Research team

We are a team of researchers from Keele University, the University of Edinburgh, Oxford University and University College London. Three members of the team (Evi Girling, Ian Loader and Richard Sparks) were involved in the 1994-1996 study of fears and feelings towards crime in Macclesfield. For this project the team has expanded to include Ben Bradford and Gosia Polanska who bring new sets of skills and disciplinary expertise to the project.

Ben Bradford
Ben Bradford
Professor of Global City Policing
University College London

Ben is Professor of Global City Policing at University College London, where he leads the JDI Institute for Global City Policing, co-funded and managed in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. His research interests primarily concern police-community relations and questions of trust, legitimacy, cooperation and compliance in criminal justice settings. Some of his current and recent projects include studies into police legitimacy and trust among immigrants, minorities and excluded groups both in England and Wales and across Europe, and research considering why people might support or oppose new policing technologies and/or granting police new powers. He has also provided extensive consultancy and advice on victimisation surveys and fairness in policing, including projects for the Open Society Foundation, West Midlands Police, Police Scotland and the Ministry of Justice. 

Evi Girling
Evi Girling
Principal Investigator
Keele University

Dr Evi Girling is a Senior Lecturer at Keele University. She started her academic career in anthropology in the early 1990s before focusing her research and teaching in the areas of criminology and criminal justice.

Along with Ian and Richard, Evi worked on the original Macclesfield study. As part of that study she lived in Macclesfield between 1994 and 1996 and she is delighted to be able to spend time in the town once again as part of this project, talking to residents about their town and their sense of security in their everyday lives.

Her research interests include identity, community and place, public sensibilities about crime and punishment, neighbourhood policing and the politics and cultures of extreme sentencing in the US and Europe.

Ian Loader
Ian Loader
Professor of Criminology
University of Oxford

Ian Loader is Professor of Criminology at the University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellow of All Souls College.  Prior to moving to Oxford in 2005, Ian taught at Edinburgh and Keele. Ian is a Fellow of British Academy.

Along with Evi and Richard, Ian worked on the original Macclesfield study. He also researches and writes on policing, private security, public sensibilities towards crime, penal policy and culture, the politics of crime control, and the public roles of criminology.

Ian is currently working on a book with the working title of Ideologies in Crime Control  to be published by Oxford University Press. The book forms part of a long-term project Ian has pursued with Richard Sparks which is concerned with different dimensions of the relationship between crime control and democratic politics.

Ian is Editor-in-Chief of the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice and a member of the Advisory Board for the Strategic Review of Policing in England and Wales.

Malgorzata (Gosia) Polanska
Malgorzata (Gosia) Polanska
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Keele University

Gosia is an interdisciplinary scholar fascinated by people’s experience of (in)security, currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Keele University. Her exploration sits across critical international politics and security studies, as well as social anthropology and feminism. Her main interests concern coping strategies with uncertainty, everyday (in)security and bottom-up approaches to peace.

She holds a PhD in humanitarianism and conflict response from the University of Manchester. For this purpose, she developed ethnographic research in urban periphery in Mexico, which she used to call home prior to coming to the UK. Her focus was on how unprivileged and at-risk communities navigate the context of criminal violence and communicate within it.

She has been working, studying and teaching in field of (in)security since 2008. Along her academic projects, she was a consultant for the United Nations, as well as collaborating with the governmental and non-governmental sectors in Mexico.

Gosia is very much looking forward to listening to and learning from people in Macclesfield.

Richard Sparks
Richard Sparks
Professor of Criminology
University of Edinburgh

Richard is Professor of Criminology at the University of Edinburgh. Between 2006 and 2016 he was a founding Co-Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (www.sccjr.ac.uk). Prior to moving to Scotland in 2004 he worked at Keele University and the Open University.

With Evi and Ian, Richard was one of the research team on our first study in Macclesfield. In other work, Richard has had career-long interests in images of crime and law in mass media and in prisons and penal policy.

Ian and Richard have also carried out extensive work together on how criminologists and others try to shape public policy and debate on crime problems, and on how those problems are handled in democratic politics (for example in I. Loader and R. Sparks, Public Criminology?, Routledge, 2010). Amongst his main interests nowadays is how to enhance opportunities for public participation and deliberation in respect of questions of crime and security.

Richard is Convener of Howard League Scotland.