Dr Janet Foster

Dr Janet Foster

Associate Professor in Sociology

Department of Sociology

Key Expertise
Criminology, Policing

About me

Janet Foster is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at LSE. She has also worked at the Universities of Cambridge and Warwick. She is the author of two sole authored books Villains: Crime and Community in the Inner City (Routledge, 1990); Docklands: cultures in conflict, worlds in collision (UCL Press, 1999) and is currently writing a book on murder investigation, Dealing with violent death everyday: an analysis of murder investigators at work. She has extensive research experience in communities and policing, has published widely and has been on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Criminology and Policing and Society. She has also published in the prestigious Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Janet directed the Diploma and Master's programme in Applied Criminology for senior police officers at Cambridge University in the 1990s, co-led the evaluation of the impact of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry on policing, and has worked as an adviser on policing issues in Britain and Europe. Between 2006 and 2009, Janet was seconded to The Police Foundation—an independent charity dedicated to improving policing for the benefit of the public. During that time she worked with two UK police forces on action research projects that sought to use empirical research to improve policing practice. She was also editor of the Ideas in British Policing series. Janet has been a special adviser to HM Treasury, the Home Office, and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies.

Research Interests

Janet's work has spanned a number of different areas within Criminology (including offending, crime prevention and policing) and Sociology (urban change, communities and social exclusion).  In recent years Janet has focused on policing – particularly police cultures, neighbourhood policing, diversity and murder investigation. She is also interested in applied criminology seeking to use her academic skills to shape and change policing practice. 

External Activities

Involved in a range of different policy related work including submitting written evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on police training; an academic adviser on Sir Ronnie Flanagan's Policing Review (2007), and on the HMIC Thematic on Frontline Supervision (Leading from the Frontline, 2008). Other activities have included being an invited participant in the Urban Summit organised by the Deputy Prime Minister's Office (2002); an advisor to the Police Leadership and Powers Unit in the Home Office and to H.M. Treasury (2002/3), and an invited participant in work for the EC (CEPOL) initiative on community policing for member countries and those wishing to join the EC involving work in France and the Netherlands (2002 and 2003).     

Selected Publications


In progress: Dealing with violent death everyday: an analysis of murder investigators at work.  This book is based on extensive research with a London homicide team. It examines investigative practice, what shapes detective decision making in the early stages of investigations, how they develop their lines of inquiry, the implications of those choices on the outcomes of inquiries and the challenges that stranger murders pose for investigators, whose understanding is shaped by the processes and techniques used in more routine cases. I also explore changes in detective culture and practice, the role of family liaison, detectives' relationships with murder victims' families, as well as gender, race, and the role of emotions in murder investigations.

Citizen Focus and Community Engagement: A Review of the Literature. London: Police Foundation. With Lloyd, K. (2009) 

Docklands: Cultures in conflict, worlds in collision London: UCL Press (1999)

Villains: Crime and Community in the Inner City (Routledge, 1990)

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 Recent Journal Articles

(2010) 'Joining Forces: Maximising ways of making a difference in policing practice' Policing: An International Journal of Policy and Practice Vol. 4 No.2 pp95-103. With Bailey, S.

(2010) '"Nice to do but not essential"': Neighbourhood police officers' views on community engagement and citizen focus in an English police force" Policing: An International Journal of Policy and Practice  With Jones, C. 

(2008) 'It might have been incompetent but it wasn't racist': murder detectives perceptions of the Lawrence Inquiry' Policing and Society Vol.18 pp89-112 

Series Editor for Ideas in British Policing series. Papers by Stanko, E and Hales, G (2009) Policing Violent Places, Lister, S (2009) Policing the Night-Time Economy and Fielding, N (2009) Getting the best out of community policing London: Police Foundation (2009).  

'Social Exclusion, Drugs and Crime' in special issue on 'Drugs, Crime and Disorder' Drugs: Education and Policy (2000) Vol 7. No 4. pp317-330.

'Informal Social Control and Community Crime Prevention' British Journal of Criminology (1995) Vol. 34 (4) pp563-584.

"Conflicting forces changing the dynamics of crime and community on 'problem' estates" British Journal of Criminology Vol. 32 (4), (1992) 488-503. With Hope, T.

Reports for the Home Office

Assessing the Impact of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry on Policing (2005) Home Research Study 294 London: HMSO. With Newburn,T and Souhami, A

Housing, Community and Crime: the impact of the Priority Estates Project Home Office Research Study No 131 (1993) London: HMSO. With Hope T. 

Selected Book Chapters

'Police Cultures' in Newburn, T (ed.) (2003) The Handbook of Policing Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing.

'Policing and the Police' in Maguire M, Morgan R, and Reiner R (eds.) (2002) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology Oxford: Oxford University Press pp 980-1033 .With Bowling, B.

"'People Pieces': The neglected but essential elements of community crime prevention" in Hughes G & Edwards A, (eds.) (2002) Community Crime Prevention Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing (2002) pp167-196

 "'Island Homes for Island People': Competition, conflict and racism in the battle over public housing on the Isle of Dogs" in Samson C & South N (eds.) (1996) The Social Construction of Social Policy: Methodologies, Racism, Citizenship and the Environment London: Macmillan pp148-168.

"Challenging perceptions: 'community' and neighbourliness on a difficult to let estate" in Jewson, J & Macgregor, S (eds.) (1997) Transforming Cities: Contested Governance and New Spatial Divisions London: Routledge.