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.


Knowledge Exchange and Business Manager, SIPR

Monica Boyle, School of Social Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University

Monica Boyle joined the SIPR team in July 2019 from the Australian National University where she was the Manager of the College of Arts and Social Sciences' Research Office.

In addition to her undergraduate study in Psychology, Monica is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh where she received a Masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Monica has worked across a variety of sectors including private research consultancy, NGOs, and the Scottish Government’s Justice Analytical Services. She has spent the last eight years in Australia where, in addition to her work with the ANU, she also worked with the Australian Commonwealth Department of Social Services and with the Australian Institute of Criminology where she managed the National Deaths in Custody and National Police Custody programs.


Associate Directors

Police-Community Relations Network:

Dr Megan O'Neill, University of Dundee

Megan O'Neill is a Reader 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:

Professor Denise Martin, Abertay University

Denise Martin has been Professor of Criminology at Abertay University since 2019.  Prior to this she worked at a number of insitutions including the Open University, UWS, University of Brighton and Middlsex University.  Her main research interests are in the area of policing and penology.  She has been involved in a range of research projects and evalutations and worked with a range of agencies, including the Home Office, Scottish Prison Service, Police Scotland, Mayors Office for Policing and Crime and National Police Chieif Council.  She is specifically interested in the intersection and Law Enforcement and Public Health and is part of the Special Interest Group for Education for GLEPHA.  She has been the Associate Director of the Education and Leadership Network for the Scottish Institute of Police Research since 2016 and is interested in Police Learning and Development and organisational culture and change.


Public Protection Network:

Professor Lesley McMillan, Glasgow Caledonian University

Lesley McMillan is Professor of Criminology and Sociology at Glasgow Caledonian University; she is SIPR Associate Director for the Public Protection Network. Her research interests surround gender inequality and crime and justice. In particular, she is interested in institutional responses to gendered and sexual violence, including policing, forensic medical examination and evidence, and victim experience. She also has a research interest in violence prevention, and the use and role of technology in sexual violence perpetration, intervention and prevention. She has an ongoing interest in missing persons, adult protection and mental health, and is a qualified BACP psychotherapist.


Police Scotland representatives

ACC Gary Ritchie, Partnership and Prevention, Police Scotland

As Assistant Chief Constable Operational Change & Resilience, and Partnerships, Prevention and Community Wellbeing, ACC Ritchie is responsible for the Digitally Enabled Policing Programme and Strategic Design Authority.

Before taking up his current post ACC Ritchie had been working in the Operational Change and Resilience portfolio since late 2018, having been seconded from his role as Local Policing Commander at Dumfries and Galloway Division.

He had been promoted to Chief Superintendent at Dumfries and Galloway in 2016, having previously been a support superintendent in Edinburgh. On inception of Police Scotland, Chief Superintendent Ritchie led the Local Policing Development and Support team as both a temporary and substantive Superintendent from 2013 to 2015.

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.


Scottish Police Authority Representatives

Tom Nelson, Director of Forensic Services, 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 Sillers, Director of Strategy, 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 Alistair Fraser

Alistair Fraser is the Director of SCCJR and Senior Lecturer in Criminology based at the University of Glasgow. His work focuses on three main areas: youth, gangs and street culture; urban ethnography and qualitative methods; and global and comparative criminology. His first book, ‘Urban Legends: Gang Identity in the Post-Industrial City’ (2015, Oxford University Press) was co-awarded the British Society of Criminology Book Prize and shortlisted for the BBC/BSA ‘Thinking Allowed’ Award for Ethnography. His second book, ‘Gangs & Crime: Critical Alternatives’, was published in 2017 by Sage. He has received funding from the ESRC, RGC (Hong Kong), British Academy and Scottish Government. From 2017-2018, Alistair was one of the BBC’s ‘New Generation Thinkers’ and collaborated with BBC producers to create a series of broadcasts on themes of youth and gangs. Most recently, Alistair was lead author on a major new report with SCCJR colleagues on the ‘Community Experiences of Serious Organised Crime in Scotland’.