Professor Tim Newburn

  Tim Newburn
Department: Mannheim centre for criminology|; Department of social policy|  ;Contact details: tel +44 (0)20 7955 6220;| ;LSE experts: Professor Tim Newburn|



Tim Newburn is Professor of Criminology and Social Policy.

Prior to joining LSE, he was Director of the Public Policy Research Unit at Goldsmiths College from 1997, having previously worked at the Policy Studies Institute, the National Institute for Social Work, the Home Office and Leicester University.

He is the author or editor of over 30 books, including: Permission and Regulation: Law and Morals in Post-war Britain (Routledge, 1991); The Future of Policng (with Morgan, Oxford University Press, 1997); Private Security and Public Policing (with Jones, Clarendon Press, 1998); Handbook of Policing (Willan, 2008); Policy Transfer and Criminal Justice (with Jones, Open University Press, 2007); and, Criminology (Willan, 2008).

Tim Newburn was President of the British Society of Criminology (2005-08) and Director of the Mannheim Centre for Criminology (2003-08) and was elected to the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences in 2005.



Research interests

My major research interests have focused on policing and security, on youth justice and on policy-making and policy transfer, though I have also undertaken funded research on restorative justice, the social care response to major emergencies, compensation systems for victims of crime, and young people's drug use. Together with David Downes and Paul Rock I am currently engaged in a 5-year official history of post-war criminal justice.



External activities

  • Member of the Home Office Science Advisory Committee
  • On the editorial boards of: British Journal of Sociology; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Youth Justice; Policing; International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice; Social Policy and Administration; Clarendon Criminology Series
  • General Editor: Longman Criminology Series; Key Ideas in Criminology (Routledge)





  • Downes, D., Hobbs, D. and Newburn, T. (2010) (eds) The Eternal Recurrence of Crime and Control: Essays in Honour of Paul Rock, Oxford: Clarendon Press

A Festschrift in honour of Paul Rock, which:

  • Examines and builds on the central themes associated with Professor Rock's work - social and criminological theory, policy development and policy-making, and victims and victimology
  • Offers an exploration of the theories which underpin policing in the UK
  • Provides a critical analysis of the Macpherson enquiry
  • Draws on Paul Rock's work with victims and secondary victims of homicide
  • Contributors are drawn from a distinguished group of criminologists in Britain and America

The Eternal Recurrence of Crime and Control features contributions from a distinguished group of criminologists from the UK, the US and Australia, brought together to honour the work of Paul Rock, former Professor of Social Institutions at the London School of Economics.

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  • McLaughlin, E. and Newburn, T. (2010) (eds) Sage Handbook of Criminological Theory, London: Sage

The SAGE Handbook of Criminological Theory re-centres theory in the boldest, most thought-provoking form possible within the criminological enterprise. Written by a team of internationally respected specialists, it provides readers with a clear overview of criminological theory, enabling them to reflect critically upon the variety of theoretical positions - traditional, emergent and desirable - that are constitutive of the discipline at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Each chapter has been specially commissioned to include the following:

  • A brief historical overview of the theoretical perspective
  • Core ideas and key associated concepts
  • A critical review of the contemporary status of the perspective
  • Reflections on future developments

In addition the Handbook features a substantive introduction by the editors, providing a review of the development of criminological theory, the state of contemporary criminological theory and emergent issues and debates.

'For any criminologist looking to make sense of recent developments in the field, this is the go-to book. In essays by leading specialists, it provides the latest updates on traditional theories whilst charting new directions. It also offers intepretive frameworks for criminology's current flux and fragmentation and closely examines relationships among theory, policy, and criminal justice practice. Invaluable and indispensible!'  - Nicole Rafter, Professor (Northeastern University)

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  • Newburn, T. (2009) (ed) Key Readings in Criminology, Cullompton: Willan

Key Readings in Criminology provides a comprehensive single-volume collection of readings in criminology. It provides students with convenient access to a broad range of excerpts (over 150 readings) from original criminological texts and key articles, and is designed to be used either as a stand-alone text or in conjunction with the same author's textbook, Criminology.

