The Centre for Criminology comprises a team of active researchers and research students with specialisms in homicide and violence, youth justice and youth policy, policing, drug use, green, global and transnational criminology, crime prevention, animal abuse, informal justice and alternatives to prosecution and imprisonment.
We adopt an eclectic approach to studying crime and the criminal justice system including large scale online surveys, in-depth interviews, systematic literature reviews, focus groups, observations, narrative and visual criminology and ethnographic research.
The Centre for Criminology has a well-established interest in youth justice research (Williams, Wardak, Deering, Evans and Pierpoint). There is particular emphasis on how research findings can be applied to policy and practice in such areas as desistance, diversion, children’s rights, restorative justice and homelessness. The Centre also has a long history of research on the probation service and related areas such as the third sector and criminal justice system working with the UK and Welsh governments, a range of third sector organisations and studies with probation practitioners (Clancy, Deering, Maguire and Pierpoint). In 2018/19 we published research on probation practice and cultural values and ‘Through the Gate’ services, amongst others. Staff enjoy close working relationships with policy makers, managers and practitioners in the fields of probation and youth justice. Dr Harriet Pierpoint is the Chair of the British Society of Criminology Regional Groups and Specialist Networks Committee and co-chair of its Vulnerability Research Network.
We are known internationally for our research on homicide and violence and, in particular, our ethnographic research in this area. We undertake research on the patterns and causes of homicide and violence (Brookman), preventing violence (Brookman & Maguire) and the police investigation of homicide (Brookman and Jones; Allsop. Our research includes studies of the police investigation of homicide in the USA (Brookman) and Trinidad and Tobago (Clancy and Brookman) as well as cold cases, no-body murders, miscarriages of justice and sexual violence (Allsop). We have close working relationships with police and forensic scientists across Britain, and engage detectives in both our research and teaching. We are invited members of Home Office and Police Advisory Boards and have recently taken part in the Prime Ministers Serious Youth Violence Summit and given evidence to the Youth Select Committee Inquiry on knife crime (Brookman). We are members of The Criminal Investigation Research Network (CIRN) (Chaired by Brookman) and collaborate with academics around the world. Violence, Homicide, Investigation & Prevention Expertise & Research (VHIPER) brings together members from the Centre for Criminology with research expertise in violence and homicide including its patterns and causes, its investigation and how it might be prevented.
The Centre for Criminology has a lively and interesting group of academics working in this area. Traditionally the emphasis has been on global and transnational issues in criminal justice, particularly in the area of alternative or hybrid models of criminal justice (Wardak). This research has been used by governments and is recognised by international bodies such as the Council of Europe (ECHR). Young international academics are extending the work (PhD, Baffero with Williams and Wardak). International aspects now also consider the resolution of issues faced by displaced peoples and refugees (Williams and Wardak) and the problems of international terrorism (PhD by Nawabi with Williams and Wardak). More recently the Centre has also built an internationally renowned name for working in the newer areas of environmental crime and animal abuse (Maher and Pierpoint). Maher is working closely with the United Nations Expert Group on Wildlife Crime, the European Union, UK Governments and key NGOs to raise awareness and improve responses to these issues.
Researchers also focus on both state and non-state responses to crime, including policing and criminal justice. Current research includes police recognition of national guidelines during public order policing (Harrison), the governance of policing, including devolution, and the increasing demands on the police that are non-crime related (Chambers), as well as the role of the voluntary sector in criminal justice (Maguire and Williams). Through such research, we have developed close working relationships with police forces and relevant policy makers. We also have close links with local prisons, and conduct research on strategies for maintaining relationships between prisoners and their children and families (Clancy and Maguire). Research outputs include academic journal articles and books, as well as written evidence to government inquiries.
The Substance Use Research Group (SURG) was formed in 2019 to carry out high-quality research into the consumption of drugs and alcohol, and involvement in other addictive behaviours such as gambling. Led by Professor Katy Holloway, the team is made of academic researchers with expertise in current and emerging issues in substance use, including harm reduction interventions, substance use and the criminal justice system, students and substance use, and alcohol and drug policy. The group have previously secured funding for research in Wales from the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Welsh Government and Clinks. This research has generated a range of high quality publications including books, journal papers and official reports that continue to develop Wales’ evidence base on substance use issues, including drug treatment and intervention. The group’s current research includes the potential impact of Minimum Unit Pricing on substance switching, the misuse and diversion of Prescription Only and Over-the-Counter medication, and drug and alcohol use among university students.
Our Criminology PhD cohort is both international and multi-disciplinary. On a global scale, Kanishka Nawabi uses the multilevel-multicausal research methodology to understand the causes and motivations of suicide terrorism campaigns in Afghanistan. Paolo Baffero conducts research on Bolivian non-state justice and on its broader relevance to restorative justice. More locally, our research focuses on homicide, homelessness, youth justice and the police. Grace Boughton investigates multi-agency reviews, specifically Domestic Homicide Reviews and Child [Safeguarding] Practice Reviews. Jennifer Holmes researches police interviews of vulnerable homicide suspects and the impact of third parties upon this process. In Wales, Sarah Bradbeer investigates the criminalisation of homelessness and social exclusion, while Heddwen Daniel and Zoe Cross focus on youth justice. Heddwen is looking at the impact of Welsh Government policy on breach decision-making by Youth Offending Teams, while Zoe concentrates on desistance from youth offending; looking at factors, processes, barriers and working relationships.