Senior Lecturer
(On Research Leave 2018/19)

PhD, MSc, MA (hons)
View my full research profile


Andy joined the criminology team in the School of Law in 2012, having previously lectured in Social Policy, also at the University of Edinburgh. He has previously worked with the Home Office, analysing crime data on the English regions and Wales, and with Cardiff University evaluating a multi-agency robbery reduction initiative in central Bristol. He holds degrees from the University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University covering Criminology, Politics and Modern History.

While at the University of Edinburgh, Andy has directed MSc programmes in Global Crime, Justice and Security and in Policy Studies. He has served in leadership roles in postgraduate teaching, external relations, and research, most recently as Postgraduate Research Director in the School of Law. Andy has mentored several colleagues in early career research and lecturing roles and is currently mentor to one ESRC Global Challenges Research Fellow. He is an active PhD supervisor and has supervised PhDs to completion in topics including policy making, policy transfer, community policing and domestic violence and continues to welcome applicants for doctoral study and post-doctoral mentoring. 

Ph.D. supervision interests
I welcome proposals for PhDs in any area relating to my research interests, specifically the areas of the criminology of atrocity (war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity) and in the area of police governance (policing and democracy); I have regional interests in the former Yugoslavia, and may be able to provide co-supervision depending on the topic and approach and am happy to discuss further. PhD projects supervised to completion include: Community policing and policy transfer in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Jarrett Blaustein, currently Lecturer in Criminology, Monash University); South Asian Muslim women and family violence in Scotland (Nughmana Mirza, currently Lecturer in Criminology, University of Glasgow); Police consultation forums, democracy and legitimacy (Diarmaid Harkin, currently Lecturer in Criminology, Deakin University); Police governance in Scotland after 2012 (Ali Malik, currently Associate Inspector, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland).

Current Research Interests

Andy is currently working on the criminology of atrocity crimes with an empirical focus on the former Yugoslavia and the analysis of evidence presented in international criminal courts. His recent work on the emerging Serb Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina explores issues of democratisation, deprofessionalisation and militarisation of the police as explanatory factors underlying police violence. His earlier work on Bosnia and Herzegovina explores the processes of criminal justice reform as part of a post-war state-building and democratisation, and links to more general questions of the relationship between police and democracy and of policing in post-communist states.

Closer to home, Andy maintains his interest in democratic governance of police and, continuing on from research undertaken in the SIPR-funded ‘Partners in Scrutiny’ project, Andy works with Edinburgh colleague Dr Alistair Henry and doctoral student Ali Malik on the changing landscape of police governance in Scotland. 


Andy teaches on a number of MSc and undergraduate courses focusing on international dimensions of criminology.


Dr Andy Aitchison's Staff page at the School of Law

Courses Taught

Responding to Global Crime and Insecurity (Msc) (Course Organiser)

PhD Supervisees

Francesca Soliman  'Migration, illegality, and social harm: an Italian case study.'

Books and Reports

Alistair Henry, Andy Aitchison, Ali Malik, Partners in Scrutiny: Local Police Scrutiny Arrangements in Scotland, Final Project Report, (Scottish Institute for Policing Research, 2016)
Abstract: This small-scale project was designed to examine the development and working of local police scrutiny arrangements following the creation of Police Scotland and in light of public concern regarding their efficacy. The project was supported by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and ran between October 2015 and March 2016, the fieldwork being completed by January 2016. This report begins by setting out in detail the context for the project. It then outlines the project itself, which was conducted in two stages, and its findings. Stage one of the project was a mapping and overview exercise. Through mapping we identified the different ways in which Local Scrutiny Committees (LSCs) had developed since their creation on 1 April 2013, and through overview interviews with key stakeholders we gleaned some of the current issues around questions of local scrutiny. From stage one we were able to select three local sites for more in-depth qualitative study that would form the basis of stage two. The report outlines the process of this site selection and the data collected in the three sites before moving on to present the findings in two sections. In the first section we establish the main themes and issues to emerge from the fieldwork in a summary findings section. In the second we present in more detail the various perspectives expressed to us during the course of the project. We conclude with a discussion of these perspectives from our external standpoint as researchers, offering some reflections on their meaning and importance, and making some recommendations that flow out of them.