'By far the most wide-ranging, contemporary and wideranging reader on the market. . . I have no doubt that it will prove very successful indeed' Dave Edwards (London Metropolitan University)

'its a terrific collection and nothing nearly as good exists elsewhere' Jonathan Simon (University of California Berkeley)

'A lot of criminology for little money. It contains so many classics we want our students to read anyway, that it is fair to say it is an excellent buy for anyone studying criminology' Professor René van Swaaningen (Erasmus University, Rotterdam)

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  • Newburn, T. (ed) (2008) Handbook of Policing, 2nd Edition, Cullompton: Willan

This new edition of the Handbook of Policing updates and expands the highly successful first edition, and now includes a completely new chapter on policing and forensics. It provides a comprehensive but highly readable overview of policing in the UK, and is an essential reference point combining the expertise of leading academic experts on policing and policing practitioners themselves.

'A major contribution to the study of policing in the UK ... authoritative, interesting and extremely wide ranging.' - Sir Ian Blair (Commissioner, Metropolitan Police)

'The most comprehensive treatment ever published on the issues facing British police in the 21st century. Indispensable reading for students, leaders, critics and supporters of the police.'
- Professor Lawrence W. Sherman (President, International Society of Criminology)

'The Handbook is indubitably the most comprehensive, authoritative, scholarly and up-to-date overview of policing in the UK and an essential read for anyone with a stake or interest in policing issues.' - Mathew Bacon (University of Sheffield) 

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  • Hinton, M. and Newburn, T. (eds) (2008) Policing Developing Democracies, London/New York: Routledge

'There are enormous challenges in establishing policing systems in young democracies. Such societies typically have a host of unresolved pressing social, economic and political questions that impinge on policing and the prospects for reform. There are a series of hugely important questions arising in this context, to do with the emergence of the new security agenda, the problems of transnational crime and international terrorism, the rule of law and the role of the police, security services and the military.

'This is a field that is not only of growing academic interest but is now the focus of a very significant police reform 'industry'. Development agencies and entrepreneurs are involved around the globe in attempts to establish democratic police reforms in countries with little or no history of such activity. Consequently, there is a growing literature in this field, but as yet no single volume that brings together the central developments.

'This book gathers together scholars from political science, international relations and criminology to focus on the issues raised by policing within developing democracies examining countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.

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  • Newburn, T. (2007) Criminology, Cullompton: Willan

This is a comprehensive introduction to criminology for students who are either new or relatively new to the subject. This text provides the basis of study for the new undergraduate student of criminology and those who need a foundation knowledge of criminology in other relevant courses. These include access and foundation degree courses run by colleges, university level courses in law, probation, policing, criminal and forensic investigation, and forensic psychology, as well as criminological components of A level courses in sociology and psychology.

'At last a truly comprehensive, accessible yet authoritative introductory textbook for students of criminology in the UK and beyond written by one of our outstanding criminologists. Given its clarity, breadth and depth, it has the potential to become the 'must have' book for every undergraduate student and teacher of criminology . Put bluntly it puts all other introductory criminology textbooks in the shade.' - Professor Gordon Hughes (Cardiff University)

'I think it's a better book for an undergraduate audience than its competitors, and I think this will be borne out by its adoption and sales. . . it takes students through a step-by-step, coherent story of nuanced, contextualised and well judged ideas and illustrations in studying criminology.' - Dr Colin Webster (Leeds Metropolitan University)

'There is no other text which addresses the market anywhere near as effectively as this one. I for one would expect to use it extensively and am sure that this will be so for the great majority of those teaching criminology at this level.' - Dave Edwards (London South Bank University)

  •  Jones, T. and Newburn, T. (2007) Policy Transfer and Criminal Justice, Maidenhead: Open University Press

Since the late 1980s, it seems that policy-makers and politicians in the UK have increasingly looked West across the Atlantic for inspiration in the field of crime control. More broadly, recent years have seen a growing focus upon the extent to which, and ways in which, policy ideas and practices travel within and across national boundaries. Scholars from a number of disciplines have become increasingly interested in the concepts of 'policy transfer? and related ideas.

