Professor Maurice Punch


Department:  Mannheim centre for criminology

31 (0)20 641 2339


Maurice Punch studied at Cambridge and Essex (MA 1966 and PhD 1972) and has worked in universities in the UK, USA and The Netherlands - where he has lived since 1975.  After 20 years in Dutch universities he became an independent researcher / consultant in 1994 and in 1999 was appointed Visiting Professor at the Mannheim Centre at LSE: he is also Visiting Professor at King's College London in the Dickson Poon School of Law.

Research interests

He first specialised in the Sociology of Education and later researched corporate crime and deviance, politics and ethics of field-work and corruption and reform of the police organisation. Recently he returned to education with a book on the progressive Dartington Hall School (Dartington Revisited  - Hondsrug Pers: 2012 - with Carol Naylor) and is currently engaged in a project on leadership within the Dutch Police.

External activities

He has given numerous lectures, seminars and courses throughout Europe and  North America and has published in English, Dutch and American journals. He researched policing in Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands; taught on the National Police Training (Bramshill / Cambridge) Strategic Command Course; has taught on executive and degree programmes for police and managers and has advised a number of police forces.

He has been involved in numerous conferences including contributions for the Council of Europe, UN and NIJ (USA), the Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity in The Hague and the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Prague in 2001; and has given presentations for the IPCC, the Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland and for the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission in the Republic of Ireland.




  • What matters in policing?  Change, values and leadership in turbulent times (Policy Press: 2015)

Auke van Dijk, Frank Hoogewoning, Maurice Punch

Policing is at a turbulent turning point: the pace of change is accelerating with renewed emphasis on crime reduction yet with austerity. This topical book examines what matters in policing, rather than just what works. It compares the implications of restructuring in the UK and The Netherlands, also in the USA, regarding police systems, policing paradigms and research knowledge. The authors, who cover both academia and practice, focus particularly on dilemmas for police leadership relating to strategy, values and operational command. With a foreword by Peter Neyround, University of Cambridge, it argues for developing confident and competent leadership and also provide a comprehensive paradigm to chart policing in the future while retaining trust. It is accessibly written for academics, practitioners, policy makers and students in diverse societies.

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  • State Violence, Collusion and the Troubles: Counter Insurgency, Government Deviance and Northern Ireland (Pluto: 2012)

    The period in Northern Ireland known as ‘the Troubles’ (1968–1998) seemed to have been conclusively ended by the official peace process. But recent violence from dissident Republicans shows that tensions from the past remain unresolved. This book reveals disturbing unanswered questions about the use of state violence during this period. It details how the British government turned to illegal measures in a time of crisis: and it considers other cases of state violence against ‘insurgent groups’ in Spain and South Africa.

    The book raises urgent questions about why states around the world continue to deploy such violence rather than seeking durable political settlements. 

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  • Shoot to Kill: Police, Firearms and Fatal Force (Policy Press : 2010)

The shooting of Jean-Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in 2005 raised acute issues about operational practice, legitimacy, accountability and policy making regarding police use of fatal force. It dramatically exposed a policy, referred to popularly as "shoot to kill", which came not from Parliament but from the non-statutory ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers).

This vital and timely book unravels these often misunderstood matters with a fresh look at firearms practice and policy in a traditionally "unarmed" police service. It is essential reading for all those interested in the state's role in defining coercion and in policing a democracy.

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  • Police Corruption (Willan : 2009)

Policing and corruption are inseparable. This book argues that corruption is not one thing but covers many deviant and criminal practices in policing which also shift over time. It rejects the 'bad apple' metaphor and focuses on 'bad orchards', meaning not individual but institutional failure.

For in policing the organisation, work and culture foster can encourage corruption. This raises issues as to why do police break the law and, crucially, 'who controls the controllers'?

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  • Zero Tolerance Policing (Policy Press : 2007)

What is policing about and who defines it? This book examines these key issues by exploring the notion of zero tolerance and its application in different settings. Following its introduction in New York, and the seemingly dramatic reduction in crime, zero tolerance policing was taken up in a number of other countries, including the UK and the Netherlands.

This book examines that process. It argues that this policy was, in fact, nothing more than a return to old-style, crime control policing. While it did foster the swift analysis of crime patterns and more assertive policing of public places, it could lean towards repression and demonising of certain groups.

Examining the negative response of leading police officers and the policy's debatable impact on crime, the author concludes that zero tolerance in the UK and Netherlands was more of a populist political and media creation than a coherent policy.

