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Police governance in a metropolitan area (Advert Reference: RDF22/BL/LAW/PAPAN)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr Georgios Papanicolaou  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The aim of the research is to investigate the political and organisational dynamics of the governance of the police in England and Wales with a focus on a major metropolitan area. It will chart and evaluate the new power and policy making/implementation structures within policing following the PRSRA (2011) Act and the introduction of the Office of Police Commissioner, thus addressing a continuing knowledge gap and contributing to the emerging, but still limited empirically driven research literature.

The significance and novelty of the project revolves around the need to assess the impact of the changes in police governance upon police accountability. The project will investigate the effect of Police and Crime Commissioners on the decision-making processes in policing as well as the system of dependencies within the structures of the police and governance and the management of organisational and individual autonomy within such structures. It will explore the functioning and impact of the PRSRA (2011) Act at the local level, with key focus on the impact of such reform on local crime control and prevention policies, the actors involved in contributing to such processes and the measure of to what extent the Police and Crime Commissioners achieve in practice the expectations of the PRSRA (2011).

Ideally the focus will be more specifically on the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner in the governance and accountability of the police in a metropolitan area of the NE England, considering the relationship between the PCC and other important local actors (Police and Crime Panel, Chief Constable, Deputy & Assistant Chief Constables, Police Officers) and, by extension, the overall political economy of the police decision making process, and the impact of politically charged PCCs on the independence of policing operations.

The project will involve extensive empirical research. The collection of data is to be conducted by extensive field work, primarily involving observation and interaction with the key actors across their normal working day/schedule and environments. The research strategy will primarily rely on qualitative methods, however, the design should explore possibilities to generate quantitative data where possible.

The successful candidate will be comfortable with research work across disciplinary areas, including Public Law, Politics, Police sociology and Organisational sociology, with a view to providing an academic, evidence-driven understanding of the interactive nature and system of dependencies existing Home Office, PCC, local actors and local crime control and crime prevention policies and initiatives.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere or if they have previously been awarded a PhD.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF22/BL/LAW/PAPAN) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 18 February 2022

Start Date: 1 October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Principal Supervisor - Dr. Georgios Papanicolaou

Funding Notes

Each studentship supports a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22 full-time study this is £15,609 per year) and full tuition fees. UK and international (including EU) candidates may apply.
Studentships are available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £9,365 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities.
Please also read the full funding notes which include advice for international and part-time applicants


Papanicolaou, G. & Rigakos, G. (2014) Democratising the police in Europe, with a particular emphasis on Greece). Vienna: Transform! & Nicos Poulantzas Institute
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