This book contains the first major empirical study of policy transfer in the field of criminal justice and crime control. It focuses upon policy transfer from the USA to the UK, and undertakes a detailed examination of the processes of policy change in three key areas that have been widely perceived as imports from the USA: the privatization of corrections, 'two? and 'three strikes? sentencing, and 'zero tolerance? policing. Drawing upon a wealth of documentary evidence and interviews with leading politicians, policy makers and other key players in policy developments, the authors explore the complex processes involved in policy transfer and analyse the nature and degree of US influence in these areas.

'PTCJ shines on empirical detail and an illuminating account of how policy transfer works in criminal justice. ...highly recommended for readers interested in understanding the current state of criminal justice policy." Political Studies Review

'A very interesting book and excellent at setting the context of criminal justice policies in the UK. Thoroughly researched and written in an engaging style.' Tina Eadie, Senior Lecturer, De Montfort University

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  • Newburn, T., Williamson, T. and Wright, A. (2007) (eds) Handbook of Criminal Investigation, Cullompton: Willan

This book provides the most comprehensive and authoritative book yet published on the subject of criminal investigation, a rapidly developing area within the police and other law enforcement agencies, and an important sub discipline within police studies. The subject is rarely out of the headlines, and there is widespread media interest in criminal investigation.

Within the police rapid strides are being made in the direction of professionalising the criminal investigation process, and it has been a particular focus as a means of improving police performance. A number of important reports have been published in the last few years, highlighting the importance of the criminal investigation process not only to the work of the police but to public confidence in this. Each of these reports has identified shortcomings in the way criminal investigations have been conducted, and has made recommendations for improvement .

Handbook of Criminal Investigation provides a rigorous and critical approach to not only the process of criminal investigation but also the context in which this takes place, the theory underlying it, and the variety of factors which influence approaches to it. It will be an indispensable source of reference for anybody with an interest in, and needing to know about, criminal investigation. Contributors to the book are drawn from both practitioners in the field and academics.

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  • Newburn, T. and Rock, P. (2006) The Politics of Crime Control: Essays in Honour of David Downes, Oxford: Clarendon Press

This book brings together ten leading British criminologists to explore the contemporary politics of crime and its control. The volume is produced in honour of one of Britain's most important criminological scholars - David Downes of the London School of Economics. The essays are grouped around the three major themes that run through David Downes' work - sociological theory, crime and deviance; comparative penal policy; and, the politics of crime. The third theme also provides the overarching unifying thread for the volume.

  • Contributors include leading British criminologists: Stanley Cohen, Robert Reiner, Dick Hobbs, Frances Heidensohn, Nicola Lacey, and Rod Morgan
  • Covers a broad range of comparative criminological theory including: penal cultures within the United States, restorative justice in Colombia, New Labour's politics and policy in relation to dangerous personality-disordered offenders, the legal construction of torture, and the future for a social democratic criminology
  • Contains an inside account of policy-making under New Labour

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  • Jones, T. and Newburn, T. (2006) (eds) Plural Policing: A Comparative Perspective, London: Routledge

Policing is changing rapidly and radically. An increasingly complex array of public, private and municipal bodies - as well as public police forces - are engaged in the provision of regulation and security. Consequently, it is difficult to think of security provision primarily in terms of what the public police do, and so the terminology of 'fragmented' or 'plural' policing systems has become well-established within criminology and police science.

'Plural policing' is now a central issue within criminology and police studies throughout the world, and there is now a large and growing body of research and theory concerned with its extent, nature and governance. To date, however, this work has been dominated by Anglo-American perspectives. This volume takes a detailed comparative look at the development of plural policing, and provides the most up-to-date work of reference for scholars in this field.

