‘Why have we funded this research?’: On politics, research and newsmaking criminology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, the value, or otherwise, of newsmaking criminology has generated considerable debate within academia. On the one hand, critics have argued that such approaches risk devaluing academic enterprise, for instance, privileging style over substance; on the other hand, proponents argue that newsmaking can promote more informed, progressive discourse in societies that are already saturated with crime and justice issues. Taking a different tack, this article argues that newsmaking criminology can provide a vehicle for controversial or ‘difficult’ research findings, and serve to hold authorities to account. Using a case-study approach, the article shows how police executives and government officials sought to undermine a critical report on the use of stop and search in Scotland by deploying a range of ‘neutralization’ techniques; and how, via media coverage, the findings nonetheless gained traction, prompting legal reform. The article also acknowledges the risks and limitations of newsmaking, and argues that fundamental problems remain apropos the production and dissemination of critical policing research in Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-525
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Issue number5
Early online date9 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • impact
  • newsmaking criminology
  • police accountability
  • research politics
  • stop and search


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