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Scottish Institute for Policing Research Postgraduate Symposium 2023

Date of event: November 28, 2023

John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh

PG Symposium Image

Event Briefing

Tuesday 28th November 2023
John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh
Welcome to the information pages for the Scottish Institute for Policing Research Postgraduate Symposium 2023

Scottish Institute for Policing Research Postgraduate Symposium 2023 will take place on Tuesday 28th November 2023 at the John McIntyre Conference Centre in Edinburgh.

The Symposium is an opportunity for current postgraduate researchers to come together and showcase the excellent work they are undertaking. As such, we are calling for presenters and poster contributions to submit a note of interest to The design of presentation is 10 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions. The event will be closing with the award ceremony where we will be awarding prizes for best presentation and best poster (which will be determined by popular vote).

Deadline to notify intent to provide a poster is Monday 27 November 2023

Please note this is a free event and lunch will be included.

Further details will be made available on the SIPR website ( as they are confirmed.

Digital Programme

The digital programme for the conference can be downloaded via the link below. However, please be aware that this may be subject to minor changes.

Event Programme

10:00 -
- Registrations
10:30 -
- Welcome & Opening Ceremony
10:45 -
- Presentation Session 1
12:00 -
- Lunch & Poster Viewing
13:00 -
- Presentation Session 2
14:45 -
- Comfort Break and Panel Deliberations
15:15 -
- Panel Discussion
15:45 -
- Awards & Closing Ceremony