Edited by two of the world's leading authorities on policing, and including individual contributions from internationally recognised experts in criminology and police studies, this is the first ever volume to focus on 'plural policing' internationally, and to draw together empirical evidence on its developments in a formal comparative framework.

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  • Newburn, T. (2010) 'Diffusion, Differentiation and Resistance' Comparative Penality, Criminology and Criminal Justice, 10 (4) 1-11
  • Jones, T. and Newburn, T. (2009) 'Le managérialisme et la nature des réformes policières en Angleterre et au Pays de Galles' Revue Francaise de Sciences Politique, 59, 6 1175-1196

Whilst the institutional architecture of British policing remains based on local provincial forces, such has been the degree of centralization that the policing structure of England and Wales has been described as a de facto national police force. An important part of this process has been the "managerialist" reforms developed by central government. However, within the overall picture of centralization, some countervailing tendencies are visible that suggest the possibility of enhanced local influence.
+ England and Wales is thus seeing the emergence of a bifurcated policing system in which policing responses to such things as serious and organized crime, and terrorism, are becoming more centralized, whilst the policing of "ordinary" crimes and disorder are increasingly integrated into a broader community safety response at the local level.

  • Newburn, T. (2007) Governing security: the rise of the privatized military, in Downes, D., Rock, P., Chinkin, C. and Gearty, C. (eds) Crime, Social Control and Human Rights. From moral panics to states of denial: Essays in honour of Stanley Cohen, Cullompton: Willan

The work of Stanley Cohen over four decades has come to acquire a classical status in the fields of criminology, sociology and human rights. His writing, research, teaching and practical engagement in these fields have been at once rigorously analytical and intellectually inspiring. It amounts to a unique contribution, immensely varied yet with several unifying themes, and it has made, and continues to make, a lasting impact around the world. His work thus has a protean character and scope which transcend time and place.

This book of essays in Stanley Cohen's honour aims to build on and reflect some of his many-sided contributions. It contains chapters by some of the world's leading thinkers as well as the rising generation of scholars and practitioners whose approach has been shaped in significant respects by his own.

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  • Newburn, T. and Jones, T. (2007) 'Symbolising crime control: reflections on zero tolerance' Theoretical Criminology, 11 (2) 221-243

The term Zero Tolerance has become a familiar feature of the crime control landscape. In recent times it has been deployed regularly by politicians, police managers, policy-makers and the media. Though it has been used in connection with a number of different policy initiatives, Zero Tolerance is most closely associated with policing and, in particular, with a set of policing strategies adopted by the New York Police Department in the 1990s. This article explores the origins of this most potent of crime control symbols, and examines how it has subsequently been developed, deployed and disseminated. It concludes with an examination of how and why policy actors deploy symbolically powerful terms in the context of contemporary crime politics in the USA and UK.

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  • Newburn, T. (2007) 'Tough on crime': Penal policy in England and Wales, in Tonry, M. (ed) Crime, Punishment and Politics in Comparative Perspective, Crime and Justice: An Annual Review, vol. 36, Chicago: University of Chicago Press

    The goal of Crime and Justice, Volume 36 is to advance the understanding of the determinants of penal policies in developed countries. The contributors explore the distinctive national differences in policy responses to rising crime rates, rapid social change, economic dislocation and increased ethnic diversity. Countries covered include Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia, Canada, Japan, France, Norway and the United States.

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  • Newburn, T. and Reiner, R. (2007) 'Policing' in Maguire, M., Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 4th ed

The most comprehensive and authoritative single volume text on the subject, the fourth edition of the acclaimed Oxford Handbook of Criminology combines masterly reviews of all the key topics with extensive references to aid further research. In addition to the history of the discipline and reviews of different theoretical perspectives, the book provides up-to-date reviews of diverse topics as the criminal justice process, race and gender, crime statistics, and the media and crime.

The fourth edition has been substantially revised and updated and is essential reading for all teachers and students of criminology and an indispensable sourcebook for professionals.

