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Witnessing Psychology

An event organised by the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)

The Open University in London
Friday 31 May 2013, 18:30-20:30

The Open University in Scotland
Saturday 22 June 2013, 11:00-13:00
Saturday 22 June 2013, 14:30-16:30

The Open University invites you to consider whether witnesses to crimes can really remember 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth'.

In this interactive event, hosted by the Forensic Cognition Research Group, you will learn about research into attention, memory, and suggestibility. You will discover what witnesses can and can't do, and also learn how psychology and technology are being used together to improve police investigations and help witnesses to give the best possible evidence.


Prof Graham Pike


Dr Gemma Briggs


The Open University in London
1-11 Hawley Crescent
Camden Town
London NW1 8NP

The Open University in Scotland
Jennie Lee House
10 Drumsheugh Gardens
Edinburgh EH3 7QJ

How Corrupt is Britain?

Friday 10 May 2013, 09:30-17:00
University of Liverpool

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies together with the University of Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice, is organising a conference entitled How corrupt is Britain?. The event will take place on Friday 10 May 2013, 09:30-17:00, at the University of Liverpool where campaigners, academics, key public figures and journalists will explore how we should tackle the corruption of public life in Britain.

For further information please visit the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies website.

Download the conference poster (PDF document, 90 KB)

Restorative Justice Seminar

24 September 2012, 12:15-16:00
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK67 6AA
Michael Young Building, Meeting Rooms 1 & 2 Lower Ground Floor

Discussion Seminar: Current Debates in Restorative Justice Practice and Theory

Facilitated by Prof Loraine Gelsthorpe & Dr Deborah Drake

This session will be a critical conversation amongst academics and youth justice practitioners about Restorative Justice (RJ) in the context of Youth Justice. It will include some consideration of the evidence for the expanding use of RJ, its potential benefits, but also its pitfalls.

Prof Loraine Gelsthorpe (University of Cambridge) has carried out a number of research studies since the mid-1980s, including work on police decision-making with regard to juvenile offenders; the operation of multi-agency juvenile panels; the role of the Crown Prosecution Service in juvenile justice; gender issues in juvenile justice. She has also written about the prospects and pitfalls for restorative youth justice.

Dr Deborah Drake (The Open University) has mainly conducted research on different aspects of imprisonment, specifically in the areas of resettlement, maximum-security and long-term imprisonment, and secure settings for children. She has had first-hand experience of restorative justice processes (as an observer) in Canada, whilst undertaking research with adult men returning to society after long-term imprisonment.


12:15-13:30 Lunch
13:30-16:00 Discussion/Seminar

Convenors: Dr Deborah Drake, Lecturer in Criminology; Dr Ross Fergusson, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy; Mr Lee Westlake, MK Youth Offending Team Manager

Ideas Exchange - ICCCR and CCJS partnership event

29 September 2011

We hosted a well attended event to cement and celebrate our new collaborative partnership on 29 September at The Open University in London. As you will see from the programme below, we all gave brief presentations of the research that is on-going in each of the Centres in order to get to know each others work in more depth. We had drinks and nibbles to finish off the afternoon's work.

Part one - Introductions

15.30 ICCCR introduction (Louise Westmarland)
15:40 CCJS introduction (Richard Garside)

Part two - Presentations

Chair: Louise Westmarland

15:50 ICCCR presentation 1: Youth justice (Deb Drake and Ross Fergusson)
16:00 Question and Answers
16:10 CCJS presentation 1: Policy, practice and public engagement (Richard Garside)
16:20 Question and Answers
16:30 ICCCR presentation 2: Making evidence fairer (Hayley Ness)
16:40 Question and Answers

Part three - Presentations

Chair: Richard Garside

16:50 CCJS presentation 2: Criminalisation and social harm (Roger Grimshaw)
17:00 Question and Answers
17:10 ICCCR presentation 3: Corruption and control: Researching police and prisons (Deborah
Drake and Louise Westmarland)
17:20 Question and Answers
17:30 CCJS presentation 3: Evidence base and public interest (Will McMahon)
17:40 Questions and Answers

Part four - Conclusions

Chair: Graham Pike

17:50 Final thoughts and reflections. Close of formal session
18:00 Information discussion over drinks and refreshments
19:30 Close

Criminal Justice in Scotland: Current State and Future Directions

Thursday, 10 February 2011, 13:30-16:30
Seminar - By invitation only

Following the publication in late 2010 of Criminal Justice in Scotland edited by Croall, Mooney and Munro (Willan/Routledge), The Open University in Scotland along with the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University and CjScotland hosted this Seminar to develop thinking around the key themes in the book, namely the relationships between crime, inequalities, criminal and social justice and the distinctiveness or otherwise of Scottish criminal justice. It sought to provide an opportunity for informed debate and discussion about the current state of criminal justice in Scotland and its likely directions following the UK General Election of 2010 and more significantly the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2011. What are the strengths of criminal justice in Scotland? What are the main problems with it - and what changes are desirable - and achievable?

