Building Sustainable Societies

Security and Justice

Security and Justice

Please note: This website is no longer active. The Building Sustainable Societies project was completed in 2015.

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The Security and Justice Research Group (SJRG) was one of three ‘hubs’ within the overarching ‘Building Sustainable Societies’ transformation fund project. Now a leading part of the new Cities and Sustainable Societies theme, SJRG brings together scholars from a variety of social science disciplines to conduct research addressing the challenges of (in)security and (in)justice, their causes and consequences.

At present, SJRG incorporates insights from scholars working from within the disciplines of: Political Science, International Relations, Law, Business Studies, Sociology, Geography, Psychology, Theology, History, Applied Ethics and Criminology at the University of Leeds.

The SJRG research priorities are organized within the overarching theme of how security and justice contribute to or detract from human capacity to build sustainable societies. The multi-disciplinary grouping has evolved into four distinct but often inter-relating internal clusters loosely converging on issues of:

(1) Intervention in International Society;
(2) Policing and Urban Security;
(3) Information Management and Technologies of Justice;
(4) Data Analytics of Crime and Security.

These clusters are developing an agenda of research that aims to generate inter-disciplinary concepts, theoretically informed responses, novel research and impact concerning the security and justice challenges of the 21st Century.

Research Highlights

The first period of development of the Security and Justice strand largely focused on two pillars of research intensity. Broadly defined, these pillars of research excellence have been in the fields of: (i) security and justice intervention in international society, notably the responsibility to protect; and (ii) urban security and policing. These two have been particularly successful thematic foci around which security and justice colleagues have coalesced. They also connect with contemporary societal and global challenges that have allowed the group to attract research funding and engage with policy and public debate.

Some notable examples of the achievements to date are;

  • British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship on British Foreign Policy after Iraq awarded to Professor Jason Ralph.
  • Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship awarded to Professor Jason Ralph to study at Asia-Pacific Centre of Responsibility to Protect, University of Queensland.
  • ESRC funded Seminar Series on Responsibility to Protect and Prosecute Liberal Responsibilities in an age of shifting power balances with Professor Jason Ralph as Principal Investigator and Adrian Gallagher as Co-Investigator, with associated special issues of Cooperation and Conflict, and Global Responsibility to Protect planned for 2015.
  • White Rose Consortium on ‘The Responsibility to Protect and Humanity: A Study on the Idea of Human Interconnectedness’. This funds three conferences at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York between 2013-2015. The planned output of this project is a special issue of International Politics for 2015, guest edited by Dr. Adrian Gallagher (University of Leeds) and Dr. Garrett W. Brown (University of Sheffield).
  • British International Studies Work Group on Intervention and the Responsibility (IR2PWG) to Protect convened by Dr. Adrian Gallagher. Established in January 2013, this network brings together over sixty scholars world-wide.
  • EU Framework Programme 7: Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship for Career Development for Dr. Andreas Armborst, Germany. Project: Long-term developments in Jihadi militant ideology and its transnational impact (ArabSpring). January 2015 – January 2017, € 220,000.
  • ESRC/AHRC “Rights and Ethics in a Security Context” research grant to fund a post-doctoral research fellow for 2 years (subject to negotiation).

During the second phase of its development in the Cities and Sustainable Societies theme, it is anticipated that the SJRG will continue to invest and expand our activities in the two established areas of expertise and to complement this with two new areas of development. These are around the themes of: (i) emerging technologies of security and justice; and (ii) data analytics of crime and security. These are both thematic areas in which the group has expertise and has been developing important research synergies. They both connect with the group’s strategic thinking about how it sees itself evolving over the forthcoming years. Additionally, the new themes allow the group to exploit, as yet, untapped research capability and strategic investments across the University of Leeds as well as eternal research funding opportunities.


National and International Presence

The Security and Justice Research Group is aligned with a number of international networks, most notably which relate to the Intervention and International Society research agenda. This includes;

The Intervention and International Society research agenda is currently taking the lead in a pan-European consortium of 7 partners applying for Horizon2020 funding in 2015.

It has an International Partnership Agreement with the Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P, University of Queensland based on Professor Jason Ralph’s Marie International Outgoing Fellowship (2014-6).

It has strong impact partners, including the UN Secretary-General Special Adviser on R2P, the British Foreign Office, the US State Department, the Canadian Centre for R2P, the Foreign Policy Centre (UK), Humanitarian Intervention Centre (UK) and the United Nations Association (UK).

Dr Adrian Gallagher, part of SJRG, established a British International Studies Work Group in 2013 which now brings together over sixty scholars worldwide.

Impact on the wider community

The Security and Justice Research Group continue to work closely with a number of external organisations providing reports, courses, research and advisory forums.

  • Professor Jason Ralph provided evidence on the ‘Special Relationship and the use of Force’ to the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee inquiry on Government foreign policy towards the United States.
  • Professor Edward Newman provided written evidence on ‘The legitimacy and legality of intervention for humanitarian reasons’ to the Parliamentary Defence Committee inquiry on ‘Intervention: When, Why and How?’
  • A 15,000 word policy-led investigation and report has been written for the United Nations Association on the UK and Responsibility to Protect to be published and presented in Parliament summer 2014
  • Ongoing work is being carried out on various fronts with the Foreign Policy Centre
  • There are on-going discussions with the National Media Museum Bradford for a film screening/lecture series on “Humanity, Responsibility and Violence through Visual Media” to mark the 10 anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect document in 2015.
  • Adrian Gallagher has on-going engagement with the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect regarding his research into ‘What constitutes a “Manifest Failing?”’
  • Research work by colleagues from LUBS on Policing and Technology was presented to representatives from both houses at a meeting in the House of Commons on the 17th of June 2013. This work was then followed by interviews with a number of media outlets by Allen which resulted in articles being published in a variety of outlets including the BBC and Wall Street Journal
  • The ESRC Celebrating Impact ‘Outstanding Impact on Public Policy 2014’ First Prize was awarded to Dr Clifford Stott in June this year.
  • West Yorkshire Police: Secondment of Detective Inspector Andrew Staniforth from for 1 day per week to work as Research Manager within the Security and Justice Research Group.
  • West Yorkshire Police & College of Policing:Liaison Based Public Order Policing: Dialogue, Police Legitimacy and Human Rights’. A Professional Development Course. School of Law, University of Leeds, 10th & 20th March.
  • ACPO / College of Policing sponsored high-level workshopFuture Directions Public Order Policing: Regionally, Nationally and Internationally’ took place this year at Woodhouse Suite, University House, University of Leeds, 21st March 2014.
  • West Yorkshire Police: A research project on ‘Developing Liaison Based Approaches to the Policing of Public Order in Football’. March 2014 – October 2014.
  • Police Service Northern Ireland. Contribution of lecture on crowd psychology and public order policing. Public Order Command Cadre Continuous Professional Development Course, Belfast 31st May, 2014.
  • Community Engagement: Challenges, Choices and Opportunities, N8 Policing Research Partnership Workshop, Liberty Building, School of Law, University of Leeds, 5 March 2014.
  • Contributed to the West Yorkshire Police Ward-Based Needs Assessment in 2013/14 (and forthcoming 2014/15).


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