Procedural justice as a reward to the compliant: an ethnography of police–citizen interaction in police custody

Dr Leanne Savigar-Shaw‘s – Lecturer in Policing – author journal on Procedural justice as a reward to the compliant: an ethnography of police–citizen interaction in police custody is now available on Taylor and Francis here

The “paper contributes to the literature on Procedural Justice Theory (PJT) by exploring its capacity to explain the dynamic interactions between police and citizens within the context of police detention.”

The application of tape lifting for microplastic pollution monitoring

Professor Claire Gwinnett (lecturer in Forensics and Director for the Centre for Crime Justice and Security), Amy Osborne (PhD Researcher) and Andrew Jackson (Emeritus Professor) have had paper published, called ‘The application of tape lifting for microplastic pollution monitoring.

Claire said it ‘is a study where we have tested the use of a tape created and patented at Staffordshire University for forensic crime scene work for the us of microplastic recovery’.

 

You can read ‘The application of tape lifting for microplastic pollution monitoring’ on Science Direct, here

First year Offender Management Student Visits Stoke Youth Offending Services for Research

Shabana Butt is a first year Criminal Justice with Offender Management student at Staffordshire University and is interested in working with young offenders when she graduates. In order to prepare for her second year research project, Shabana visited the Stoke-on-Trent Youth Offending Services and she shares how informative the visit was. 

My name is Shabana, and I have just completed my first year on the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice with Offender Management course. To prepare for my second year I decided to make an early start on my research project, which I need to do in semester one in September. I had to choose a topic connected to criminal justice and undertake some research to write the research project. I am interested in working with young offenders, so I went to visit Liberty House, Marsden St, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, which is the Youth Offending Services local office. Fortunately, I was offered a warm welcome and promised a meeting with Rob Morray who is one of the managers of the Stoke on Trent Service.

I was a bit nervous, so I asked my academic mentor, Louis Martin, to come along with me for some support and to take notes for me during the meeting.  I met with Rob and he explained how youth services are delivered in Stoke on Trent. Rob told me the history of how the youth service developed in Stoke and some of the interventions provided for young people who had been referred by the police, social services, and the Court. The team even visited young people in YOI (Young Offender Institution) Werrington. Rob explained how important it was that young people are diverted away from criminal behaviour and substance misuse. He was very experienced and saw the benefits of children being treated like children and not stereotyped as deviant or simply criminals. The team works with young people and takes them out on outdoor activities such as mountain climbing and potholing. Rob emphasised the importance of sports and healthy activities to distract the young people from gangs and getting involved in dealing controlled substances and county lines.

I spoke to Dianne and Keith who were members of the Youth Offending Team and were currently working as court officers. Their main roles included:  helping young people at the police station if they were arrested, writing reports, and supporting young people and their families at court, supervising young people serving a community sentence and visiting young people if they are sentenced to custody.

Dianne and Keith talked about their experiences working in YOIs and going to Court for the Youth Offending Service. The team were very experienced and explained the process where their aim was to keep children out of the criminal justice system. The team at Stoke are very caring and passionate about their job and the service they provide. I would like to use the knowledge provided by my course at Staffordshire University to work with children and young people in Stoke on Trent after I graduate. I am really pleased that I had the courage to walk into Liberty House and ask for some information. I think many students will be surprised how helpful professionals who work in the criminal justice sector can be in sharing information about their roles and what they do. For readers who are interested in this area of criminal justice here are some links I have been using to find out more information about Youth Justice:

 

 

The UK Parliament on the International Day of Parliamentarism

The 30th June is the International Day of Parlimentarism. Established by the United Nations and celebrated on this day every year, the day ‘is a time to review the progress that parliaments have made in achieving some key goals to be more representative and move with the times, including carrying out self-assessments, working to include more women and young MPs, and adapting to new technologies (un.org).’ In relation to this, Dr John McGarry, Senior Law Lecturer, discusses the UK Parliament.

On International Day of Parliamentarism it is appropriate to recognise the central and preeminent role that the UK Parliament plays in the legal and political landscape of the country. Parliament comprises three bodies: the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Monarch. It is sometimes, more formally known as the Queen in Parliament. The House of Commons is made up of 650 directly elected MPs. The House of Lords consists of 700-800 peers which include appointed Life Peers, up to 92 hereditary peers and up to 26 Bishops of the Church of England.