Seminar Programme (PDF document, 24 KB)

ICCCR/IARS - Strategic Discussion on the Future of Restorative Justice in the UK

22 November 2010
This event is by invitation only

All ICCCR members are cordially invited to attend a closed, strategic discussion on the future of restorative justice in the UK.

The event, hosted jointly by the Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS) and the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR), aims to bring together around 25 key stakeholders in the restorative justice field including policymakers (e.g. Home Office, Youth Justice Board), academics, funders and senior practitioners.

The current policy, political and economic climate, and the proposed legislation and institutional changes provide a unique opportunity to discuss strategically about the next steps for the restorative justice movement in the UK.

ICCCR Seminar Series

Education for Young People in Custody in England: Reflections on Policy and Practice

Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Seminar - The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes

Speaker: Dr Caroline Lanskey

In April 2010 local authorities took over responsibility for the education of young people in Young Offender Institutions and Secure Training Centres in England. The recent legislative changes provided a timely opportunity for reflection on the provision of education for young people in secure institutions in this country. Drawing on examples from recent policy and research the paper reflected on tensions in the relationship between educational and penal agenda, with particular regard to notions of 'punishment' and 'citizenship' and the classification of young people as 'offenders'.

Special theme: Visual evidence

Friday, 11 June 2010
Jury Symposium - The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes

This one-day symposium on visual evidence aimed to bring together psychologists, legal professionals and expert witnesses to discuss issues concerning the presentation of scientific evidence in Court. The symposium discussed issues concerning all aspects of visual evidence (e.g. CCTV, computer animations and simulations). Of particular interest were the role of the expert witness; how visual evidence is described to a jury; what impact visual evidence has on decisionmaking and whether presenting certain types of evidence visually is prejudicial or facilitative.

Specific talks included:

  • Juror perceptions of crime scene re-enactments
  • Brain imaging and the law
  • The use of video clips in sentence hearings in the US
  • 3D visualisations of crime scenes
  • Expert testimony and forensic facial evidence
  • Surveillance footage as evidence in 1935
  • The 'CSI' effect
  • Multi-sensory law
  • Visual evidence from a legal perspective

Speakers included: Prof Gerry Derksen, Department of Design, Winthrop University; Dr Colette Brunschwig, Department of Law, University of Zurich; Prof Burkhard Schafer, Department of Law, Edinburgh University; Prof Richard Neave, Practitioner in forensic face and body mapping; Dr Minhua Eunice Ma, School of Computing, University of Derby; Dr Rhonda Wheate, School of Law, Glasgow Caledonian University; Dr Chris Williams, Department of History, Open University; Dr Graham Pike, Department of Psychology, Open University.

Climate Change, Crimes and Conflicts

Wednesday, 25 March 2010
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes

Speaker: Prof Nigel South

Nigel South is Professor in the Department of Sociology, a member of the Human Rights Centre, and currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Law and Management at the University of Essex, COLCHESTER, UK. He has previously taught in London and New York. His research interests include green criminology; drug use, health and crime; inequalities, crime and citizenship; and theoretical and comparative criminology. He has served on various editorial boards and continues to serve on the international editorial board of Critical Criminology and as an editor of the journal, Deviant Behaviour.

Engaging to 'Prevent': Case studies on anti radicalisation and hate crimes

Wednesday, 25 November 2009
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes

Speaker: Dr Joanna Adler

This was a two pronged seminar considering work on preventing violent extremism and on hate crimes. Dr Joanna R. Adler, Forensic Psychologist, from Middlesex University outlined some research in progress and previous projects. She facilitated discussion about the practicalities and ethics of engaging with government core strategies and the roles of psychology, criminology and social policy in such processes.

Policing the British Empire in the 19th and 20th Century

16-17 September 2009
Workshop - The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes

This was the first in the series of four workshops examining imperial policing within a European context. These workshops were held in collaboration with the GERN.


International Conference on leadership and standards in the police service

14 January 2013
Portcullis House, House of Commons, London

Dr Louise Westmarland presented the Police Integrity Report to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee at the International Conference on leadership and standards in the police service.