Event Speaker & Guests

Abigail Cunningham Speaker
  • Encountering Policing - a dialogic exploration of Scottish Pakistanis’ narratives of ‘policing’
  • In recent decades Scotland has positioned itself as an inclusive society united by civic – rather than racial – nationalism. But how do minority Scottish citizens experience this and how do their everyday social encounters and routine interactions with police, government institutions, and members of the public define their sense of belonging within Scotland? This Carnegie Grant PhD project explores Scottish Pakistanis’ experiences of ‘policing’ in everyday life, including institutional, community, and self-policing. UK policy responses to terrorist threats have contributed to relationships of mistrust between British-Asian communities and police and to increasing incidents of hate crime against them. Minority Scottish citizens are positioned between two dominant but contradictory discourses; one of inclusivity within the Scottish civic nationalist context and that of a suspected community. Through interviews with 30 self-identifying Scottish Pakistanis (conducted in rural and urban spaces) my PhD examines the idea of an inclusive Scotland from the perspective of Scottish Pakistanis and explores ways that they participate in, respond to and internalise policing in everyday life. Findings might be of interest to policy makers and practitioners because of current concerns about hate crime and Islamophobia in Scotland and the impact of various processes of policing on the sense of belonging in minority communities. The findings might also be significant in relation to Police Scotland’s renewed commitment to improving engagement with minorities.
  • Abigail Cunningham is a Carnegie Grant PhD Scholarship student at Edinburgh Napier University. Her research interests include postcolonial legacies, feminist geopolitics, transnational communities, and dialogic methodologies. Her interdisciplinary PhD research works from the intersection of human geography and critical psychology and explores Scottish minorities’ experiences of ‘policing’ in everyday life, including institutional, community, and self-policing and how ‘policing’ encounters - and discourses about them - shape polyphonic social identities.
Belinda Onyeashie Speaker
  • Trusted Evidence Trails and Timeline for Law Enforcement during Investigations
  • The rise in digital evidence has created a challenge for accurate and timely investigations, as well as the preservation of privacy and security during investigations. This research aims to address these challenges by proposing a system that incorporates blockchain's immutable ledgers with a decentralised, encryption-enabled storage architecture. This combination ensures tamper-proof chain of custody trails, with encryption providing security, blockchain providing provenance, and distributed databases providing accessibility. The objectives of this study are to establish dependable evidence trails and enhance investigative capabilities. The goal is to promote equitable justice through robust digital forensic practices.
  • My name is Belinda, I am a second-year digital forensics PhD candidate at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. My research is focused on trusted evidence trails and timeline for law enforcement during an investigation. I am actively researching digital evidence management with a focus on the technological and human factors. Proper evidence management is required during and after an investigation to uphold our laws. It is also needed to ensure continuous trust in the police and judiciary. My research aims to identify best practises and solutions for managing digital evidence in this big data era.
Dilhan Toredi Speaker
  • Individual Differences as Reflectors of Identification Accuracy
  • Reflector variables indicate (reflect) the likelihood that an identification is accurate (Wells, 2020). Individual differences in working memory capacity, selective attention ability, and need for cognition were investigated as reflector variables of identification accuracy in same-race and cross-race lineups. White participants (N = 221) completed individual differences measures, watched four mock-crime videos (2 Asian targets, 2 White targets), made lineup decisions, and rated confidence. Working memory capacity significantly predicted identification accuracy and target-present accuracy in same-race lineups but not cross-race lineups. The other measures did not predict accuracy in any condition. Finally, the confidence-accuracy relationships were similar across races.
  • Dilhan Töredi is currently a PhD candidate in Psychology at Queen Margaret University, and she is in the final year of her collaborative PhD project with Edinburgh Napier University. Her research focuses on examining how individuals make memory-based decisions regarding faces, especially in the context of witnessing a crime. Her primary goal is to gain insights into the cognitive and social factors that influence these decisions, as well as the strategies employed, the level of accuracy achieved, and the confidence expressed in such decisions. Her research primarily centres on investigating the Cross-Race Effect, which refers to the phenomenon where individuals tend to have lower facial recognition abilities for people of different races compared to those of their own race. Additionally, she explores various individual differences that contribute to variations in eyewitness accuracy levels.
Esme O'Donnell Speaker
  • Policing the Pandemic: A place-based analysis of public and police sensibilities, and the impact on police legitimacy