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  • Newburn, T. (2007) 'Youth crime and youth culture' in Maguire, M., Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 4th ed, forthcoming

The most comprehensive and authoritative single volume text on the subject, the fourth edition of the acclaimed Oxford Handbook of Criminology combines masterly reviews of all the key topics with extensive references to aid further research. In addition to the history of the discipline and reviews of different theoretical perspectives, the book provides up-to-date reviews of diverse topics as the criminal justice process, race and gender, crime statistics, and the media and crime.

The fourth edition has been substantially revised and updated and is essential reading for all teachers and students of criminology and an indispensable sourcebook for professionals.

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  • Jones, T. and Newburn, T. (2006) 'Three strikes and you're out: Exploring symbol and substance in American and British crime control policy' British Journal of Criminology, 46, 5, 781-802

Criminologists have become increasingly interested in the extent to which, and ways in which, criminal justice and penal policy ideas and innovations travel across national boundaries. A particular focus has been the apparent convergence of some aspects of crime control policy in the United States and the United Kingdom associated with policies such as 'zero tolerance' policing, youth curfews, the 'war on drugs', increased use of incarceration and the privatization of criminal justice agencies.

This paper focuses upon the area of sentencing policy and, in particular, the emergence of so-called 'two' and 'three strikes' sentencing policies in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The paper outlines the contrasting forms and variable impacts of these sentencing policies in different jurisdictions. In particular, it examines the relationship between symbolic and substantial dimensions of policy in contrasting jurisdictions, the degree to which differences are related to the strategic intentions of politicians and policy makers, and the mediating factors of varying legal and political institutions and cultures.

The central argument of the paper is that in the context of the political institutions and cultures of some US states, the relationship between symbol and substance is much closer than is the case in other jurisdictions, not least that of the United Kingdom.

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  • Newburn, T. and Jones, T. (2005) 'Symbolic politics and penal policy: The long shadow of Willie Horton' Crime, Media, Culture, 1 (1) 72-87

There is increasing evidence that, in general terms, much transnational lesson-drawing in criminal justice has been at the symbolic rather than the substantive level. Much of what has been 'transferred' has been terminology or rhetoric rather than the technologies and techniques of crime control.

That is not to imply that these transfers have been inconsequential, for 'political rhetoric and official representations of crime and criminals have a symbolic significance and a practical efficacy that have real social consequences. Sometimes "talk" is "action"' (Garland, 2001: 22). In this article we outline a particular case of lesson-drawing that has had, we argue, a dramatic impact on British penal policy.

This case, the defeat of Michael Dukakis in the 1988 US Presidential election, has had a longlasting impact on electoral politics in the USA but also, we suggest, in the more specific arena of the mediated politics of crime control in the UK.

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  • Newburn, T. and Reiner, R. (2004) (50th Anniversary Essay) 'From PC Dixon to Dixon PLC: Policing and Police Powers Since 1954' Criminal Law Review, August, 601-618

Examines the transformation in policing over the past 50 years, focusing on the pluralisation of policing in respect of the more complex relationship between the police and other policing mechanisms, and secondly shifts in the mandate and legitimacy of the police themselves.

Explores: (1) the dialectics of policing history since 1954; (2) the changes in police powers since 1954, tracing the statutory extensions and in particular the significance and effects of the landmark Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the accretion of powers through legislation at least ostensibly designed to deal with the policing of terrorism; (3) police governance since 1954 in terms of both the procedures for remedying misconduct by individual police officers, with the introduction of the Police Complaints Authority and later the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and the accountability of the overall organisation and its policies, outlining the restructuring and centralisation of police governance in the 1990s epitomised by the Police Act 1996; and (4) privatisation and pluralisation with the development of private, municipal and civilian guards, officers and wardens accompanied by the spread of technology, notably closed circuit television, and the policy shift towards privatisation from the mid 1980s and partnership under the Labour Government with the strengthening of the shifts in the management and provision of police services under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

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Jones, T. and Newburn, T. (2004) 'Comparative criminal justice policy-making in the US and UK: The case of private prisons' British Journal of Criminology, 45, 1, 58-80

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