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Executive Committee

About Us

The Executive Committee has overall responsibility for ensuring that the Institute meets its key objectives in relation to research, knowledge transfer, capacity building and long term sustainability.

Profiles of the members of the Executive Committee are presented below.

Director of SIPR

Professor Liz Aston,
School of Social Sciences,
Edinburgh Napier University.

Professor Liz Aston is the Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and an Associate Professor of Criminology at Edinburgh Napier University. Recently Liz was appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to establish and Chair an Independent Advisory Group on New and Emerging Technologies in Policing. She is the co-editor of Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies Series. Dr Aston sits on the International Advisory Board for the N8 Policing Research Partnership, the Governance Board of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, and is a member of various Police Scotland advisory/reference groups, including the Drug Strategy Board, Naloxone Delivery Steering Group, and until 2019 chaired the Cyber Kiosks External Reference Group.

Liz’s research expertise centres on local policing, and she is developing work on the intersect between policing and drugs, and technology in policing. She has recently been awarded an ESRC Open Call Grant as PI for INTERACT (Investigating New Types of Engagement, Response and Contact Technologies in Policing). She is the co-lead for the Governance Working Group in the European Police Stops COST Action as well as joint work package leader on ‘Unity’, a €4.6 million Horizon 2020 EC funded project on Community Policing, technology and co-operation between the police and public.

Knowledge Exchange and Business Manager

Monica Craig,
School of Social Sciences,
Edinburgh Napier University.

Monica Craig joined the SIPR team in July 2019 from the Australian National University where she was the Manager of the College of Arts and Social Sciences Research Office.

In addition to her undergraduate study in Psychology, Monica is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh where she received a Masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Monica has worked across a variety of sectors including private research consultancy, NGOs, and the Scottish Government’s Justice Analytical Services. She has spent the last eight years in Australia where, in addition to her work with the ANU, she also worked with the Australian Commonwealth Department of Social Services and with the Australian Institute of Criminology where she managed the National Deaths in Custody and National Police Custody programs.

Police-Community Relations Network

Dr Megan O’Neill,
University of Dundee.

Megan O’Neill is a Reader at the University of Dundee and has an extensive background of policing research with a focus on issues of social interaction in policing, both within the organisation and with the public and partners. Her work has included studies of football policing, Black Police Associations, community policing, partnership working and Police Community Support Officers. She is part of the Unity Project, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, to study community policing and its adaptation to the new challenges of policing neighbourhoods across the EU. She was appointed as the SIPR Associate Director for the Police-Community Relations Network in August 2018.

Evidence and Investigation Network

Dr Penny Woolnough,
Abertay University.

Penny Woolnough is a Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Abertay University in Scotland. A Fellow of the International Academy of Investigative Psychology and a Registered Forensic Psychologist she acts as an Expert Advisor to the UK National Crime Agency and to Police Scotland in relation to missing persons. Her research interests focus on the policing of vulnerable persons and she is currently engaged in projects relating to missing persons, suicide, and public protection. She was appointed as the SIPR Associate Director for the Evidence & Investigation Network in February 2016.

Education and Leadership Network

Professor Denise Martin,
Abertay University.

Denise Martin has been Professor of Criminology at Abertay University since 2019.  Prior to this she worked at a number of insitutions including the Open University, UWS, University of Brighton and Middlsex University.  Her main research interests are in the area of policing and penology.  She has been involved in a range of research projects and evalutations and worked with a range of agencies, including the Home Office, Scottish Prison Service, Police Scotland, Mayors Office for Policing and Crime and National Police Chieif Council.  She is specifically interested in the intersection and Law Enforcement and Public Health and is part of the Special Interest Group for Education for GLEPHA.  She has been the Associate Director of the Education and Leadership Network for the Scottish Institute of Police Research since 2016 and is interested in Police Learning and Development and organisational culture and change.

Public Protection Network

Professor Lesley McMillan,
Glasgow Caledonian University.

Lesley McMillan is Professor of Criminology and Sociology at Glasgow Caledonian University; she is SIPR Associate Director for the Public Protection Network. Her research interests surround gender inequality and crime and justice. In particular, she is interested in institutional responses to gendered and sexual violence, including policing, forensic medical examination and evidence, and victim experience. She also has a research interest in violence prevention, and the use and role of technology in sexual violence perpetration, intervention and prevention. She has an ongoing interest in missing persons, adult protection and mental health, and is a qualified BACP psychotherapist.