  • In March 2020, the Covid-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic – catalysing a chain of legislative manoeuvres which frequently placed police officers at the centre of national public health responses. A wealth of quantitative data about police practice during the pandemic exists in Scotland. However, little is known about (1) the social dynamics underlying stark geographical differences in enforcement or (2) how this has impacted police-community and officer-organisation relationships at the local level. To fill these gaps, this project will explore public and police officer experiences of and perspectives towards pandemic policing in three case-study sites. It will pay particular attention to the impact of local context – illuminating how, for example, officers’ experiences and perspectives are shaped by the rurality of their beat and the relationships they have with the communities who live there.
  • Esme is a second-year PhD student at Edinburgh Napier University whose research explores the localised impacts of pandemic policing on police-public relationships in Scotland. Her current research interests include police-public relations, organisational justice, and sense of place. Her previous work drew on insights from queer theory to explore the ways that criminological discourse contributes to hetero- and cis-normativity.
Julia Zauner Speaker
  • Justice and image-based sexual abuse: Explore the experiences of adult victim-survivors with the criminal justice system and their understandings of justice in Scotland
  • Over the past decade, image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) has become a contemporary concern for academics, third sector organisations, law enforcement agencies, and policy makers. IBSA includes the non-consensual taking of intimate images (e.g. upskirting, downblousing, during a private act etc.), the non-consensual creation of intimate images (e.g. deepfakes), the non-consensual sharing of intimate images (e.g. sent on to another person, uploaded to the internet etc.), and the threat to share intimate images (e.g. by a current or former partner or a person unknown). This cyber-enabled form of abuse is generally considered a gendered phenomenon with women as the primary but not exclusive target. Whilst prevalence rates have garnered increased attention among scholars, there is a particular gap in understanding victim-survivors’ experiences (or lack thereof) with the criminal justice system including barriers and facilitators to report incidents. Moreover, the extent to which IBSA victim-survivor’s understandings of justice align with or diverge from conventional criminal justice remains uncertain. This is particularly the case in Scotland where empirical research is even sparser. By drawing on intersectional feminist theory and a constructivist paradigm, this qualitative doctoral research seeks to explore these gaps through in-depth interviews with adult victim-survivors of IBSA in Scotland with a particular focus on diverse gender identities and sexualities. Fieldwork and analysis are currently underway; whilst findings cannot be shared presently, this research may positively contribute to our understandings of IBSA by providing new empirical evidence and knowledge on IBSA specifically and gender-based violence more broadly. In turn, the outputs (including academic outputs, podcasts, webinars, etc.) may serve as an invaluable resource for policy and practice, particularly the justice sector, supporting the Scottish Government’s efforts to combat gender-based violence in the digital age.
  • Julia Zauner (she/her) is a doctoral researcher and lecturer in criminology and sociology at Glasgow Caledonian University. Her doctoral research focuses on image-based sexual abuse among Scottish adults where she investigates impacts on survivors, their experiences with the criminal justice system, and their understandings of justice. In addition to her doctoral work, Julia is engaged in a research project that seeks to explore how harm is understood, prevented, and responded to within virtual communities. Her wider research interests include gender-based abuse, cybercrime, media and crime, feminist theory, and queer theory.
Dr Juraj Sikra Speaker
  • This SIPR co-funded PhD aims to improve general cybercrime reporting in Scotland. The outcome of this research will be a mixture of policy recommendations and a proposal for a reporting interface. The author is honoured to count Police Scotland as his primary stakeholder. The latter have recently tasked him with investigating the area of financial sextortion to improve reporting.
  • The discussed angles will be that of the systematic literature review, cybercrime victims’ study, responsibilised non-policing agencies study, client-centred cybercrime training (as separate presentation) and policing study. The main notion will be that all these empirical approaches are required to robustly improve cybercrime reporting as is the need to work both across various national agencies as well as alongside international partners.
  • PhDr Juraj Sikra, M.A.(Hons), MSc., CIPD (Assoc. Member): Juraj’s original expertise lies in clinical and criminal mental health. He has vast experience with all clinical populations and age groups working across different environments from private practices to highly deprived areas. Juraj also developed and published new applications for the online education of people in the Ukrainian warzone.
Dr Mahnoz Ilias Speaker
  • Navigating Challenges in Policing: Understanding the impact of motherhood, reproductive age and workplace social support on the wellbeing of female police officers and staff
