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Leadership Team

About Us

The Leadership team is made up of the Director, 5 Associate Directors, the Knowledge Exchange and Business Manager, and the Impact Lead. 

Profiles of the members of the Leadership Team 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

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

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.

Development

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.

Impact Lead

Dr Rhonda Wheate
University of Strathclyde.

Dr Rhonda Wheate is a Senior Knowledge Exchange Fellow and Director of Clinical Law Programmes at the University of Strathclyde Law School.  Her areas of expertise are criminal law and evidence (Scots, UK, and Australian) including research, publications, knowledge exchange, and supervision of doctoral research about domestic abuse, insecure immigration statuses, victims in criminal law, homicide, sexual abuse, media law, and defences available to domestically abused women, and how expert evidence is used in criminal trials especially by juries.

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