Parliament has a number of roles. First and foremost, it is the UK’s primary legislature which means that it legislates, it creates law. Its powers here are unusual (though not unique) in that it is sovereign which means, in this context, that it may make any law whatsoever. That is, there are no restraints on the legislative power of Parliament. If an Act of Parliament is enacted in the correct way then, regardless of how improper, immoral or unconstitutional it is considered to be, the courts cannot overrule it or strike it out. As I say, this is unusual. In many countries, the law-making competence of the legislature is constrained by the constitution. For instance, in the US, an Act of Congress (roughly the equivalent of an Act of Parliament) may be struck down by the courts if it breaches the Constitution.

Another important role of Parliament is holding the Government to account – obliging the Government to explain and defend its actions and respond appropriately to any criticisms. It is worth emphasising here that Parliament and the Government are two distinct bodies exercising distinct functions. This fact is sometimes lost because it is a rule of the UK constitution that all Ministers – the main political actors of Government – must be a member of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Moreover, the Prime Minister must be a member of the House of Commons (rather than the House of Lords) and is the person who commands – and must maintain – the majority of support in the House of Commons.

This requirement – that the Government is formed from Parliament and must maintain the confidence (the majority of support) of the Commons – is why the UK system of government is parliamentary in nature. It may be contrasted with a presidential system where the head of government is directly elected by voters.

The importance of Parliament’s role in holding the Government to account is demonstrated by it being one of the bases of the Supreme Court’s decision in 2019 that the Government’s attempt to prorogue Parliament for five weeks was unlawful. The Court held that parliamentary accountability – Parliament holding the Government to account –is a fundamental constitutional principle and that this principle would be frustrated by such a lengthy prorogation. So, unless there was a reasonable justification for the five week prorogation, it was unlawful.

The accountability of Government to Parliament occurs in many ways. Undoubtedly, the most well known is Prime Minister’s Question time when the Prime Minister answers questions from MPs about the Government’s actions and decisions. This accountability is facilitated by a number of non-legal rules governing how members of the Government ought to behave. One of the most important is that Ministers must be honest with Parliament. The Ministerial Code – which sets basic standards of ministerial behaviour – states: ‘It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity’. Without this obligation of honesty, Parliament would be seriously hampered in its ability to hold the Government to account.

This, though, raises questions which I will state but not answer. As I have indicated, many of the most important obligations under the UK constitution are non-legal in nature. As such, they rely on those in power knowing, and adhering to, the rules of the game. This is sometimes known as the ‘Good Chaps’ theory of Government – that those in power will act like good chaps (or chapesses) and comply with the non-legal rules. Yet, what happens when those in power no longer feel obliged to comply with these rules? Can Parliament exercise its function of holding the Government to account if the Government no longer feels obliged to, for instance, give accurate and truthful information to Parliament? As I say, this is not a question which I will attempt to answer here. It is, however, an important question and it is one that my colleague Donna Graham, Staffordshire University lecturer, is currently looking at as part of her PhD.

GradEx21

GradEx is the annual graduate exhibition showcasing all of the fantastic work of our final year students to industry experts. This usually takes place on campus, but has taken place online the past two years, due to the pandemic. 

You can view all GradEx entries here, but below are the entries for subjects across the School of Law, Policing and Forensics.

Forensic Investigation and Forensic Science

An evaluation and comparison of LED torches for the use in scene examination

Kathryn Davis’ research evaluated ‘the PIT-LED torch using questionnaires completed by Forensic Investigators at Staffordshire Police and [compared them] with alternative torches focusing on the illumination of fingermarks on various reflective surfaces’.

Assessing the Policies and Processes for Sexual Offences at HEIs

Elliot Parkin’s project assessed ‘the policies and processes for sexual offences at HEIs; recommendations were made to improve these from staff and student responses to questionnaires, interviews and focus groups’.

Can we tell if wildlife have been shot with air weapons or .22 long rifles?

Eva Booth ‘worked with the Zoological Society of London researching methods to determine if birds had been shot with a 22 long rifle or air rifle by examining feathers’ and using a ‘Scanning Electron Microscope with energy dispersive X-ray analysis combined with image analysis to examine areas of damage, and quantity and distribution of areas of heavy elements.’

 

Do 3D-printed firearms pose a threat to the UK and Globally?

Ben Gordon researched ‘revolving 3-Dimensional printed firearms and the threats that may come with them.’ Ben said ‘It is important to conduct this research to bring attention to 3-D printed firearms and how they may be a breach of security. The current knowledge most people have on these 3D guns are either minimal or none, which allows this research to teach people of these uncommon hazards.’

