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International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice


Director: Professor Paul Lawrence


The International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice aims to promote and facilitate research into criminal justice history around the world and to generate the exchange of ideas between academics, criminal justice practitioners and serving and retired policemen. This is achieved via seminars, conferences, publications and the provision of specialist archive facilities. The Centre has research specialisms in:

  • the history of crime, including the history of violence
  • juvenile delinquency in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
  • the history of policing in Europe from c.1750
  • the history of British colonial policing in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • international (UK) policing, including a focus on contemporary policing
  • the history of the criminal justice system, including issues of access and representation
  • the rights of the poor; poverty and welfare; and the Rule of Law
  • the representation of crime and its punishment in cultural forms, including the media and genres of entertainment
  • the history of punishment, from public bodily punishments to prisons.

The Centre is located within the Arts Faculty of The Open University. Formerly known as the European Centre for the Study of Policing (ECSP), the Centre is linked to the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research, an interdisciplinary research group at the Open University. In addition, the Centre has strong links with the Groupe Européen de Recherche sur les Normativités (GERN) and close connections with the Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Sécurité Intérieure (IHESI), the Arbeitsgruppe zur Polizeigeschichte, and the ARC Centre for Excellence in Policing and Security (CEPS). Recent visiting research staff have come from as far afield America, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Canada and China and the permanent staff at the Centre are always keen to hear of relevant research being conducted world-wide.

Please use the links in the top menu for more information on the Centre's membership, current research projects, events, resources and contact information.

Policeman photo