the analysis in terms of the wider struggle that unfolds between different urban stakeholders for the definition of acceptability in public space. It is argued that, while the use of surveillance cameras was initially seen as functional to the enforcement of tighter control and to the de-complexification of urban space so as to make policing easier, a shift has now taken place in the articulation of this goal. As a result, it has slowly progressed to affect the wider field of sociability, with troubling consequences for the public character of public space. In light of this development, the article concludes by making the case for a normative stance to be taken in order to increase fairness and diversity in the city.

      Francesca Menichelli (2019)Governing through vulnerability in austerity England, In: European Journal of Criminologypp. 1-18 SAGE Publications

      Drawing on interviews with practitioners, the article reconstructs how and why vulnerability has become an organising principle in community safety work in England and Wales. Decreasing crime rates, growing awareness of risk and harm, loss of political salience of volume crime and modifications to the structure of incentives all contributed to making the move away from crime and disorder possible. The paper shows how vulnerability is now used to facilitate partnership working to maintain existing levels of service provision, but also to ration the amount of support made available to citizens at a time of austerity. This is potentially problematic and open questions remain on the solidity, orientation and reach of this shift. The article concludes by discussing the research findings in light of their broader implications for European criminology and comparative research.

      Francesca Menichelli (2018)Italy, In: Bruce A. Arrigo (eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Surveillance, Security, and Privacy SAGE Publications

      Dating as far back as the mid-1990s, when British scholars started to question the spread of surveillance cameras in their country, studies on CCTV has become one of the most established areas of enquiry in Surveillance Studies. We now know that the gaze of cameras is far from neutral and suspicion is socially constructed to reflect the assumptions of those manning the system (Norris and Armstrong 1999), that operators develop strategies to ease the burden of long working hours when, for the most part, not much happens so that cameras are not watched at all times (Smith 2004), and that the use of CCTV for preventing access to public space to specific categories of undesirables is common in several European countries (Mork Lomell 2004; Fonio 2007). What the works mentioned above share with countless others is the belief that cameras negatively impact on the individual’s right to privacy in public space and that, as such, the exponential growth in the diffusion of open-street CCTV systems signals a progressive shift towards a more and more controlled society.

      The PRISMS project analyses the traditional trade-off model between security and privacy and devises a more evidence-based perspective for reconciling security, privacy and trust. It examines how technologies aimed at enhancing security are subjecting citizens to an increasing amount of security measures and, in many cases, causing infringements of privacy and fundamental rights. It conducts both a multidisciplinary inquiry into the concepts of security and privacy and their relationships and a EU-wide survey to determine whether or not people evaluate the introduction of security technologies in terms of a trade-off. As a result, the project determines the factors that affect the public assessment of the security and privacy implications of a given security technology. The project has used these results to devise a decision support system providing users (those who deploy and operate security systems) insight into the pros and cons, constraints and limits of specific security investments compared to alternatives taking into account a wider society context. The criminological work package (WP4) included within PRISMS aims to contribute in two significant ways to the general remit of the overall project. As outlined in deliverable 4.1, the first goal was to arrive to a formulation of a conceptualisation of the notions of security and privacy from a criminological perspective that could be and were used to provide input for the development of the survey, its concepts, questions and hypotheses. The second objective of WP4 was the contextualisation of the results of the survey in light of a qualitative research case study conducted at Brussels airport, in order to further feed with its insights the development of the decision support system, one of the final outcomes of the project. The latter is what is detailed in the present deliverable. The main goal of the second research task of WP4 is to explore citizens’ attitudes and evaluations of security. This means that our leading question is: How do people experience securityprivacy practices or situations? To get insight people’s experiences with security practices we can only rely on how people frame and account (narrate) these experiences and events. Accounts or narratives are tools that individuals use in a sort of radical reflexivity connecting actions and accounts.1 As announced in the work package description, a qualitative case study can precisely focus on the analysis of accounts or narratives concerning the experience of participants of security practices. That way we can access how participants make sense of the situation they are part of. This deliverable is structured as follows: first, we will discuss the Brussels airport case study afterwards, we will shortly evoke the normative framework for aviation security in place before and after 9/11; then we will very briefly describe the governance of this field, with particular emphasis on the Belgian case. Finally, we will present the main empirical findings of our qualitative study, which will be used as the basis for the conclusions advanced in the final section of the report.