  • Female police officers and staff navigate a complex organisational landscape where challenges often rooted in organisational injustice pose unique risks to their well-being. This study investigates how female police officers and staff navigate policing across different life stages, and specifically focuses on the impact of motherhood and reproductive age on mental health outcomes (probable depression and probable anxiety) and sickness absence (including mental health related sickness absence). Moreover, the research explores whether and how social support -as a component of relational injustice-plays a central role in moderating the complex interplay between motherhood, reproductive age, health outcomes, and sickness absences among female police officers and staff in the UK. In this study, motherhood and reproductive age are treated as exposures within the organisational context. The primary outcomes of interest are the mental health outcomes of probable depression and probable anxiety, and duration of sickness absence (including mental health related sickness absences). Using data from the Airwave Health Monitoring Study (AHMS) and sickness absence records from 26 UK police forces who participated in the AHMS, female officers and staff are categorized into groups based on age (reproductive versus non-reproductive age groups) and motherhood status (mothers versus non-mothers). Logistic regression and Cox hazard models are employed to assess the relationship between motherhood, reproductive age, and the specified mental health and sickness absence outcomes. Furthermore, the study explores the moderating effect of workplace social support from colleagues and supervisors on these associations.This study will provide a better understanding of how motherhood and social support from colleagues and superiors impact the well-being of female police officers and staff across different age groups and at important life stages of females’ personal life and stage in their policing career. The study findings can inform the development of policies aimed at prioritising the wellbeing of female police officers and staff, consequently contributing to the improved overall effectiveness and well-being of the police force.
  • Dr. Illias achieved her graduation as a certified medical doctor in Bangladesh in 2019. The same year, she received the prestigious Commonwealth Shared Scholarship in recognition of her outstanding academic performance and societal contributions to pursue an MSc in Global Mental Health with a specialisation in Health Promotion at the University of Glasgow. Illias’s dedication to addressing global public health issues was cultivated over seven years of extensive involvement with various national and international youth organizations. As a passionate public health enthusiast, Dr. Illias now channels her research interests into the areas of Health Inequalities, with a specific focus on Mental Health and Public Health Challenges and Interventions. Currently, she is undertaking her Ph.D. on the project entitled "Understanding the Health and Well-being of Female Police Officers in the UK" with an MRC/SIPR PhD scholarship at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow under the supervision of Dr. Evangelia Demou and Prof. Kathleen Riach.
Nesha Dixon Speaker
  • Estimation of Risk for Missing Individuals: Development of an Empirical Risk Assessment Tool for Missing Person Investigations
  • Police are faced with the complex task of assessing which missing person incidents are most likely to result in harm and where to assign their resources. Current missing person risk assessment adopts an unstructured professional judgement approach, where assessments are subjective and rely on police officers using their own knowledge. Consequently, this research aims to develop an evidence-based structured professional judgement risk assessment tool for missing person investigations to improve the consistency of risk assessments and eliminate biases that may accompany decision making. This presentation will discuss findings from one key stage of this research, the analysis of Police Scotland’s missing persons data, providing insight into the initial empirical framework for the development of the risk assessment tool.
  • Nesha Dixon is a psychology PhD student at Abertay University where her research focuses on developing an evidence-based structured professional judgement risk assessment tool for missing person investigations. Prior to her PhD, Nesha worked for Thames Valley Police as a Criminal Researcher and Intelligence Development Officer in the area of modern slavery, exploitation and human trafficking, where there was a significant overlap with missing persons. Nesha is passionate about undertaking research that will have a valuable impact on society and can inform evidence-based policing practices.
Ólafur Örn Bragason Speaker
  • Establishment of Police Science as a University Discipline in Iceland: Reasons for the 2016 police education reform and its effects
  • In recent decades, police education in many countries has shifted from special training schools run directly by the police to university degrees (e.g. Terpstra and Schaap, 2022). In Iceland, the police basic education was reformed to the university level in 2016. This reform was based on reports from two working groups formed by the Ministry of the Interior in 2014 and 2015. In this presentation I will present my PhD research plan, along with initial findings from a historical discourse analysis on policy documents leading to this reform. We use a a six-step approach to analyze discourse regarding specific issues and is often utilized on policy documents (Jóhannesson, 2010; Sharp & Richardson, 2001). The next steps in the research will be introduced along with theoretical perspectives.
  • Olafur Orn Bragason is currently a PhD student in Educational Science at the University of Iceland focusing on police education reform in Iceland. He has worked for the Icelandic Police for 19 years, the past seven as director of the Centre for Police Training and Professional development at the National Police Commissioner of Iceland (currently on a sabbatical).  Also, he is an assistant professor at the Institute of Police Science Research at the University of Akureyri. He holds a Bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Iceland and a MSc in Forensic Psychology from the University of Surrey. His research interests include police education, police stress, selection of police officers, false confessions, police integrity, police officer attitudes and students’ misconceptions.
Robert Holland Speaker
  • Emotional Labour in Policing: A Study of British Transport Police Officers at Waverley Train Station
