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CIRN Research Impact

The Criminal Investigation Research Network (CIRN), led by Professor Fiona Brookman, aims to advance and share knowledge on the theory and practice of criminal investigation with a particular focus upon homicide and major crime investigation.  For this reason, we conduct research which generates the evidence to inform and transform policy and practice nationally and internationally. 

Our qualitative research with practitioners provides us with first-hand insights into the everyday difficulties faced by major crime investigators (and those with whom they work) in successfully investigating serious crimes, such as homicide.  Our research findings and outputs are providing evidence-based solutions to these challenges, helping police and other agencies to investigate major crime more effectively and efficiently.

The research outputs of CIRN have shaped policy and investigative practice.  For example, our research underpins the training and development of all UK Senior Investigating Officers and continues to inform the ‘Murder Investigation Manual’.  Our research has also influenced policing practice internationally, in Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Our research has resulted in

  • Revisions to national CCTV strategies and training
  • The development (with the Home Office) of forensic science impact measures 
  • The redirection of funds towards digital-forensic work
  • Improvements in quality and timeliness of data held on the Home Office Homicide Index 
  • Changes in government policy and practice in responding to gang and knife crime  
  • Improvements in knowledge and practice in homicide investigation internationally

Impact areas


Impact on Homicide Investigation

Our research has assisted police, forensic scientists, digital forensic practitioners and policy-makers in the investigation of homicide. Read more...

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Preventing Homicide and Knife Crime

Our research is influencing UK government debate on how best to reduce and prevent knife crime and homicide. Read more...

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International Impacts

Our research is shaping investigative policy and practice internationally. Read more...


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Professor Fiona Brookman has over 20 years of experience in teaching and research in the fields of policing, violence and homicide. 

Using mainly qualitative research methods, her research focuses on the dynamics and causes of homicide and violence, violence prevention and the investigation of homicide.  

She has extensive experience of conducting in-depth interviews with violent offenders and of interviewing and shadowing homicide detectives and forensic scientists (in Britain and America). 

Fiona is Director of the Criminal Investigation Research Network (CIRN), a member of a Home Office Expert Advisory Panel on Serious Violence Policy and invited member of the National Police Chiefs' Council Transforming Digital Forensic Research Working Group.

Contact Professor Fiona Brookman

Dr Helen Jones, CIRN, Criminology

Dr Helen Jones joined USW as a Research Fellow in January 2015. Prior to this, she worked for Leicestershire Police for over twelve years, which included, most recently, four years as a Review Officer, reviewing undetected homicides, stranger rapes and long-term missing persons. 

Her research interests include homicide, major crime investigation and policing, with a focus on qualitative research methods. She has experience of conducting in-depth interviews with homicide detectives, forensic scientists and digital experts, and has observed several live homicide investigations, from crime scene through to court 

Helen is an invited member of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) CCTV Working Group and the NPCC Transforming Forensics Digital Forensic Research Working Group.

Contact Dr Helen Jones