      Francesca Menichelli (2018)New Penology, In: Bruce A. Arrigo (eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Surveillance, Security, and Privacy SAGE Publications
      Francesca Menichelli (2018)Sovereignty, In: Bruce A. Arrigo (eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Surveillance, Security, and Privacy SAGE Publications
      Francesca Menichelli (2018)Transforming the English model of community safety: from crime and disorder to the safeguarding of vulnerable people, In: Criminology & Criminal Justice SAGE Publications

      The literature on the English model of community safety describes it as being centrally directed, situational in nature, focused on ASB and incivilities and not concerned with measures of social crime prevention. Based on an analysis of the community safety plans issued by English and Welsh local authorities between 2010 and 2014, this paper argues that such a characterisation is no longer accurate. Partnerships in England and Wales are now free from central oversight, and increasingly focused on safeguarding. In light of the work they do in support of vulnerable populations, and their role within the changing governance of England, more attention should be paid to them.

      Francesca Menichelli (2018)Foucault, Michel, In: Bruce A. Arrigo (eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Surveillance, Security, and Privacy SAGE Publications

      Which public and whose space? The understanding of public space as an arena where individuals can claim full use and access hides a reality of constant negotiation, conflict and surveillance. This collection uses case studies concerning the management, use, and transgression of public space to invite reflection on the way in which everyday social interaction is framed and shaped by the physical environment and vice versa. International experts from fields including geography, criminology, sociology and urban studies come together to debate the concepts of order and conflict in public space.

      Rob Kitchin’s latest book is an important addition to the emerging field of critical data studies, in that it manages to both make a clear, convincing and reasonably detailed case for why it is necessary to look critically at what data are—and, just as crucially, what they do in the world—and provide stimulating insights and suggestions for further research in this area. Kitchin’s central claim is that we are in the midst of a revolution that is radically changing how data are produced, managed, stored and analysed, with far reaching implications for governments, businesses, civil society and science. The book charts the data revolution currently underway, providing in the process a conceptual and critical analysis of data and their modes of production and use.

      Francesca Menichelli (2017)Beyond the Trade-off between Privacy and Security? Organisational Routines and Individual Strategies at the Security Check, In: Michael Friedewald, J. Peter Burgess, Johann Čas, Rocco Bellanova, Walter Peissl (eds.), Surveillance, Privacy and Security. Citizens´ Perspectivespp. 91-104 Institute of Technology Assessment of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

      In his Collège de France lectures of the late 1970s, Foucault (2010) identifies the control over mobility as one of the crucial problems of government. Essentially, as the target of government shifted from the individual to the population, a new political rationality emerged, that identified the management of this aggregate as a problem. This allowed for two imperatives – increased prosperity of the state and the maintenance of peace and internal order – to be mutually satisfied. However, while the growing economic interdependency has globally pushed towards greater facilitation of both trade and travel – as witnessed in the opening of borders through agreements such as Schengen in Europe and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) in North America – a contrasting appeal to security, calling for the tightening of security measures, has increasingly emerged.

      Francesca Menichelli (2013)The national picture: The reconfiguration of sovereignty, the normalization of emergency and the rise to prominence of urban security in Italy, In: European Journal of Criminology12(3)pp. 263-276 SAGE Publications

      This paper argues that in Italy the notion of urban security is being used to shift sovereignty from national to local authorities. This has been made possible thanks to the political and legislative processes taking place in the country in the past decade, which have opened up a space of autonomy where local authorities could play a proactive role in the provision of security to citizens. This is exemplified by the flows of public funding that have been made available for security-related projects throughout the country. Finally, the article concludes by arguing that the spread of concerns over the security of Italian cities has not automatically led to the securitization of urban space in Italian cities.

      Francesca Menichelli (2018)Theories of surveillance, In: Bruce A. Arrigo (eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Surveillance, Security, and Privacy SAGE Publications