  • The traditional role of a police officer demands a significant amount of emotional labour to carry out their required duties as they must suppress their own feelings to produce the organizationally desired/required psychological state with those with whom they interact. This is especially true for the British Transport Police officer, whose experience can be characterised by two things: emotional labour and operating within hybrid security environments. Hybrid security environments are dynamic ecosystems where both public and private entities coexist. Although the everyday activities differ, they all work in tandem toward preserving a calm and orderly environment free from crime. This project utilises emotional labour as a lens to explore the experience of the BTP response officer at the ground level, the unique beat they work, and how it is distinguished from the traditional public police experience. The role of private security within society, the privatisation of public policing, and hybrid security environments have garnered attention from criminologists such as Shearing and Wood with the concept of nodal governance and Loader and Walker with the concept of anchored pluralism. While these perspectives help explain how people work, manage, and experience these hybrid systems, they do not address the role emotional labour play within them. This project fills that gap by exploring how emotional labour manifests within the BTP response officers operating in Edinburgh Waverley railway station ( a hybrid security environment) in Edinburgh, Scotland. The BTP, a public police force (primarily funded by the private sector and whose jurisdiction is composed almost entirely of private property), is highly impacted by the private sector environment. This project have shown that the relationship between the two is symbiotic and that BTP officers experience significant emotional labour demands from the pressure to utilise alternative approaches, such as soft policing, in their everyday operations, partly driven by their relationships with the private sector. In addition, phenomena typically seen within the private sector, such as ambassadorship and increased customer service demands, have spurred BTP operations to evolve towards a more proactive policing approach, where the maintenance of calmness within their jurisdiction is operationally paramount. Over 450 hours of ethnographic fieldwork (participant observation) and semi-structured interviews were conducted over a ten-month period in 2022. The project is currently in the writing up stage.
  • Born and raised in the United States, Robert holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Saint Michael’s College and a Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies from Brunel University London. Robert’s PhD research is funded by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow Jointly Funded PhD studentship.
Sam Conway Speaker
  • Using Avatar Technologies in Online Investigative Interviews with Adolescents
  • My current project investigates the effectiveness of avatar technologies with young people aged 11-18 during online investigative interviews. In my presentation, I will present some initial research on how human-like avatar interviewers, in comparison to human interviewers, influence the quality of young people’s personal disclosure. I will compare avatar and human interviewers on the quality of the positive experiences and the quality of negative experiences elicited. I will also discuss participant gender differences during these online interviews and highlight the potential implications for future research moving forward.
  • I am a Psychology PhD student at Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland. I started my PhD in June 2021. I am also one of the postgraduate co-ordinators for SIPR. My research interests are in applied memory research and investigative interviewing. My research focuses on which factors impact eyewitness memory and how to improve eyewitness disclosure using technology.
Dr Simon-Lewis Menzies Speaker
  • Tipping the Scales of Justice: Scientific Evidence & Decision-Making - A Third Sector Perspective
  • My thesis examines the issues of case progression, investigation, and prosecution through a novel approach by conducting research in three data collection phases. The first being to examine the communication of scientific evidence and decision-making involved during the investigation and prosecution of rape cases in Scotland from an organisation that is independent of the criminal justice process, Rape Crisis Scotland, to gain insight into the handling of rape cases in Scotland from an alternative viewpoint. Semi-structured interviews conducted with Court Advocacy Workers from Rape Crisis Scotland yielded new insight into the criminal justice system in Scotland. Findings suggest real discrepancies in how national criminal justice agencies operate showing that although there may be a national framework, this is not always the reality in different regions of Scotland. Moreover, many of the criminal justice reforms in Scotland seem to have had little or no impact on case progression.
  • Simon-Lewis Menzies is a recent doctoral graduate. He completed his PhD at the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee between 2019 and 2023. His work focused on the communication of scientific evidence and the Impact on case progression and prosecutorial decision-making in sexual and non-sexual violent crime In Scotland. He holds an MSc in Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychology from Edinburgh Napier University and a BSc First Class Honours Degree in Applied Criminology: Offender Management from the University of Derby. His research areas include, but are not limited to, criminal justice, decision theory, decision-making, decision science, communication of forensic evidence, communication theory, science communication, responses to crime, punishment, international criminology, expert testimony and opinion, prosecution of crime, rape, and sexual offending.

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