Nick Fyfe

Prof Nick Fyfe


  • Tel: +44 (0)1382 384425
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  • School of the Environment University of Dundee Perth Rd Dundee DD1 4HN


Research Interests

Located within the broad fields of urban social and urban political geography, my research is focused on two main areas:

  1. Crime, policing and criminal justice: 
    An interest in crime, policing and criminal justice has provided the principal focus for my research over the last twenty years. I have sought to develop the contribution of geography (in terms of recognising the importance of spatiality, place and context) to the understanding of policing in contemporary societies. Specific projects have included examining the implications of CCTV technologies for policing the city, the interplay between 'private' and 'public' forms of policing, witness protection and the policing of serious and organised crime, policing the night time economy, policing wildlife crime, and examining police decision-making in missing persons cases. I am the founding Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research which is a strategic partnership between Scotland's universities and the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland. It focuses on conducting high quality, independent research of relevance to policing and, by engaging in knowledge exchange, ensuring the findings from research are integrated into policing policy and practice.
  2. Geographies of voluntarism: social capital, citizenship and the 'shadow state' 
    A second area of research explores the geographies of civil society through a focus on voluntary organisations and volunteering. Specific projects have examined the role of voluntary organisations in delivering social welfare services to communities within cities in the fields of crime, health and ethnicity; examined how voluntary sector groups involved in providing services for migrants contribute to the development of differential forms of citizenship; and explored the comparative development of activism in the voluntary sectors in neo-liberal welfare states, focusing on the UK and New Zealand.

Recent Research Grants

2011-2013 'Missing people: process, experiences and responses' (with Hester Parr, Glasgow University, and Penny Woolnough, Grampian Police) £511, 408 from Economic and Social Research Council
2010-2013 'The governance of security and the analysis of risk: security planning for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (with Michele Burman and Simon Mckenzie, University of Glasgow, and Niall Hamilton-Smith, University of Stirling) £274,121 from European Commission Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme.
2010-2014 'Postgraduate Programme in Policing Studies' £300,000 from Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Police Services Authority to establish new MSc degree programme targeted at practitioners and delivered by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research.
2010 'Custody Visiting in Scotland: an evaluation of current practice' (with Martin Elvins, University of Dundee) £19,996 from Independent Custody Visiting Association.
2009-13 'Anti-social behaviour in rural Scotland' (with Donna Brown, University of Dundee) from Economic and Social Research Council 1+3 PhD studentship
2009-13 'Police-public relations in Scotland' (with Susan McVie, University of Edinburgh) from Economic and Social Research Council/Scottish Government 1+3 PhD studentship
2009-10 'Building Safer Communities: a knowledge exchange initiative' (with Jon Bannister, University of Glasgow and Alistair Henry, University of Edinburgh) £98,000 from Economic and Social Research Council/Scottish Funding Council;
2007-10 'Informal volunteering in marginal communities in Scotland' (with Fiona Smith, University of Dundee) from Economic and Social Research Council/Volunteer Development Scotland CASE PhD studentship
2008-11 'Police Boards in Scotland: a study of governance and accountability' (with Mik Wiesnieski, University of Strathclyde) from Economic and Social Research Council/Scottish Government PhD studentship
2007-10 'Environmental volunteering and well-being' (with Hester Parr and Fiona Smith) from Economic and Social Research Council/Forestry Commission CASE PhD Studentship
2007-10 'Policing Scotland's night-time economy' (with Martin Elvins, University of Dundee) £30,000 from Scottish Institute for Policing Research for PhD Studentship
2007-2011 Scottish Institute for Policing Research (led bid on behalf of Scotland's universities) £2.1 million from Scottish Funding Council and Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.
2005-6 'The thin green line? Policing wildlife crime in Scotland' (with Alison Reeves, University of Dundee) £1780 from Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
2005 'Placing voluntary activism in neo-liberal welfare states: a comparative study' (with Liz Bondi, University of Edinburgh, Wendy Larner, University of Bristol, Robin Kearns, University of Auckland, and Christine Milligan, University of Lancaster) £107,317 from the Economic and Social Research Council
2003-06 'The nature, meaning and impact of volunteering' (with Fiona Smith, University of Dundee) from Economic and Social Research Council/Volunteer Development Scotland CASE PhD studentship


Academic Background

1985-1989 Ph.D. Social/Political Geography of Policing, University of Cambridge
1982-85 M.A. Geography, University of Cambridge


2006- Director, Scottish Institute for Policing Research
2006 - Professor, Geography, University of Dundee
2003-2006 Reader, Geography, University of Dundee
2003 Visiting Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
2000-2003 Senior Lecturer, Geography, University of Dundee
1994 Visiting Scholar, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Canada
1990-2000 Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Strathclyde
1988-1990 Junior Research Fellow, Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge.