Establishing Pro Forma for the Identification of Migrating Syrian Refugees

Jourdaine Das-Gupta’s ‘research involved creating a specified DVI pro forma for the identification of Syrian refugees, in light of the 6.5 million displaced persons since the Syrian Civil War in 2011. A number of specifying details were identified, and further research ideas were explored.’

Q-TOF LCMS Identification of Decomposition Chemicals in Aquatic Environment

Natalia Ciesielska’s ‘experiment successfully demonstrated that Q-TOF LCMS used for untargeted analysis to identify chemicals of interest released by mouse decomposition in aqueous environments is a powerful detection technique. The untargeted searchers identified complex chemical mixtures, containing 31 chemicals of interest in samples of the mice cadavers submerged in water.’

Reporting of Sexual offences in the Asian Community.

Aiyra Zahid’s project ‘looked at the reasons for under reporting of sexual offences in the Asian community and the stigma surrounding this topic . It utilised the knowledge of those in the community to create strategies of ways in which reporting rates can be increased in the community.’

The effect of menorrhea on persistence of semen in sexual offence victims

For their research, Wiktoria Flos used a ‘gynaecological model to simulate a female victim. Neat semen and mix bodily fluids of neat semen and menorrhea were deposited inside the model and left for 2 and 20 hours.  . The results revealed a statistical difference between the persistence of spermatozoa in neat semen and mix bodily fluids whereas, there was no statistical difference between the two-time frames used within this research.’

The perceptions of the current use of trace evidence, UK.

Lucy Watson’s project is ‘based around gathering the current perceptions (and opinions) of the use of trace evidence, from current practitioners and students, within the UK. This was done with the use of a survey, constructed in Qualtrics, and disseminated through LinkedIn, Twitter, and our own schools Blackboard.’

 

 

 

History and International Studies

How the Trauma of the Irish Famine led to support for the Revolutionary IRB

Helen Lee’s research ‘establish[ed] that the Irish Famine of 1845-52 led to social disruption and emotional trauma on a collective scale, [nurturing] significant working-class support for the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood and their fight for Irish independence’. 

Partners or Property – War interpreters and International Organisations

Aida Haughton said, ‘as a former UN war interpreter in Bosnia, I wanted to explore if what I have been through is anything like the experiences of my colleagues and this paper reveals some shocking details. Invisibility, sexual harassment, and traumatic experiences are some of the topics covered.’

The Genocide of the Kurds, the Halabja Massacre and the Anfal Operations

Nayaz Mohammed’s project looked at the suffering and genocide of the Kurs from 1987-1988: ‘It is well established that the Anfal & Halabja massacre was a series of military operations which were authorized by Saddam Hussein from 1987-1988 during the conclusion of the Iran-Iraq War.The goal of these operations was to fully exterminate the Kurds.’

 

 

 

Law

A Critical Analysis of the Crime of Genocide within International Law

Harry Gabell’s project was ‘an analysis of the main legal issues which are faced when considering the crime of genocide, and with international entities such as States or tribunals which are seeking to prevent and prosecute genocidal crimes, using scholarly articles, the Genocide Convention and ICTY and ICTR jurisprudence.’

 
Fairness in Family court should not require equal rights

Salma Hussein’s project aimed to highlight flaws in family court decisions where ‘parental equality rights are given to all fathers regardless of past parenting involvement [and are] designed to perpetuate the traditional concept of a family unit, despite the far-reaching problems caused to separated families.’

 

Policing

Why Children Between the Ages of 13-18 Go Missing from Home

 

Isobel Dove’s project analysed ‘why children between the ages of 13-18 may go missing from home and identified child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation as possible reasons.’

 

 

 

Sociology, Crime and Terrorism

Can bold and self-assured women succeed in Pakistan?

Nafeesa Mirza’s project aim was to ‘present to a wider audience the struggles that women in Pakistan continue to face, [by] analysing the patriarchal society and the Islamic interpretations of how women should be treated [and] exploring case studies of significant individuals’. 

 

Content Analysis of Gender Stereotypes and Gender Roles in LGBTQ+ Films

‘By utilising a qualitative content analysis [Ellie-May Newton] investigated LGBTQ+ films for their use of  gender stereotypes and analyse[d] how those stereotypes can impact the image of the LGBTQ+ community.’

