Dr Elizabeth Aston

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I am the Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research and an Associate Professor of Criminology. I am on the International Advisory Board for the N8 Policing Research Partnership and a member of various Police Scotland external reference groups. I have a strong record of collaborative research on policing both in Scotland and in Europe, and am experienced in knowledge exchange and building strong research-practitioner relationships.

I was a 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. I am currently involved in a COST Action on 'Police Stops' in Europe, have conducted research on stop and search in Scotland, and been an active member of Police Scotland’s National Stop Search Unit ‘Research, Evaluation and Operational Review Group’.

Until June 2018 I was Head of Social Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, and Depute Programme Leader for the MSc Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychology. Prior to joining Edinburgh Napier University in 2011, I held a Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) Postdoctoral Research position at the Centre for Criminal Justice and Police Studies, the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). I have also worked as a Researcher at the Medical Research Council’s Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow. My ESRC CASE award PhD was linked to ‘The Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime’.


My research interests centre on intersections between criminal justice and other policy areas such as health, e.g. policing and substance use. I have conducted research on the relationship between substance use and offending; community policing; stop and search; local policing in Scotland; and youth diversionary projects. I am interested in developing work on local policing, public confidence, visibility and engagement (including online) and the role of technology in policing.

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