Download the ICCCR Police Integrity Report (PDF document, 600 KB)

9th ICCCR Annual Conference 2012
Resisting the Eclipse: An International Symposium on Prison Ethnography

18-19 September 2012
The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Are reports of the demise of prison ethnography exaggerated? Find out at this international gathering of prison researchers. Speakers, panels and workshops will explore what prison ethnography has got to offer in an era of mass incarceration.

Symposium organisers

Deborah Drake, Rod Earle, Abigail Rowe (ICCCR, The Open University)
Andrew Jefferson and Tomas Martin (Global Prisons Research Network)
Jennifer Sloan (University of Sheffield)

Further information about the 2012 ICCCR conference Resisting the Eclipse: An International Symposium on Prison Ethnography and conference highlights.

8th ICCCR Annual Conference
Constructions of Evidence

7-8 July 2011
The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

The International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research held its annual conference at The Open University on 7 and 8 July 2011. The theme of the conference was 'Constructions of Evidence' and the emphasis was on legal evidence. One of the aims of the conference was to foster new collaborations, so the conference welcomed contributions from both academics and practitioners in a wide range of disciplines including law, psychology, computing, engineering, social sciences and humanities. The 2011 ICCCR annual conference was a huge success and will lead to many future publications and collaborations.

7th Annual Conference
Ethnicity, Crime and Justice; Contemporary and Historical Perspectives

8-9 June 2010
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes

This two day conference on 'Ethnicity, Crime and Justice; Contemporary and Historical Perspectives' aimed to bring historians and criminologists together around common themes. The conference partly came out of a recent ESRC-funded research project on ethnicity, crime and justice in England in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and the desire of Peter King and John Carter Wood, who are writing a book out of this research, to bring together historians and criminologists working in this field.

The conference began with overview papers - by two speakers who have recently written general texts in the area of research - one an historian and the other a criminologist. This was followed by sessions on a range of topics - policing, prisons, hate crime etc and by sessions looking more specifically at the treatment of black offenders/victims and at Irish and Jewish minorities and their experience of the criminal justice system in the past.

The main focus was research on Britain but speakers from Africa, North America and France brought a broader geographical range. The aim was to have 2 or 3 25 -30 minute papers and then allow plenty of time for discussion in each of the 6 consecutive sessions.

Speakers included: Coretta Phillips, Marty Wiener, Paul Iganski, and Rene levy

Homicide: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives

Friday, 4 December 2009, 10:00-16:30
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes

The European Centre for the Study of Crime, Policing and Justice at the Open University hosted a one-day Conference. Five papers were presented; full details are given on the programme.

6th Annual Conference
Deviance, Crime and Prevention in a Punitive Age (EU funded)

17-19 June 2009

As part of a consortium from 10 European countries ICCCR hosted the final in a series of conferences on Deviance, Crime and Prevention in Europe.

The aim of CRIMPREV, over the course of three years, is to provide an overall assessment of the current knowledge of crime, crime prevention and deviance in Europe. The CRIMPREV consortium is made up of 31 universities and research institutes spread across Europe from 10 European countries. The Open University's ICCCR (International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research) is one of four British university-based research groups in the consortium. The work of CRIMPREV has been broken into six carefully structured work packages:

  • Factors of Deviant Behaviours
  • Criminalisation
  • Perceptions of Crime
  • Interactions (between different forms of deviance, organised crime etc)
  • Public Policies of Prevention
  • Methodology and Good Practices Guidelines

Conference Programme (PDF document, 36 KB)

Research-Practice Conference
Lost in Application: Child Witnesses and Psychological Research on Trial

10 June 2009
Hilton Hotel, Timbold Drive, Kents Hill Park, Milton Keynes

Plese visit the website for information about the conference and the Lost in Application Research-Practice Network.

5th Annual Conference
The Metropolis on Trial

10-12 July 2008

This 3 day conference celebrated the completion of the Old Bailey online project. Proceedings of the Old Bailey from 1674 to 1834 but also those of its successor, the Central Criminal Court, from 1834 to 1913 are now available on the Old Bailey Online website.

Speakers included Carloyn Conley (Alabama), Martin Weiner (Rice), Bob Shoemaker (Sheffield), Peter King (Open), Patrick Curran QC, Bruce Holder QC , James Sharpe (York)

4th Annual Conference
The Progressive Prison? Historical Narratives; Contemporary realities

21-22 June 2007

Speakers included Alison Liebling (Cambridge), Richard Sparks (Edinburgh), Joe Sim (Liverpool), Pat Carlen (Keele).

