Dr Matt Tonkin

Associate Professor in CriminologyDr Matthew Tonkin

Contact details

Personal details

I joined the School of Criminology in 2016, having previously worked as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Birmingham City University. Prior to this, I worked as a Research Assistant in the Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder Unit based within Rampton High Secure Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.

My academic qualifications include a BSc in Psychology, an MSc in Forensic Psychology and a PhD (on crime linkage) from the University of Leicester.


  • Doing Criminological Research (Undergraduate)
  • Investigative Psychology (Undergraduate)
  • Legal Psychology and Offender Rehabilitation (Undergraduate)

Administrative responsibilities

  • Director of Research



  • Investigative psychology and crime analysis
  • Prisons and forensic psychiatric hospital settings

I have conducted research on a range of topics within investigative psychology, including offender profiling, geographical profiling and crime linkage. For example, I'm one of the founding members of the Crime Linkage International Network (C-LINK), which is a group of academics and police practitioners from seven countries that was set up with support from the Leverhulme Trust. The aim of the network is to conduct research that enhances the evidence base for crime linkage. For more information on the work of C-LINK, visit our website.

I have also conducted a wide range of research in partnership with various prison and forensic healthcare providers, including research on prison bullying, the use of novel psychoactive substances in prison, art and drama therapy in prison settings, offence paralleling behaviour, aggression and self-harm.

I am also particularly interested in social climate, treatment readiness and offender motivation. For example, I led the first multi-site validation study in England of the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES), which is a short questionnaire designed to measure the social climate in prisons and forensic psychiatric hospital settings. I also co-authored the first statistical manual of the EssenCES with Dr Norbert Schalast (the measure’s developer).

→ Buy a copy of the manual

Research Funding

2021: Catching serial sex offenders through crime analytics: Project 1. (Co-applicant) (Home Office, Research Project Grant, £120,000).

2020: Learning from the impact of and recovery from COVID-19 within prisons: The effect of COVID-19 management and the environment on wellbeing and harm. (Co-applicant) (ESRC, Research Project Grant, £314,331).

2018: Crime linkage with residential burglary: Understanding and enhancing police decision-making. (Sole applicant) (British Academy/Leverhulme, Trust Small Research Grants, £9,230).

2018: Impact evaluation of digital technology in prisons. (Co-applicant) (Ministry of Justice, £117,420).

2015: Using behavioural science to target prolific criminals. (Co-applicant) (British Academy 2016 Conferences Programme, typical conference costs covered £21,000).

2014: Linking acquisitive crime using crime scene behaviour. (Co-applicant) (British Psychological Society Research Seminars Competition, £3,000).

2013: Exploring the use of Mokken scaling and Bayesian analysis in behavioural case linkage with volume crimes. (Sole applicant) (British Academy, Skills Acquisition Award, £5,016.24).

2012: Detecting Serial Offenders: C-LINK (Crime Linkage International NetworK) (Co-applicant) (The Leverhulme Trust, International Networks Grant, £80,276).


I am happy to accept applications to supervise PhDs on topics relating to:

  • Policing
  • Offender crime scene behaviour
  • Investigative psychology
  • Police decision-making and crime analysis (particularly offender profiling, behavioural investigative advice, geographical profiling and crime linkage)
  • Prisons and forensic psychiatric hospitals
  • Offender rehabilitation and treatment readiness

Selected Publications

Tonkin, M., & Weeks, M. J. (2021). Crime linkage practice in New Zealand. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice.

Palmer, E. J., Hatcher, R. M., & Tonkin, M. J. (2020). Evaluation of digital technology in prisons. Ministry of Justice Analytical Series, Ministry of Justice, London, UK.

Burrell, A., & Tonkin, M. (2020). Property crime: Criminological and psychological perspectives. London: Routledge.

Tonkin, M., Lemeire, J., Santtila, P., & Winter, J. M. (2019). Linking property crime using offender crime scene behaviour: A comparison of methods. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 16, 75-90.

Woodhams, J., Tonkin, M., Burrell, A., Imre, H., Winter, J. M., Lam, E. K. M. … Santtila, P. (2019). Linking serial sex offences: Moving towards an ecologically valid test of the principles of crime linkage. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 24, 123-140.

Walker, E., Egan, H., Jackson, C., & Tonkin, M. (2018). Work-life and wellbeing in UK therapeutic prison officers: A thematic analysis. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 62, 4528-4544.

Robinson, J., Craig, L. A., & Tonkin, M. (2018). Perceptions of social climate and aggressive behaviour in forensic services: A systematic review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 19, 391-405.

Bell, N., Tonkin, M., Chester, V., & Craig, L. (2018). Adapting measures of social climate for use with individuals with intellectual developmental disability in forensic settings. Psychology, Crime and Law, 24, 362-378.

Craven, R., & Tonkin, M. (2017). Negative relating styles of learning-disabled and non-learning-disabled offenders. Journal of Forensic Practice, 19, 198-206.

Tonkin, M., Pakkanen, T., Sirén, J., Bennell, C., Woodhams, J., Burrell, A. … & Santtila, P. (2017). Using offender crime scene behavior to link stranger sexual assaults: A comparison of three statistical approaches. Journal of Criminal Justice, 50, 19-28.

Tonkin, M., & Woodhams, J. (2017). The feasibility of using crime scene behaviour to detect versatile serial offenders: An empirical test of behavioural consistency, distinctiveness and discrimination accuracy. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 22, 99-115.

Sturgess, D., Woodhams, J., & Tonkin, M. (2016). Treatment engagement from the perspective of the offender: Reasons for non-completion and completion of treatment: A systematic review. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 60, 1873-1896.

de Vries, M. G., Brazil, I. A., Tonkin, M., & Bulten, B. H. (2016). Ward climate within a high secure forensic psychiatric hospital: Perceptions of patients and nursing staff and the role of patient characteristics. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 30, 342-349.

Tonkin, M. (2016). A review of questionnaire measures for assessing the social climate in prisons and forensic psychiatric hospital settings. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 60, 1376-1405.

Schalast, N., & Tonkin, M. (2016). Essen Climate Evaluation Schema EssenCES: A manual and more. Göttingen: Hogrefe Publishing.

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T: +44 (0)116 252 2458
E: criminology@le.ac.uk


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