Outstanding Achievement Award

This award is intended to celebrate outstanding contributions made to the discipline.

How to nominate


The British Society of Criminology is proud to announce that it is awarding its Outstanding Achievement Award 2024 to Professor Tim Newburn, Professor of Criminology and Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, for a four-decade career across practical and academic criminology.

Before joining LSE, Professor Newburn worked at Goldsmiths, University of London (1997-2002); the Policy Studies Institute (1992-97); the National Institute for Social Work (1990-92); the Home Office Research & Planning Unit (1985-90) and the University of Leicester (1982-85).

Professor Newburn’s research has spanned a wide range of areas including policing and security, restorative justice, youth offending, drugs and alcohol, comparative policy making and urban violence. He led on Reading the Riots, the prize-winning research with The Guardian on the 2011 disorder, and, with Professors David Downes and Paul Rock, is currently working on the immense Official History of Criminal Justice.  

Professor Newburn is author, co-author or co-editor of 49 books, 56 articles, 18 official reports and 72 chapters in books introducing pioneering textbooks and handbooks including the popular Criminology (3rd edition, Routledge, 2017) and Criminology: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Professor Newburn was the founding editor of the British Society of Criminology’s journal Criminology & Criminal Justice and is General Editor of Routledge’s Key Ideas in Criminology series, and a series editor of Key Thinkers in Criminology. He was President of the British Society of Criminology from 2005-2008.

The Outstanding Achievement Award is decided following nominations from the British Society of Criminology membership.  One of Professor Newburn’s nominators Professor Adam Crawford, University of York and University of Leeds, said: “Tim is a genuine titan of British criminology whose wide-ranging and prolific work has influenced criminological research in diverse fields of crime control and policing as well as teaching, through his defining student texts and handbooks. His research always epitomises what many aspire to in terms of conceptual depth, empirical rigour and policy relevance. He has provided new generations of scholars with the conceptual tools, intellectual scaffolding and enduring curiosity with which to explore and construct their own endeavours.”

President of the BSC Professor Pamela Davies said: “Tim Newburn has long been, continues to and always will be, an inspiration to the criminological community around the globe.”

The British Society of Criminology’s Outstanding Achievement Award will be marked by an event during the Society’s annual conference hosted in conjunction with the University of Strathclyde in July.


The British Society of Criminology is proud to announce that it is awarding its Outstanding Achievement Award 2023 to Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe, Emerita Professor at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge for her extensive and wide-ranging research on criminological  topics, enhancing the discipline’s interests on the national and international stage.

A former social worker for a brief period, Professor Gelsthorpe has wide interests in the links between criminal justice and social justice, looking at race, gender and social exclusion, women and sentencing, and women, crime and criminal justice more generally. Her research includes a focus on the effectiveness of youth and community penalties and on pre-sentence reports. She also has a strong interest in research methodologies and research ethics; human trafficking and the criminalisation of migrants, and self-inflicted deaths under community supervision.

During her career, Professor Gelsthorpe has worked at the University of Lancaster, UCNW (Bangor) and at the LSE, which involved work with the Metropolitan Police and London boroughs on diversion from prosecution; men’s prisons in the Midlands, and race and gender issues in pre-sentence reports respectively. She began working for the University of Cambridge in 1991 and was the first female Director of the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge from 2017-2022. 

Professor Gelsthorpe sits on various government advisory committees (including HM Chief Inspector of Probation’s Advisory Committee) and was one of two Deputy Chairs of the 2021 REF exercise (Social Policy/Social Work sub-panel 20). She was President of the British Society of Criminology 2011 – 2015. With Professor Michele Burman (University of Glasgow), she chairs the European Society of Criminology’s Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice Working Group and is co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Criminology & Criminal Justice. She became Chair of the Probation Institute in April of this year.

Professor Gelsthorpe is a psychoanalytical psychotherapist in her spare time, and a trustee of Pembroke House, a community centre in Walworth, South London.