3rd Annual Conference
Youth Justice and the Antisocial

31 March 2006

This one day conference critically explored the impact of antisocial behaviour legislation in England and Wales and Scotland. Key note speakers included Rod Morgan (YJB), Lesley McAra (Edinburgh), Jim Whitfield (ICCCR), Bill Pitt (Respect Task Force) and Matt Foot (ASBOConcern).

2nd Annual Conference
New Directions in Community Safety

3 December 2004

The one-day conference New Directions in Community Safety was organised in conjunction with the British Society of Criminology and Birmingham CityPride. Its main aim was to critically interrogate contemporary community safety practice, policy, theory and research. Key note speakers included Peter Neyroud (Thames Valley Police), Rene van Swaaningen (Rotterdam) and Ian Loader (Oxford).

Inaugural Conference
The Persistent Prison

12-13 December 2003

The inaugural conference of the ICCCR - 'The Persistent Prison' was held at Walton Hall on 12 and 13 December 2003. It aimed to interrogate the fundamental assumptions behind the continued use of the prison as the primary form of punishment in the United Kingdom, and to bring together academics and policy makers in a frank discussion of its future. Academic speakers included Prof. Pieter Spierenburg (Erasmus University) and Prof. Michael Hough (King's College, London University). Practitioners speaking included Rod Morgan (HM Chief Inspector of Probation) and Martin Narey (Home Office Commissioner for Correctional Services).

Day 1
Day 2

The conference proceedings have been published by Francis Boutle.

Selected seminars and lectures

2 April 2009 - Ending violent careers: Stories from Milan and Moss Side
Speaker: Dr Phil Edwards

26 February 2009 - The Abolition of Capital Punishment in Britain: Political, Cultural and Penal Change in the Mid-Twentieth Century
Speaker: Prof Tim Newburn

13 November 2008 - 'Let it be? Researching Russia's Hidden Penal Community'
Speaker: Dr Laura Piacentini

25 April 2008 - Controlling the streets 1890-1970
Speakers included: Margo de Koster (Louvain, Belgium) and Maureen Scollan (The Open University)

17 April 2008 - Public Criminology
Speaker: Ian Loader (Oxford)

12 December 2007 - Histories of Crime and the Media

13 March 2007 - Policing Modern Hungary
Speakers: Zsuzsa Tolnai (Hungarian Police College), Mark Pittaway (The Open University)

16 February 2007 - Policing and Violence After and Between Wars
Speakers: Clive Emsley (The Open University), Stefan Nyzell (University of Malmo), Louise Jackson (University of Edinburgh), J Carter Wood (The Open University)

1 December 2006 - Moral Panics, News Media and the Law in Eighteenth Century England
Speakers: David Lemming (All Soul's College, Oxford)

20 October 2006 - Policing, Crime and Space in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Speakers: Chris Williams (The Open University), Mike Esbester (University of Reading), Colin Chant (The Open University), Maureen Scollan (The Open University)

19 October 2006 - Duelling, the Press and the Law in late Eighteenth Century England
Speaker: Donna Andres (University of Guelph, Toronto)

13 July 2006 - Community Policing and the Antisocial (ESRC funded)
Speakers included Elizabeth Burney (Cambridge) and Gordon Hughes (Cardiff)

10 April 2006- Juvenile Rescue and Reform: historical and contemporary perspectives.
Speakers included: Peter King (ICCCR), Abi Wills (Oxford), and Pam Cox (Essex)

10 February 2006 - Policing and Punishment in Inter-War Europe
Speakers included Clive Emsley (ICCCR) and Stef Slater, (Royal Holloway College)

17 January 2006 English Law and Scottish Masters
Prof Douglas Hay (Osgoode Law School, Toronto)

18 January, 2005 - Transnational Crime: Its Nature, Threats and Mitigation
Rob McCusker (Institute of Criminology, Australia)

18 June 2004 - Heritage and History of the UK Criminal Justice System
This one-day conference brought together academics and practitioners to discuss a wide variety of intellectual and policy issues pertaining to the preservation of police records and their communication to the public. The conference proceedings - Giving the Past a Future - have been published by Francis Boutle.

15 June 2004 - The Uncertain Promise of Risk
The ICCCR held the first in a series of public lectures on 15 June at the Open University's Walton Hall Campus. Prof Pat O'Malley, Canada Research Chair in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Carleton University, Ottawa, spoke on 'The Uncertain Promise of Risk', discussing different examples of policies using risk management from around the world, with a particular focus on governing the drugs problem.

4 May 2004 - Eliciting information from eyewitnesses and victims of crime
This conference was funded by the British Psychological Society.

Last updated: 17 September 2015

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss your research or potential projects with someone from the Centre, please feel free to approach the Director, Dr Louise Westmarland by phone 01908 652462 or via email