Executive Committee

The Executive Committee has overall responsibility for ensuring that the Institute meets its key objectives in relation to research, knowledge transfer, capacity building and long term sustainability.

Profiles of the members of the Executive Committee are presented below.


Director of SIPR

Dr Liz Aston, School of Social Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University

Dr Liz Aston succeeded the Founding Director of SIPR, Professor Nick Fyfe, in June 2018. Liz has been an active member of the SIPR research community since its establishment and is part of the Police-Community Relations Brokering Team. She has an outstanding record of collaborative research on policing both in Scotland and in Europe, including involvement in major international projects on community policing and stop and search. She is also highly experienced in knowledge exchange and in building strong research-practitioner relationships. She is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and was, until her appointment, Head of Social Sciences at Edinburgh Napier.


Associate Directors

Police-Community Relations Network:


Dr Megan O'Neill, University of Dundee
Megan O'Neill is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Dundee and has an extensive background of policing research with a focus on issues of social interaction in policing, both within the organisation and with the public and partners. Her work has included studies of football policing, Black Police Associations, community policing, partnership working and Police Community Support Officers. She is part of the Unity Project, funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme, to study community policing and its adaptation to the new challenges of policing neighbourhoods across the EU. She was appointed as the SIPR Associate Director for the Police-Community Relations Network in August 2018.


Evidence & Investigation Network:

Dr Penny Woolnough, Abertay University
Penny Woolnough is a Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Abertay University in Scotland. A Fellow of the International Academy of Investigative Psychology and a Registered Forensic Psychologist she acts as an Expert Advisor to the UK National Crime Agency and to Police Scotland in relation to missing persons. Her research interests focus on the policing of vulnerable persons and she is currently engaged in projects relating to missing persons, suicide, and public protection. She was appointed as the SIPR Associate Director for the Evidence & Investigation Network in February 2016.


Education and Leadership Network:

Dr Denise Martin, University of the West of Scotland
Denise Martin is currently a Reader in Criminology and Criminal Justice at UWS. She has been conducting research in the field of policing for over 15 years. Following the completion of her Masters she worked as a police research analyst before completing her PhD on New Public Management and organisational reform in police. Other research includes research into the policing of protest, policing and school violence reduction, prevent strategies and emergency service collaboration. Denise has been working closely with Police Scotland on their policing pathways project since 2014. She has a keen interest in workforce development and professionalization of policing particularly in light of existing challenges. She became Associate Director for the Education and Leadership in October 2016.


Public Protection Network:

Professor Lesley McMillan, Glasgow Caledonian University
Lesley McMillan is Professor of Criminology and Sociology at GCU, and was appointed SIPR Associate Director for the Public Protection Network in 2015. Her research interests surround gender inequality and crime and justice. In particular she is interested in gendered and sexual violence and the statutory and non-statutory response to it. Currently she is supervising 6 PhD students on a variety of topics relating to crime and justice, including: policing rape; stalking; criminal justice policy transfer in relation to violence; police initiatives to tackle youth crime; the legal defences available to women who kill violent partners; and rape as a war crime.


Police Service of Scotland representatives

Fiona Taylor, Deputy Chief Constable, Police Scotland

Fiona Tylor was appointed as Deputy Chief Constable, Professionalism, Police Scotland, in August 2018. DCC Taylor has over 24 years of experience serving as a senior officer with Lincolnshire Police, Lothian & Borders Police, Strathclyde Police and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Prior to leaving the MPS in December 2017, Fiona was Temporary Assistant Commissioner for Professionalism with strategic oversight and leadership of the Directorate of Professional Standards, Met Training, the Serious Crime Review Group and Operational Support Services. 

David Page, Deputy Chief Officer, Police Scotland

David Page joined Police Scotland in 2016. He is responsible for Corporate Services, Strategy and Change. He began his career in the British Army serving in Military Intelligence for ten years before leaving to join the Financial Services sector in Scotland. He has held senior Director, Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer roles across a number of businesses including The Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life.

DCC Malcolm Graham, Strategy and Innovation, Police Scotland

DCC Malcolm Graham was promoted to his current senior position in May 2019. Prior to that, in August 2016, he was appointed ACC Strategic Change with responsibility for Policing 2026, developing a long term strategy for policing in Scotland. This led the unprecedented nationwide public consultation on the draft Policing 2026 Strategy for delivering sustained excellence in service and protection for the people of Scotland.

Superintendent Ian Thomson, Police Scotland

Superintendent Ian Thomson, Police Scotland originally joined Strathclyde Police in 1994.  Ian heads up the National Stop and Search Unit and has responsibility for National Violence Prevention. Ian helped to establish the Research and Evaluation Operational Review Group (REORG), which has played a vital role in delivering changes and developing operational policing in Scotland in relation to the policy and practice of stop and search. Ian is passionate about promoting Wellbeing, and through his role as a Police Scotland Wellbeing Champion often speaks publically about his own experience on Mental Health, encouraging others to do the same.

Hugh Grover, Scottish Police Authority

Hugh Grover took over as Chief Executive and Accountable Officer on 5 November 2018. He has over 25-years-experience working across the public sector. From 2012 to 2017 Mr Grover led the development and implementation of an innovative new investment company responsible for the management of London's 33 local authority pension assets worth £35bn, serving as the organisation’s first Chief Executive from 2015. Prior to this, Mr Grover was a Policy Director overseeing finance, performance and procurement on behalf the UK capital’s local councils. His other experience includes working in central UK government departments and agencies.

Mr Grover has an MBA and Diploma from Imperial College London and holds Fellowships with the Chartered Management Institute and the Royal Society of Arts.

Tom Nelson, Scottish Police Authority

Tom Nelson has been a Forensic Scientist for 25 years. Fifteen of those years were spent with the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory. He started work in chemistry but later developed an expertise in fire investigation. He has also worked extensively in the paint, glass and general chemistry departments. He has been heavily involved in shaping the new forensic service over the past few years. Tom previously held the post of head of Lothian Borders Police Forensic Science Support Department and has recently been appointed Director of the new Scottish Forensic Science Service.

Barry Sellers, Scottish Police Authority

Barry’s career is best described as the development and delivery of strategic change. After graduating from Glasgow University, Barry started his career as an officer in the Royal Navy, during which time he joined NATO in a senior post with responsibility for the combat readiness of the NATO Response Force, before joining NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board where he led the development of the Future Strategy for Health and Social Care known as Moving Forward Together.  He joined the Authority in January 2019. Barry is a trustee of Foundation Scotland, an independent charity established to strengthen local communities by providing a source of funding to community led projects the length and breadth of Scotland. 


Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research representative:

Dr Sarah Armstrong, University of Glasgow

Sarah Armstrong is Senior Research Fellow based at Glasgow University. Her research interests revolve around prisons and punishment: policy processes that shape and sustain them; language practices that inform and construct them; market and governance forces that expand and contain them.


Business and Knowledge Transfer Manager, SIPR:

Tim Heilbronn, School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee


Tim has a background in Life Sciences, and more than 30 years experience working in a high quality research environment, 11 of which were as the first point of contact as Deputy Head of Scientific Liaison and Information Services at the Scottish Crop Research Institute. 

He joined SIPR as its first employee in 2007, and has embraced the change from "Crops to Cops!"