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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.

Liz Aston is a Professor of Criminology at Edinburgh Napier University and has been the Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) since 2018. Her expertise centres on local policing and her current research focuses on technology in policing, and the intersect between policing and drugs. In 2021 Liz was awarded an ESRC Open Call Grant as Principal Investigator for the INTERACT project. In addition she is a Co-Investigator on the EPSRC-funded 3PO project and on the Scottish Drug Checking project.

Liz has a strong record of collaborative research on policing both in Scotland and in Europe and is experienced in knowledge exchange and building research-practitioner relationships. In 2020 she was appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to establish and Chair an Independent Advisory Group on Emerging Technologies in Policing.

Liz is the co-editor of Palgrave’s Critical Policing Studies Series and sits on a number of governance and advisory boards, including for the ESRC Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre, Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and Police Scotland’s Drug Strategy Board. Prior to her SIPR role, she was Head of Social Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University.

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

Professor 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

Dr Andrew Wooff
Edinburgh Napier University.

I am an Associate Professor of Criminology at Edinburgh Napier University and the Head of Social Sciences and former Programme Leader for BSc (Hons) Policing and Criminology.

In the past 5 years, I have completed 3 externally funded projects as PI (totalling £33,000), the most recent of which examined the Special Constabulary in Scotland. I have also been Co-I on a further 3 projects (totalling £308,800). As a result of my research and publications, I have been invited to sit on the Home Office Custody Review Design Board, the editorial board for two book series and the international advisory panel for a research project at the University of Sheffield. I am also the co-lead for the Education and Leadership network within the Scottish Institute of Policing Research (SIPR) and I am a member of the British Society of Criminology. I currently supervise 4 PhD students, on who has just completed his corrections.

My research interests are varied and interdisciplinary, informed by extending theoretical developments in criminology, geography and rural sociology. I am interested in how the police use their power in different ways and on different populations, particularly in relation to rural policing, police custody, and the use of police volunteers.

Dr Andrew Tatnell
Edinburgh Napier University.

Andy was a police officer for thirty years, working in Thames Valley Police, Central Scotland Police, and Police Scotland with secondments to the Scottish Criminal Records Office and the Scottish Police College. During his service he undertook a variety of operational and specialist roles, retiring in 2014 as a Superintendent. 

Over the past decade, his research has focused on organisational and occupational culture within the context of police socialisation, the Scottish police reform programme, and cross-professional boundary working both within the Scottish Crime Campus and between the emergency services when working together to improve community wellbeing. In 2022, he completed his PhD submitting a thesis entitled ‘A degree is not necessarily the answer: A comparative analysis of initial police learning in Scotland, Sweden and Finland’. He was appointed the SIPR Co-Associate Director of the Education and Leadership Network in August 2023 together with Associate Professor Andrew Wooff.

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.


Dr Kirsteen Grant, 
Edinburgh Napier University University.

Dr Kirsteen Grant is Associate Professor (HRM), and Deputy Head of Research within the Business School. Drawing on complementary backgrounds in academia and organisational practice, Kirsteen has a strong track record of leading and delivering taught, blended and online programmes at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels, both in the UK and overseas.

Kirsteen is passionate about knowledge transfer and helping to bridge the gap between academic research and professional practice. As an outcome of her PhD (2013), Kirsteen developed a ‘Performance through People’ diagnostic and toolkit, which she often utilises when working with external partners and clients. The tool is designed around five work-related factors and acts as a conversational prime and framework to enable people to explore the alignment of the five factors within their organisation.

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

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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