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 is the Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and an Associate Professor of Criminology at Edinburgh Napier University. Recently Liz was appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to establish and Chair an Independent Advisory Group on New and Emerging Technologies in Policing. She is the co-editor of Palgrave's Critical Policing Studies Series. Dr Aston sits on the International Advisory Board for the N8 Policing Research Partnership, the Governance Board of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, and is a member of various Police Scotland advisory/reference groups, including the Drug Strategy Board, Naloxone Delivery Steering Group, and until 2019 chaired the Cyber Kiosks External Reference Group.

Liz's research expertise centres on local policing, and she is developing work on the intersect between policing and drugs, and technology in policing. She has recently been awarded an ESRC Open Call Grant as PI for INTERACT (Investigating New Types of Engagement, Response and Contact Technologies in Policing). She is the co-lead for the Governance Working Group in the European Police Stops COST Action as well as joint work package leader on ‘Unity’, a €4.6 million Horizon 2020 EC funded project on Community Policing, technology and co-operation between the police and public.


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.

Kirsty-Louise Campbell, Head of Strategy Insight and Innovation, Police Scotland

Kirsty-Louise Campbell, Head of Strategy and Innovation at Police Scotland, is an experienced leader, developing successful strategy, insight, innovation and transformation across a number of sectors.  Experience includes leading the successful re-design and transformation of a major public sector body and leading award winning strategy and insight services.  In Police Scotland, Kirsty-Louise has developed the overarching strategic outcomes for policing along with new strategies for public contact and engagement and cyber along with building capability and capacity in policing for public engagement, insight and innovation. 


Scottish Police Authority Representatives

Tom Nelson, Director of Forensic Services, Scottish Police Authority
Tom has been a forensic scientist for more than 40 years and is a graduate of the Royal Society of Chemistry beginning his career at the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory where he developed a specialism in fire investigation and chemical analysis. In 1995, Tom moved to Scotland and later became Director of the Lothian and Borders Police Forensic Science Laboratory.

Tom was then appointed Director of the Forensic Services Scottish Police Service Authority (SPSA) in 2007 and worked with the Scottish Government, ACPOS, and the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service to establish a 'crime-scene-to-court' model.    The unique Forensic Services SPA crime scene-to-court model provides robust support to the delivery of justice. A ‘sterile corridor’ is also in place between Forensic Services SPA and Police Scotland – which ensures impartiality and independence – key values in delivering forensic services throughout the criminal justice system. 

Tom transferred across to the Scottish Police Authority as Director of Forensic Services when the SPA was formed on 1 April 2013, and is also a former President of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, an international professional forensic body with members in more than 60 countries. Forensic Services SPA deliver world-leading Forensic Services with approx 500 highly-trained and skilled scientists and staff operating from four main laboratory sites in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and at the Scottish Crime Campus in Gartcosh with Scene Examination based 

Amanda Coulthard, Head of Strategy and Performance, Scottish Police Authority

 Amanda joined the Authority in February 2021 from a role in West Dunbartonshire Council as the performance advisor to the Chief Executive and Elected Members, leading a team responsible for: Strategic Planning & Performance; Data Analysis; Policy; Consultation & Engagement; Equalities; Community Planning; Partnerships and Local Scrutiny.  As the Head of Strategy & Performance for the SPA Amanda leads the Authority’s approach to developing and reviewing the national policing strategy, maintaining a system of performance assurance and reporting to support best value and maintaining public confidence in policing.

Amanda specialises in Strategic Planning; Performance Management & Analytics; Consultation & Engagement; Partnership & Collaboration; and Equalities. Amanda’s career has been spent in the public sector, working across Local Government, NHS and Non-Departmental Public Bodies. In addition, Amanda has held a number of non-executive public and voluntary appointments including Non-Executive Director of NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.


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’.