I am currently a Professor of Social Psychology, Dean for Research in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, and Director of the Keele Policing Academic Collaboration (KPAC), one of Keele’s Strategic Research Centres. I joined Keele in March 2016 from a position as Principal Research Fellow in Security and Justice in the School of Law at the University of Leeds. I have an interdisciplinary focus and specialize in understanding the nature and role of social identity processes and intergroup relationships in the psychology and dynamics of crowd behaviour, ‘riots’, ‘hooliganism’ and ‘public order’ policing. I have held Lectureships and Senior Lectureships at the Universities of Bath, Abertay Dundee and Liverpool. I have also held Visiting Professorships at Aarhus University in Demark, at the Leeds University Business School along with Visiting Fellowships and Scholarships at the Australian National University, the University of Exeter and Flinders University in Adelaide. I have been an Associate Editor for the British Journal of Social Psychology and currently sit on the Advisory Board of the journal Policing and Society. I have been a Consultant Editor for the British and the European Journals of Social Psychology and sat on the Editorial Board of Criminology and Criminal Justice. I have been a guest Editor of a special edition of Contemporary Social Science and Co-Editor of a special issue of Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice on the policing of crowds. I have been involved both as principle and co-investigator in research and consultancy projects worth in excess of £5 million provided by a wide range of organisations including the ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, the European Commission, UK Home Office as well as charitable foundations and a number of policing and other governmental organisations. I have recently concluded a collaborative ESRC funded project researching the social psychological dynamics of the spread of collective violence during the 2011 English ‘riots’ (ESRC ES/N01068X/1). I am currently the Principal Investigator of an ESRC funded project exploring the social psychology of everyday police citizen encounters (ESRC ES/R011397/1). I am also the Director of ENABLE, a project constructing an evidence-based approach to the policing of football crowds funded by the English Football League. My research and its associated theory have high-level external impact at a national and international level. It has informed policy, guidance and practice in the management of crowds for a range of government and police organisations in the U.K. including the Home Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the College of Policing, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of the Constabulary as well as among others the Metropolitan Police Service, Staffordshire, Sussex and West Yorkshire Police. My research has also achieved high-level international impact affecting policy and guidance on the policing of crowds of the European Council, the European Union as well as a range of police forces globally including Portugal, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. In 2004 I was involved in the developing of the policing approach for the 2004 UEFA European Championships in Portugal and between 2009 and 2011 I played a central role in designing and delivering the Pan European Football Police Training Project funded by the European Commission in partnership with UEFA. In 2014 I was awarded the Economic and Social Research Council’s ‘Celebrating Impact’ First Prize and in 2015 my work on policing crowds was acknowledged by the ESRC as one of its ‘Top 50’ achievements in its 50-year history.
Research and scholarship
I specialise in research on crowds, ‘riots’, ‘hooliganism’ and policing, particularly as this related to ‘public order’. My research is underpinned by theoretical perspectives on social identity. More specifically my work is informed by Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) and Self-Categorisation Theory (Turner et al, 1987). I also have a more recent focus on the social psychological aspects of Procedural Justice Theory. I use a range of methodological techniques but specialise in ethnography and participant action research. I have developed a strong interest in inter-disciplinary research on security and have also established an international profile in Criminology and policing studies. I have become widely regarded as a world leading academic expert on the psychology and policing of ‘public order’ during crowd events and have a substantial record of high-quality publications at a national and international level.
My early research career focused on the development of theoretical understanding of role of intergroup group dynamics and social identity processes in collective violence in collaboration with Professor Stephen Reicher (St Andrews University) and Dr John Drury (University of Sussex). My research played a central role in developing the Elaborated Social Identity Model of crowd behaviour (ESIM). The ESIM is now widely acknowledged as the leading social psychological theory of crowd behaviour, particularly as this relates to theoretical conceptualisation of the underlying dynamics of the initiation and escalation of ‘rioting’. This theoretical insight highlights the importance of police strategy and tactics in the escalation of ‘disorder’ during political protest and football crowd events. As a consequence, my career focus has concentrated on extending these important theoretical developments toward an applied and impact agenda, primarily through integrating ESIM based analyses of rioting into professional policy and practice among police forces globally.
Major Research Funding:
- English Football League. Enabling an Evidence Based Approach to Enabling an Evidence based approach to football public order and public safety policing in the UK. £200,000.00. Principal Investigator.
- ESRC ES/R011397/1 From coercion to consent: social identity, legitimacy, and a process model of police procedural justice (CONSIL). £964,029.00 (FEC) Principal Investigator.
- EPSRC. Co-Production and Creativity: ethos, typologies and innovation in public engagement practice. (SEEK-PER) £71,396.01. Co-Investigator
- UKIERI UGC Thematic Partnership. Social Identity, Well Being and Civic Participation among Social and Ethnic Groups in India. Co-Investigator. Value to Keele £107,979.00. Co-Investigator
- ESRC ES/N01068X/1. Beyond Contagion: Social identity processes in involuntary social influences. £923,134.50 (FEC) Co-Investigator
- Gålöstiftelsen, Stockholm. SEK ENABLE: Enabling an evidence-based approach to crowd safety and security in Swedish football. Phase 2. 2015-2019. 8.5 million SEK¬¬ Scientific Director.
- EU Horizon 2020 Psychosocial and cross-cultural theoretical framework of crowd behaviour and management. 2015-2018 grant agreement No 653383. €207,387. Co-investigator.
- Stockholm County Administrative Board. Enabling an Evidence Based Approach to Policing Football in Sweden, Phase 1. 2014-2015. 200,000. SEK. Scientific Director.
- ESRC Knowledge Transfer Fund. ES/N01068X/1 Research co-production in policing. 2014-2015. £125,000. Co-investigator,
- College of Policing Innovation Fund. The N8 Police Research Partnership. 2014. £55,000 Co-investigator.
- European Commission. €1.1 million. Pan-European Football Police Training Project. 2011-2012. Educational Director.
- Leverhulme Trust. Representations of crowd behaviour in the management of mass emergencies. 2010-2012. Co-investigator. £100,000
- Home Office Public Order Unit. A European study of the interaction between police and crowds of foreign nationals considered posing a risk to public order. 2006-2009. £85,000. Principal Investigator.
- ESRC. RES-000-23-617 Crowd dynamics, policing and 'hooliganism' at Euro2004. 2004-2005. £109,680. Principal investigator:
- UK Home Office Public Order Unit. Relationships between public order policing and levels of conflict surrounding football matches with an international dimension. £58,254. Principal investigator.
I am module coordinator for the third year module PSY-30124 ‘Groups, Crowds and Conflict: Theoretical and Applied Perspectives’. I supervise a number of undergraduate projects and MSc dissertations in the general areas of social psychology and criminology.
- Economic and Social Research Council’s ‘Celebrating Impact’ First Prize 2014.