Professor Tim Newburn

Tim Newburn
Professor of Criminology and Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science

I joined the BSC around 1986/87. I was working in the Home Office’s Research Unit at the time and for the first time was doing work that might have been considered ‘criminological’. There were monthly meetings, held in those days at the National Institute for Social Work on Tavistock Place, attended by a wide variety of professionals as well as academics. I held various posts over the next 10 years or so, first as Branch Secretary, then Southern Branch Chair, helping to organise the London meetings, and also becoming the Book Reviews Editor for the Society’s newsletter. I joined the Council in the late 1980s and remained for the best part of a decade. I became President-Elect in 2004, serving as President from 2005-2008. In those three years, the Society changed quite markedly. In addition to growing membership and a considerably expanded administrative operation, the thing that stands out for me is the acquisition of the journal Criminology and Criminal Justice. The agreement reached with Sage was both very positive intellectually and financially for the Society, offering a new income stream as well as ensuring, as any Professional Society ought, that the BSC had its own academic journal. Being a member of the BSC has been a pleasure and I’m enjoying seeing it go from strength to strength.

My work has always been quite varied or wide-ranging. As things currently stand I’m pursuing interests in at least four areas. By far my largest project/responsibility is as one of three ‘Official Historians’ (David Downes and Paul Rock being the others) writing the Official History of post-war criminal justice. As it sounds, this is a mammoth task, taking in the bulk of the criminal justice system, from policing to prisons, as well as a range of areas of criminal justice policy. I’m not a trained historian, so being buried in the archives has been a real eye-opener. I also continue to work on the general territory of urban violence, having spent a year working with journalists from the Guardian on a study of the 2011 England riots. I still anticipate a book may yet emerge. In recent times, I’ve also returned to the study of policy transfer – a long-standing interest – though the arrival of social geographers on the scene appears to mean this topic tends now to be referred to as policy mobilities. The time feels right for further research in this field, one still rather under-exploited in criminology. Finally, I’m also working on a book about everyday social order, and how this has been changing in the last half-century or so. A book, tentatively called Orderly: How we solve our everyday problems, should appear sometime in 2017.