 

 

 

Eurasia’s pivot towards Cyber Attacks, Psy-Ops and Electronic warfare

 

Christian Etheridge’s research paper focused themes of Eurasian unconventional warfare, exploring examples f Cyber Attacks on Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), Information warfare (Psy-Ops) and Electromagnetic Spectrum manipulation within the context of conflict. 

 

 

 

Mentoring Adults in the Criminal Justice System – What are the Benefits?

Katie Price’s project highlights the benefits of mentoring adults who have experienced the criminal system. Katie concludes that ‘mentors aid with the rehabilitation process by supporting ex-offenders to integrate back in to the community following a custodial sentence.’

Law School Newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest from Staffordshire University’s Law School Newsletter (academic year 2020-2021).

Law Newsletter – December 2020

The first newsletter of the academic year was introduced by Paul Allen, Head of Law, and contained information on student well-being over the Christmas break.

 

 

 

 

Law Newsletter – March 2021

The spring newsletter included an interview with the Dean, Dr Helen Poole, and exciting news about students from APIIT Law School (one of our partners) becoming the first Sr Lankan team to compete in the ICC Paris Commercial Mediation Competition.

 

 

 

Law Newsletter – June 2021

The final newsletter of the academic year shares exciting news from a few of our students, as well as advice and information for getting work experience

 

 

 

 

Are you considering taking SULAC as a module during your final year?

Are you a student at Staffordshire University and considering taking SULAC (Staffordshire University Legal Advice Clinic) as a module during your final year? Emma, a final year Law student shares how choosing the SULAC module has helped develop her confidence and enhance her skills.

I have just completed my final year on the LLB Law at Staffordshire University. During my final year, I undertook SULAC as a module. At the [start] I was very quiet and shy.  

If you are considering a career in practice, whether that be a solicitor or barrister, I would highly recommend SULAC as a module.  

As you already know, in practice you need to communicate with clients, other solicitors, colleagues, judges, barristers and – depending on your field of preference – the jury. You also need to carry out research and draft legal letters. 

During your time in the clinic, you are required to: 

  • Hold interviews with clients,
  • Interact and engage with other students, Tracey, clients and other solicitors and partner organisations. I had an amazing opportunity to work with Woman’s Aid and Lewis Rogers Solicitors.
  • Type up a three day letter and letter of advice
  • Research the area of law relevant to the matter. 

As you can see, you gain and expand upon the skills you need to work in the legal sector, all of which can be mentioned on your CV to make you stand out.  

As previously mentioned, when I first started SULAC I was shy, I hated public speaking and I had no self-[appreciation].  Five or six weeks of clinic [changed that]. Once I put my suit on I felt on top of the world; I spoke publicly, I carried out conflict of interest searches and research tasks confidently and, within a short period of time, I was speaking out in classes. I didn’t fear expressing my opinion or engaging in debates.  

I have an awful lot to thank the clinic and Tracey for. Tracey is so supportive and amazing to work with. It is scary to think that, if I hadn’t participated in clinic, I would have walked out with a degree but no confidence. The clinic will help you in your studies [as well]! I took Family Law as an option module, which is one of the areas of law that clinic helps with. There were times where I had a case for clinic regarding a family law matter and soon afterwards I had a lecture that matched my client’s request.  

As well as working with Lewis Rogers and Woman’s Aid, SULAC gave me [an experience] that I will never forget: the awards evening with the chair of Law Works and the Attorney-General.   

[In] your final year, what you do really does matter, so just remember: 

  • Stay calm
  • Deep breaths
  • The public are turning to you for help, advice and support. People are already looking up to you
  • What you do counts, you are helping the public gain access to legal advice and justice. 
  • Be yourself.
  • Congratulate yourself!
  • Reflect on yourself – I frequently compare how I was in the first year to final year. You will see a huge difference and, believe me, that never goes unnoticed by staff.  
  • Do what feels right for you. 

Finally, I just wanted to say to enjoy your final year: relax (but study) and do what is right for you and your future. A huge well done from me for making it this far.  

Good luck to Emma who is returning in September to complete the LLM in Legal Practice.

 

 

The Inconvenient Truth About Mobile Phone Distraction: Understanding the Means, Motive and Opportunity for Driver Resistance to Legal and Safety Messages

Dr Leanne Savigar-Shaw, Policing Lecturer, has co-written an article on driver distraction with Helen Wells and Gemma Briggs. ‘The Inconvenient Truth About Mobile Phone Distraction: Understanding the Means, Motive and Opportunity for Driver Resistance to Legal and Safety Messages’ is on The British Journal of Criminology here.