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Dr John Topping

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
Dr Joe Duffy

Dr John Topping

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

John’s research focus over the past decade has related mainly to the issue of community policing, police reform and security governance. He has a wide array of experience working with statutory policing institutions in Northern Ireland and beyond. Much of his work relates to critical examination of police practice, particularly around police stop and search and police powers. He also has experience of police training, along with advisory and consultancy roles which provide unique internal and external perspectives on policing more generally. John has experience on large research grants related policing & technology, along with stop and search through EU HORIZON and EU COST. This includes a current British Academy grant with colleagues in Brazil.

Research Interests

I am open to accepting applications in relation to the following broad areas, but happy to consider most areas of policing as broadly conceived:

  • Police practice and reform

  • Stop and search

  • Security governance

  • Policing and technology

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Public outreach & key achievements

John’s current research around police stop and search has led to reform of the practice within the Police Service of Northern Ireland; while he is also part of and EU COST action related to police stop and search powers across Europe.

John is currently Chairperson of Community Restorative Justice Ireland – the leading community-based restorative justice body across the island of Ireland; and is on the Executive Committee of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), the leading human rights NGO in Northern Ireland over the past 30 years. 

Research students

PhD area Policing of hate speech on social media 
Name Mark WIlliams 
Years of study
Country NI 
PhD area Social media and car crime performativity 
Name Debbie Hawkins 
Years of study
Country NI  


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