This book is far more than an authoritative analysis of zero tolerance. It is a valuable source for entering the debate about the big picture in policing which many stakeholders now wish to see. The approachable style of this book makes it ideal for students, academics, police practitioners and the lay reader to enter that debate.

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  • Control in the Police Organization (MIT Press : 2003)

Looking behind the facade of tightly structured tables of organization and chains of command, this group of studies addresses the key question of how the police go about policing themselves in the real world.

The contributors' point of departure is the documented evidence that the men and women on the streets enjoy considerable autonomy and discretion that make strict accountability and close supervision the exception and mutual back-scratching in the lower ranks the rule, where the code of silence and the falsified report cover up widespread work avoidance, short-cut methods, illicit violence, and pay-offs.

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  • Rethinking Corporate Crime (with Jim Gobert; Cambridge University Press : 2003)

This unique work provides a detailed critique of the current criminal law system as it applies to corporate wrongdoing. It assesses the potential for the legal control of corporate criminality as informed by insights gleaned from an understanding of why such crimes occur.

The authors also advance the theory that such crimes should be viewed as a failure by the company to manage its business operations and a failure to have an effective risk management system in place.

Corporate crime features on various undergraduate and postgraduate criminology and criminal justice courses across the country, which makes this specialist text highly appropriate for law and criminology students. It is also an insightful text appropriate for a wider academic audience and discusses the legal, sociological and criminological dimensions of corporate crime in detail.

Corporate criminal responsibility is a very contemporary topic, covered in fine detail within this work.

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  • Dirty Business: exploring corporate misconduct (Sage : 1996)
  • Politics and Ethics of Field Work (Sage : 1986)
  • Conduct Unbecoming (Tavistock : 1985)
  • Policing the Inner-City (Macmillan : 1979)
  • Progressive Retreat (Cambridge University Press : 1977) 




  • 'Police corruption: apples, barrels and orchards' Criminal Justice Matters,79; March 2010
  • 'Why Corporations Kill - and Get Away with It: the Failure of Law to Cope with Crime in Organizations' in A. Nollkaemper and H. van der Wilt (eds.), System Criminality in International Law. (Cambridge University Press: 2009).
  • 'Community Policing in the Netherlands: Four Generations of Redefinition' (with C. van der Vijver and A. Hoogenboom) in T. Williamson (ed.), The Handbook of Knowledge Based Policing. Chichester: Wiley: 2008.
  • 'The Organization Did It: Individuals, Corporations and Crime' in J. Minkes and L.  Minkes (eds.), Corporate and White-Collar Crime. London: Sage: 2008: 102-121.
  • 'The Murder of Theo van Gogh and the Islamic Jihad Division in the Netherlands' Police Research and Management, 6: 3: 2006: 11-32. Revised version in Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, 2: 1: 2007: 34-53.
  • 'Because They Can: Motivations and Intent of White-Collar Criminals' in H. N. Pontell and G. Geis (eds.), International Handbook of White-Collar and Corporate Crime. New York: Springer: 2007: 98-122.
  • 'Embracing Accountability' (with G. Markham), Policing: Journal of Research and Practice, 1: 3: 2007.
  • 'Cops with Honours: University Education and Police Culture', in M. O'Neill, M. Marks and A.M. Singh (eds.), Police Occupational Culture, Amsterdam: Elsveier: 2007: 105-128.
  • With Maggy Lee,'Policing by Degrees' Policing and Society, 14: 3: 2004: 233-249; and expanded version; Policing by Degrees: Groningen: Hondsrug Pers: 2006.
  • The Belgian Disease: Dutroux, Scandal and 'System Failure' in Belgium' in R. Sarre, H. J. Albrecht and D. Das (eds.) Policing Corruption: International Perspectives. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books: 2005.
  • 'Paradigm Lost: The Dutch Dilemma' in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, Vol. 38, Number 2, pp. 268-281, 2005.
  • With G. Markham, 'Animal Rights, Public Order and Police Accountability' International Journal of Police Science & Management. 6: 2: 2004: 84-96.
  • 'Rotten Orchards: 'Pestilence', Police Misconduct and System Failure' Policing and Society, 13: 2: 171-196: 2003.
  • 'Suite Violence: Why managers murder and corporations kill' Crime, Law and Social Change, 33: 2000: 243-280.
  • With J. Gobert, 'Whistle-blowing and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998' Modern Law Review, 63: 1: 25-54: 2000.