Professional Memberships

Royal Geographical Society/ Institute of British Geographers (affiliate of the Urban Geography Research Group).

Professional Roles

  • Editorial Board of Transnational Crime, Crime Control and Security (Palgrave MacMillan Publishers 2010-)
  • Editorial Board of Urban Studies Research (2010-)
  • Fellow of the Scottish Police College (2009-)
  • External Examiner, University of St Andrews MRes in Research Training (2009-)
  • Member of review panel for Fulbright Commission Police Awards Scheme (2009-)
  • Member of the Steering Committee of EPIC (European Policing research Institutes Collaboration)
  • Co-Chair of the Policing Working Group of the European Society of Criminology (2009-)
  • International Editorial Advisory Board of Pakistan Journal of Criminology (2008-)
  • Special Adviser to the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee for the inquiries into the Effective Use of Police Resources (2007) and Community Policing (2008)
  • Member of the Management Committee, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (2007-)
  • Lead the successful Strategic Research Development Grant bid to the Scottish Funding Council on behalf of Scotland's universities to establish the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (2007-2011)
  • International Editorial Advisory Board of Urban Studies
  • Member of the Home Office Academic Panel on Organised Crime (2003)
  • Member of the Scottish Executive's Academic Panel for the Review of Scotland's Cities in 2001-2002


Selected Publications

Fyfe, N.R. (2010) 'Policing Scotland', in Croall, H., Mooney, G. and Munro, M. (eds) Criminal Justice in Scotland: critical perspectives (Cullumpton, Willan Publishing).

Fyfe, N.R. and Henry, A. (2010) 'Police, Policing and the City: the Scottish Experience', in Ponsaers, P. et alPolice, Policing and the City in Europe.

Kyle, R; Milligan, C. Bondi, L. Fyfe, N; Kearns, R; Larner, W. (2010) 'The Tertiary Turn: locating "the academy" in autobiographical accounts of activism in Manchester, UK and Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, Antipode

Brown, D. and Fyfe, N. (2010) 'Renaissance, reassurance and restoration: community wardens and the urban realm in Scotland', Journal of Police Studies.

Fyfe, N.R. (2010) 'In search of safety? The governance of crime and the remoralisation of city spaces', in Smith, S. (et al) The Handbook of Social Geography (London: Sage). Pp.474-487.

Fyfe, N.R. and Reeves, A.D. (2010) 'The thin green line? Police perceptions of the challenges of tackling wildlife crime in Scotland', in Yarwood, R. and Mawby, R. (eds) Policing, Rurality and Governance (London: Ashgate)

Allum, F. and Fyfe, N.R. (2008) 'Developments in State Witness Protection Programmes: The Italian Experience in an International Comparative Perspective', Policing: A journal of Policy and Practice, 2(1), 92-102.

Fyfe, N.R. and Smith, K. (2007) 'Victims and Witnesses', in The Handbook of Criminal Investigation(Cullompton: Willan), pp.450-465

Bannister, J., FYFE, N.R. and Kearns, A. (2006) Respectable or respectful? (In)civility and the city, Urban Studies 43 5/6 919-938.

Fyfe, N.R. (2006) Guest Editor of Special Issue of Urban Studies on (In)civility and the City.

Fyfe, N.R. and Sheptycki, J. (2006) 'International trends in the facilitation of witness cooperation in organised crime cases' European Journal of Criminology 3(3): 319-356

Fyfe, N.R. and Kenney, J.K.(2005) The Urban Geography Reader, (Routledge, London)

Fyfe, N.R. (2005) 'Making space for "neo-communitarianism"? The third sector, state and civil society in the UK', Antipode, pp.536-557..