School of Social Science and Public Policy
Explore this Section
- / Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences /
- School of Social Science & Public Policy /
- SSPP People /
- Staff /
- Helen Wells
Dr Helen Wells
|Title:||Senior Lecturer in Criminology|
|Phone:||(+44) 01782 7 33748|
|Contacting me:||During office hours, posted on my door, or via email appointment
Helen graduated from Keele with a BA in Criminology and History (1st class) in 1998, before spending two years working in a Magistrates' Court. She returned to Keele in 2000, and graduated with a Masters in Criminology (with distinction) in 2001. After a period as a Community Safety Officer, Helen once again returned to Keele and was awarded her Ph.D in January 2007. She was appointed as a temporary, part-time lecturer in Criminology in January 2007, became a permanent lecturer in June 2007, and a senior lecturer in 2014.
- Helen's research is largely focused on the subject of roads policing, and has included the controversies surrounding the use of speed cameras to enforce speed limits, ANPR, Community Speed Watch, and Police and Crime Commissioners’ engagement with roads policing issues. She is author of the 2012 book 'The Fast and the Furious: Drivers, speed cameras and control in a risk society' published by Ashgate and based on her PhD research.
- More broadly, Helen is interested in 'the crimes of the law-abiding' - those offences that are committed by large numbers of otherwise law-abiding individuals, including motoring offences, illegal downloading, theft of goods/time from work, and non-problematic drug use, as well as the use of the fixed penalty as a method of punishment more generally. She is particularly interested in exploring the way in which the conceptualisation of harm in 'risk' terms has resulted in the problematisation of not just new behaviours, but whole new populations of 'risky' people.
- Helen has drawn research funding from the private sector (VW, British Nuclear Fuels), local government (Staffordshire County Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Safer Communities Partnership), the police (Staffordshire Police, The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire), the third sector (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Magistrates' Association) and central government (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology).
- Helen has successfully supervised doctoral students studying topics including; fixed penalties and the future of the Magistracy; the longer term effectiveness of an educational alternative to prosecution for drivers caught using their mobile phone while driving; everyday policing in Victorian England.
Full Publications List show
The Fast and the Furious: Drivers, speed cameras and control in a risk society. (1st ed.). Surrey: Ashgate. link>2012.
Grey areas and fine lines: Negotiating Operational Independence in the Era of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Safer Communities, vol. 14(4), 193-202. doi>2015.
Individualism and Identity: Resistance to Speed Cameras in the UK. Surveillance and Society. link>2009.
The Techno-Fix versus the Fair Cop: Procedural (in)justice and automated speed limit enforcement. British Journal of Criminology, vol. 48(6), 798-817. doi>2008.
Risk, Respectability and Responsibilisation: Unintended driver responses to speed limit enforcement. Internet Journal of Criminology.2007.
Is there a place for covert research methods in criminology? A different approach. Graduate Journal of Social Science, vol. 1(1).2004.
Total Place and Alcohol Harm Reduction: Report on Service Recommendations for the Newcastle-under-Lyme Community Safety Partnership.2011.
A Process Evaluation of the Staffordshire Young Driver Coaching Programme Resource Pack. link>2010.
Speed Cameras. Parliamentary Office of Science and TechnologyPOSTnote 218.2004.
- Since 2010 Helen has led the modules Building Safer Communities (formally level 5) and Risk and Criminal Justice (level 6). She has co-led the level 4 module Investigating Crime and has taught on the level 4 Murder module, as well as supervising level 6 dissertations.
- Helen contributes to the MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice, contributing sessions on actuarial justice, technology and justice, and the challenges facing Police and Crime Commissioner. She also supervises Masters dissertations.