Police Scotland Representative

Tom McMahon
Director – Strategy & Analysis 
Police Scotland.

Tom McMahon is the Director of Strategy and Analysis at Police Scotland. His portfolio consists of the following business areas:Analysis & Performance Management, Strategy, Planning & Insight, Demand Productivity & Performance, Academic Research and SIPR liaison, Strategic Public and Stakeholder Engagement Planning and Coordination. Director McMahon previously worked for the Scottish Government in a number of roles including Head of Community Safety. He went on to be Director of Strategy at the Scottish Police Authority and Director of the Policing 2026 Programme. He joined Police Scotland in 2017

Police Scotland Representative

Davina Fereday,
Research and Insight Manager
Police Scotland.

Experienced Research Manager with over 20 years experience of working in consultancy and government. Skilled in leading qualitative and quantitative research studies at a European, UK and city level. Recently appointed by Police Scotland to lead research and public engagement at the national and divisional level, supporting implementation of the long term police strategy and innovation.

Past projects include city wide citizen and stakeholder engagement with budget planning, approaches to managing customer experience, employee engagement and providing research and insight for service design and policy development.

Prior to joining the public sector, managed national and local consultancy projects for the Highways Agency, Department for Transport, Scottish Government, Transport for London, public transport executives and a number of local authorities. Subjects included behavioural studies, user accessibility, innovative and sustainable transport for shaping policy and service design. At a European level, managed a four year EU funded project of 16 member states on the development and evaluation of innovative transport systems. Prior to this, supported the evaluation of a variety of European funded transport initiatives.

Police Scotland Representative

Kirsty-Louise Campbell,
Head of Strategy Insight and Innovation,
Police Scotland.

Kirsty-Louise Campbell, Head of Strategy and Innovation at Police Scotland, is an experienced leader, developing successful strategy, insight, innovation and transformation across a number of sectors.  Experience includes leading the successful re-design and transformation of a major public sector body and leading award-winning strategy and insight services.  In Police Scotland, Kirsty-Louise has developed the overarching strategic outcomes for policing along with new strategies for public contact and engagement and cyber along with building capability and capacity in policing for public engagement, insight and innovation. 

Scottish Police Authority Representative

Fiona Douglas
Director of Forensic Services,
Scottish Police Authority.

Fiona Douglas has been Director of SPA Forensic Service – part of the Scottish Police Authority – since October 2021. Formally Head of Strategic Change at Forensic Services, Fiona has more than 25 years’ experience working in forensic science – the past 10 years in Scotland.

Before becoming Head of Strategic Change, Fiona worked as Head of Biology at Forensic Services and led the national development and implementation of DNA24 technology, which is now at the heart of DNA services serving the justice system in Scotland.

Prior to joining SPA Forensic Services, Fiona had worked at the Government-owned Forensic Science Service at various sites across England and Wales with responsibility across multi-disciplinary forensic evidence and organisational change.

Fiona was instrumental in the development of the Forensic Strategy and – as Head of Strategic Change – responsible for its ongoing delivery.

Scottish Police Authority Representative

Amanda Coulthard,
Head of Strategy and Performance,
Scottish Police Authority.

Amanda leads the Strategy and Performance function and reports into the Deputy Chief Executive (Strategy & Performance). Amanda joined the Authority in February 2021 from a role in West Dunbartonshire Council as the performance advisor to the Chief Executive and Elected Members, leading a team responsible for: Strategic Planning & Performance; Data Analysis; Policy; Consultation & Engagement; Equalities; Community Planning; Partnerships and Local Scrutiny.  As the Head of Strategy & Performance for the SPA Amanda leads the Authority’s approach to developing and reviewing the national policing strategy, maintaining a system of performance assurance and reporting to support best value and maintaining public confidence in policing.

Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research Representative.

Dr Niall Hamilton-Smith,
Associate Director,
Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.

Dr Hamilton-Smith previously worked in government, primarily working on policing research projects. Dr Hamilton-Smith’s recent research activity has centred on the local impacts of organised crime, on aspects of justice in adapting to climate change and related environmental challenges, and research into the policing of hate crime and related public disorder.

Dr Hamilton-Smith has also worked with colleagues in SCCJR, the Scottish Government, and in the Scottish police service on a range of projects that have aimed to develop methodologies, both for better assessing and mapping organised crime threats, as well as for evaluating subsequent law enforcement responses. Dr Hamilton-Smith is an associate director of SCCJR, as well as being an associate of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research.


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