Gavin Hales

Gavin Hales

Visiting Fellow

Mannheim Centre for Criminology

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Key Expertise
Policing, Crime statistics, Violent crime, Illicit drugs markets

About me

I am currently a Senior Research Fellow at London Metropolitan University, a Senior Associate Fellow at the Police Foundation think tank, and a Visiting Fellow at the Mannheim Centre for Criminology, LSE. I am also a non-executive member of the (currently dormant) National Statistician's Crime Statistics Advisory Committee.

I have held a range of research-focused roles over the last 20 years, working on crime and policing topics, including for the universities of Portsmouth and Essex and with Birkbeck College, and from 2014 to 2017 I was the deputy director of the Police Foundation think tank. I have a BA in Human Sciences from Oxford, and an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Edinburgh. As a child I lived in Sudan for 4 years, and as an adult have lived in Yemen (where I researched armed violence) and most recently in Rwanda (from 2017-20).

My research interests encompass violent crime, including gun and knife crime and their interface with drugs markets, and sexual offences, and the policing and public policy responses to them, as well as crime statistics and a wide-range of topics related to policing (with an emphasis on London). I have researched and written about subjects including gun crime, police disproportionality (stop and search, policing of drugs, Taser), police governance, workforce diversity, police effectiveness and police funding. I have sat on reference groups for the likes of HMIC, the College of Policing and the Metropolitan Police, and have experience of working at local (ie local authority), police force and national levels, including a year seconded to the Metropolitan Police Strategic Research Unit, and two years conducting research while embedded with the Metropolitan Police in East London.

I am presently working on a large Home Office-funded project called Operation Soteria, which is concerned with the police response to rape and other serious sexual offences, for which I have been leading the analysis of police recorded crime data from five forces across England and Wales. 

In recent years much of my output has been focused on informing current debates about policing and the response to violent and sexual offending, notably via social media where I have an active and visible presence. This is often grounded in my own analyses of public crime, policing and criminal justice statistics, and is addressed to an audience including practitioners and senior leaders in policing, other academics, policy makers, activists, politicians and journalists.


Selected publications


Blogs at

Sidebottom, A., Brennan, I., Agar, I., Ashby, M., Bullock, K., Hales, G. and Tilley, N. (2021) Knife crime: a problem solving guide. College of Policing.

Hales, G. (2020) “The marketplace is more volatile and violent than it has ever been” An exploration of the links between drug market and violent crime trends in England and Wales in recent years. Crest Advisory Working Paper.

Hales, G. (2020) A diversity uplift? Police workforce gender and ethnicity trends from 2007 to 2018 and prospects for the future. Perspectives on Policing, Paper 6. London: Police Foundation.

Hales, G. (2019) The long road to Jaden Moodie’s murder. The Observer. 15 December.

Hales, G. (2018) A ‘sexting’ surge or a conceptual muddle? The challenges of analogue law and ambiguous crime recording. Perspectives on Policing, Paper 4. London: Police Foundation.

Higgins, A., Hales, G. and Muir, R. (2016) The governance of supra-force specialist policing capabilities: A review by the Police Foundation. London: Police Foundation.

Hales, G. and Higgins, A. (2016) Prioritisation in a changing world: seven challenges for policing. Police Effectiveness in a Changing World Paper 2. London: Police Foundation.

Higgins, A. and Hales, G. (2016) A natural experiment in neighbourhood policing. Police Effectiveness in a Changing World Paper 4. London: Police Foundation.

Hales, G., May, T., Belur, J. and Hough, M. (2015) Chief officer misconduct in policing: An exploratory study. Ryton: College of Policing.

Wood, M., Cattell, J., Hales, G., Lord, C., Kenny, T. and Capes, T. (2015) Reoffending by offenders on Community Orders: Results from the Offender Management Community Cohort Study. Ministry of Justice Analytical Series. London: Ministry of Justice.

Hobbs, D., Armstrong, G., Hales, G. and Giulianotti, R. (2015) ‘Policing, Newham and the 2012 Olympic Games: a working paper’. University of Western Sydney Institute for Culture and Society Occasional Papers, Vol 6, No. 1.

Small Arms Survey (2010) Fault lines: Tracking armed violence in Yemen. (Also in Arabic). Yemen Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief 1. Geneva: Small Arms Survey.

Hales, G. and Hobbs, R. (2010) ‘Drug markets in the community: a London borough case study’. Trends in Organized Crime (13) 13–30.

Hales, G. (2007) The policing of cannabis possession in London: examining ethnic disproportionality. London: Metropolitan Police Service.

Hales, G., Lewis, C. and Silverstone, D. (2006) Gun crime: the market in and use of illegal firearms. Home Office Research Study 298. London: Home Office.

Expertise Details

Policing; Crime statistics; Violent crime; Gun crime; Knife crime; Sexual offences; Illicit drugs markets