President of the BSC Professor Sandra Walklate said: “To my mind there is no one more deserving of this award and the recognition it affords to a wide-ranging contribution to criminology than Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe. Her international stature, personal integrity, and intellectual prowess are testimony to her standing in the discipline and the high regard in which she is held’.

The British Society of Criminology’s Outstanding Achievement Award will be presented to Professor Gelsthorpe on June 28th during the Society’s annual conference hosted in conjunction with the University of Central Lancashire.


The British Society of Criminology is proud to announce that it is awarding its Outstanding Achievement Award 2022 to Professor Nigel South, Emeritus Professor at the University of Essex, in recognition of half a century of work in academic and real-world criminology.

Professor South was one of the first criminologists to highlight the consequences of the privatisation of policing and criminal justice in the UK. In the early 1980s, he worked with MPs and pressure groups to campaign for regulation of private security companies, door security, and private investigators.

Throughout the 1980s, Professor South worked at the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence and, alongside colleagues there, was a leading commentator on drugs issues and policy, and among the early champions of the ‘harm reduction’ approach. From 2004-06, he was a member of the independent Royal Society of Arts ‘Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy’.

Since the mid-1990s, his work has focused on the area of Green criminology and he is one of a small number of founding figures in this new field. This partly reflected an intellectual interest in the question of why criminology and public health fail to engage effectively given the dynamics of exclusion and poverty that drive many shared problems related to pollution, drugs, alcohol, housing, and social injustice. These connections have been even more relevant in the pandemic.

Professor South has published more than 30 books and journal special issues as author, co-author, editor or co-editor, and over 200 articles and book chapters. He is currently European Editor of Critical Criminology, and an Associate Editor of Deviant Behavior. He has previously served on the editorial boards of Sociology, The International Journal of Drug Policy, The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice and The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy.  From January 2015 to August 2021, Professor South was Director of the Centre for Criminology at Essex, and he is a member of the Essex Centre for Environment and Society, Human Rights Centre, and Transitional Justice Network.

British Society of Criminology Outstanding Achievement Award 2021

Mike Hough

The British Society of Criminology is proud to announce that the Outstanding Achievement Award 2021 was awarded to Professor Mike Hough, Emeritus Professor of Criminal Policy, Birkbeck, University of London, in recognition of his long contribution to bringing academic and policy research together.

Professor Hough founded one of the major UK centres for academic policy research on criminal justice – the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research – and directed it for more than 20 years.   Before moving to academia in 1994, he was a senior researcher in the Home Office for twenty years, co-designing the British Crime Survey in 1981.  He was President of the British Society of Criminology from 2008 until 2011.  Professor Hough’s research interests have been many and varied, from policing and public perceptions of crime and punishment, crime measurement and crime trends, and drug-related crime; to sentencing, the rehabilitation of offenders, desistance theory, restorative justice and procedural justice theory. He has around 300 publications.

Professor Hough worked with the Prison Reform Trust on the growth of imprisonment, on sentencing and sentencing guidelines, on children in custody and on the unfairness of the indeterminate sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection.

Among his many achievements is fostering collaboration between British and other European criminologists.  He has worked on a series of large-scale international projects: two EU partnerships on trust in justice and legitimacy (Euro-Justis and Fiducia); testing a new variant of procedural justice theory using the European Social Survey; and codesigning the third sweep of the International Self-Report Delinquency Study (ISRD3).

President of the BSC Professor Sandra Walklate said:

“It is with the greatest of pleasure for me personally to endorse the society’s recognition of Mike’s stellar contribution to the discipline and the work of the society in this way. His achievements and international stature speak strongly to the ongoing importance and presence of British criminology on the global stage’.

The British Society of Criminology’s Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Professor Hough during the Society’s first online annual conference hosted in conjunction with the Open University between 7-9th July 2021.

Presentation by Loraine Gelsthorpe (opens as a pdf)

Acceptance from Professor Mike Hough (opens as a pdf)

British Society of Criminology Outstanding Achievement Award 2020

This year there was no conference and the award presentation was  conducted online.

2020 winner – Professor Mike Maguire, University of South Wales.

