Research at the Department of Criminology
In the Department of Criminology at Leicester we have created a vibrant research culture and received over £10 million in research funding from a wide range of bodies including the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Our principal aims over the next few years are to continue to develop a programme of high-quality research and published output, and to continue strengthening the Department’s status as an international centre of excellence. All academic staff within the Department of Criminology have published extensively in their fields of expertise and many are recognised internationally as leaders in their fields.
We have representatives on the editorial boards of many of the foremost journals in criminology, including: the British Journal of Criminology, Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal, Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Security Journal and Prison Service Journal. In addition, we pride ourselves on working with professional practitioners and policy makers throughout the criminal justice system and the private sector in order to promote rich research data and new insights, and to influence what happens in practice.
Areas of Interest
The Department has internationally recognised strengths in three overarching areas of research:
- Penology e.g. Jennifer Fleetwood’s research on prisons in Ecuador and on sentencing of drug mules; Sam King’s current research on desistance and offenders’ experience of probation;and Rob Mawby’s ESRC study of probation officer culture.
- Policing e.g. Rebecca Barnes’ collaboration with Notts. Police and Crime Commissioner on support services for victims of domestic abuse; Matt Hopkins’ research on policing football matches and the implementation of banning orders; Rob Mawby’s Leverhulme funded work on police, media and public life; and Lisa Smith’s research on several aspects of forensic evidence in policing.
- Security, risk and loss e.g. Adrian Beck and Matt Hopkins are leading an ESRC project co-funded by Asda, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s on the implications of mobile scanning on theft.
In addition to these long-recognised areas of expertise, developing areas of research within the Department include:
- Hate Crime Leicester has become the leading centre in the UK for research in this area. The Leicester Centre for Hate Studies is led by Neil Chakraborti, assisted by Stevie-Jade Hardy, and builds on the success of the previously established Partnership Against Targeted Hate (PATH) research network. Regional partners in this ground-breaking research initiative include Leicestershire and Northants Police; NHS; Victim Support; Crown Prosecution Service; Leicestershire County Council; HMPs Leicester and Gartree and Glen Parva YOI. Neil has been awarded several grants to investigate hate crime, including an ESRC award of £295,000 and £45,000 from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He is also Co-Investigator on the EC funded ‘Hate Speech and Populist Othering through the Racism, Age, Gender Looking Glass – RAGE’ (€1,200,500).
- Forensic Science. In partnership with colleagues from the Departments of Chemistry, Engineering and the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit, Lisa Smith has established the Alec Jeffreys Forensic Science Institute, has successfully bid for over €2m for an EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network, and has conducted ground-breaking research on the effectiveness of forensic evidence recovery from crime scenes; while Tammy Ayres has conducted cutting-edge research on novel psychoactive substances and legal highs.
- Extremes of Human Cruelty. Sarah Hodgkinson has drawn together academics, practitioners and other parties interested in human evil and cruelty. Honorary Visiting Fellow Rex Bloomstein’s donation of a documentary film archive containing all his films on prisoners and prisoners of conscience, human rights abuses, war crimes and the Holocaust, was instrumental in setting up the research network in 2013 and are proving a valuable resource for a variety of research activities.
- Gender, Crime and Justice. Jennifer Fleetwood and Clare Gunby are leading on an initiative emerging from the complementary research interests of recently-appointed and established staff, which particularly benefits from the involvement of two leading international experts in the field, Prof Jo Phoenix and Honorary Prof Pat Carlen. This research grouping brings together work being conducted right across the Department, including: on women’s sentencing, custody and alternatives to prison (Jennifer Fleetwood, Clare Gunby, Pat Carlen); gender-based violence (Rebecca Barnes, Clare Gunby, Sarah Hodgkinson); family intervention (Sarah Hodgkinson) the commercialisation and criminalisation of sexually exploited young people (Clare Gunby, Jo Phoenix); prostitution (Jo Phoenix); gender transgression (Mark Connor); masculinities (Mark Connor, Sam King); gender, conflict and security (Eleanor Gordon); and feminist research methods (Pat Carlen, Jennifer Fleetwood, Jo Phoenix, Sarah Hodgkinson).
- Building Security and Justice after Conflict: Eleanor Gordon is engaged in research on efforts to build security and justice in post-conflict environments. Her research focusses on hybrid approaches to peacebuilding, incorporating community engagement and statebuilding endeavours. Her research focus also includes Security Sector Reform and local ownership; the gender dimensions of armed conflict and peacebuilding; and ways in which to bridge the gap between academia, policy development and the field. Research projects also engage and draw on the expertise of the 70-member Panel of Experts of the Security, Conflict and International Development programme.
For details of staff research interests and areas in which they would be able to supervise doctoral students see individual staff members’ pages.
We welcome applications from good prospective PhD students who will join a thriving postgraduate community within the Department. For more information please visit our research degrees page.
Next step: View a selection of our current projects