NEW – PODCAST – Professor Maguire was subsequently interviewed by Professor Fiona Brookman on his background in criminology and his academic journey. It is a fascinating account of how theory and methodology have informed the development of criminology and Mike’s belief that the questions inform the methods employed. He covers changes in criminology over the past decades and it really is a valuable insight into the shifting landscape of research and academic freedoms.  Find out about the realities of summarising a conference (!), the relationship between academics and other criminal justice professionals and agencies, the luxury of reading for pleasure and working in partnership with one’s own colleagues . As Fiona says: “You are exactly what a proper professor should be”.

There is also a podcast of the award meeting and below the acceptance speech and photos of the award being presented by BSC President Professor Sandra Walklate, to the winner Professor Mike Maguire, University of South Wales.

Prize award

Also in attendance were the nominators, Professor Fiona Brookman and Associate Professor Harriet Pierpoint.

Well, thank you very much indeed.  When I say it was a shock to be told I’d been awarded this, that is a huge understatement. My first thought (apart from ‘this is a wind up’) was that it was rather like the ‘lifetime award’ to an old fading actor at the Oscars with the not-very-well- hidden message – ‘Thanks, but it’s time to go’!  But I really am very grateful – it’s a massive honour, as is obvious from looking back through the list of others who have received it in the past and seeing myself in that company. And that includes my long-time colleague in Cardiff, Mike Levi, who was awarded it last year. Welsh criminology is on the up!

Given the sad and unusual circumstances this year, I’m not going to say much now or make a lengthy acceptance speech, as you would expect at the national conference. Instead, I’m going to try and record an interview shortly with my colleague at the University of South Wales, Fiona Brookman – sort of Desert Island Discs or The Life Scientific, she said – and if the technology works, the BSC will post either the recording or a transcript of it on their website.

However, what I do want to do is thank the people who nominated me – I understand it was Fiona and Harriet Pierpoint, neither of whom breathed a word about it to me – and the committee who made the decision. I also want to say what a great institution the BSC has become. When I started my career in the 1970s it was a small, very London-centred organisation, and fairly narrow in its conception of what criminology was. Since then it has expanded to incorporate flourishing regional branches (including an excellent one in Wales), organises large annual conferences covering a very wide range of topics and methodologies – in my view the best criminology conferences in the world (and much more enjoyable than the few American ones I have been to!) – and runs a high quality journal, Criminology and Criminal Justice. It welcomes practitioners and policy-makers as well as academics, and its ‘broad church’ approach has often helped to bridge gaps between groups that at times have become quite hostile to each other – be it between different schools of criminology or government and academics.

So thank you all again. This very attractive piece of glass will have pride of place in my (not very full) trophy cabinet, dwarfing my dominoes and chess awards.

Professor Maguire now joins the ranks of our Honorary Members also added a reflection on the role of the BSC, past, present and future.

As I said when I accepted this prestigious award, I along with many other criminologists have good reason to be grateful to the British Society of Criminology for helping to make the subject what it is today. When I started my career in the 1970s, not only were the relatively small number of academics who called themselves criminologists isolated in ones and twos in different kinds of university departments scattered across the country, but there were quite deep ideological splits and hostilities between criminologists themselves. In the 1980s and 1990s, as the discipline grew, the BSC played a big part in bringing it together and raising its visibility and status. The BSC itself has grown from a small, London-centred body, narrow in its conception of what criminology was, into a ‘broad church’ national organisation with flourishing regional branches (including an excellent one in Wales), promoting the discipline nationally and internationally, influencing policy-makers, running major conferences and editing a high quality journal, Criminology and Criminal Justice. I have particularly fond memories of helping to organise the annual conference in Cardiff in 1993, which brought back together for the first time in years the ‘stars’ of the radical 1973 book The New Criminology, Ian Taylor, Paul Walton and Jock Young, soon followed by an after dinner speech from one of the founding fathers of post-war criminology in Britain, Sir Leon Radzinowicz – a striking case of ‘chalk and cheese’ in the same event, which exemplifies the spirit of the BSC.

For more on the history of the BSC please see our History section

Outstanding Achievement Award Archive