Alistair Henry, Andy Aitchison, Ali Malik, Partners in Scrutiny: Three Local Scrutiny Committees, (Scottish Institute for Policing Research, 2016)
Abstract: This is the second of two briefing notes from the SIPR-funded Partners in Scrutiny project. It presents the perspectives and experiences of key participants (from police and local authorities) working in three different Local Scrutiny Committees (LSCs). Themes explored with participants included: structural disconnects between LSCs and local communities, LSCs and the SPA, and within Police Scotland; the understanding of roles and functions within LSCs; information flow and quality; the capacities and skills of participants relevant to the scrutiny function; the status of LSCs; and learning and sharing good practice around police scrutiny.

Alistair Henry, Andy Aitchison, Ali Malik, Partners in Scrutiny: Mapping Local Scrutiny Arrangements in Scotland, (Scottish Institute for Policing Research, 2016)

Andy Aitchison, Making the Transition: International Intervention, State-Building and Criminal Justice Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina, (Intersentia, 2011)
Abstract: Making the Transition provides an analysis of processes of reform, reconstruction and restructuring in the criminal justice field in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the years since it completed a violent secession from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). Across the three sectors of policing, courts and prisons, the work details the challenges facing Bosnia and Herzegovina and explores a range of internationally-sponsored reform initiatives. These three sectors are often examined independently of each other, but by analysing their development side by side Making the Transition is able to determine common challenges while establishing different logics and methods of international intervention. The book reflects the author’s education in a number of disciplines (politics, history, criminology) and is a useful addition to the bookshelf of those with an interest in the mechanics of state-building and in the reconstruction of post-conflict states.


Alistair Henry, Andrew Aydin-Aitchison, Ali Malik, 'Local governance in the new Police Scotland: Renegotiating power, recognition and responsiveness', (2018), European Journal of Criminology
Abstract: A marked, but by no means universal, trend in Europe over the last decade or so has been the centralisation or amalgamation of regional police organisations into larger or single units. Scotland is a case in point, its eight regional services becoming one Police Scotland in April 2013. Although the reform process was relatively consensual the new organisation has been the subject of numerous controversies, some of which reflect an actual or perceived loss of the local in Scottish policing. Drawing on a qualitative study of the emerging local governance arrangements we explore the negotiated character of large scale organisational reform, demonstrating that it is best understood as a process not an event. We also argue that appeals to localism are not mere expressions of sentiment and resistance to change. They reflect the particular historical development of policing and public service delivery in Scotland at the level of municipal government, but also strong convictions that policing should be subject to democratic deliberation and should recognise and be responsive to those subject to it, what we argue here are necessary functions of police governance in general.

Andy Aydin-Aitchison, 'The Roots of Ethnic Cleansing in Europe. H. Zeynep Bulutgil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 218pp. ', (2018), ID: International Dialogue A Multidisciplinary Journal of World Affairs, Vol 8, pp 94-99

Andy Aydin-Aitchison, 'Police in Africa: The street level view', (2018), Policing and Society, Vol 28, pp 874-877

Andy Aitchison, 'Police and Persecution in the Bosnian Krajina: Democratisation, Deprofessionalisation and Militarisation', (2016), Criminal Justice Issues, Vol 14, pp 1-19
Abstract: Reason(s) for writing and research problem(s): The paper examines processes leading to police participation in ethnic violence. This is often taken for granted and under-explored in criminological literature which assumes that police, as part of the state monopoly of violence, are inevitable partners in ethnic violence. The paper also contributes to a growing body of work using the rich resources provided by the ICTY and other courts dealing with atrocity crime (Buss 2014; Bećirević 2014; Komar 2008; Mullins 2009). The methodological implications of using these sources are rarely discussed. This paper addresses that gap. Aims of the paper (scientific and/or social): The scientific aims of the paper are firstly to offer a robust description of police violence in the Bosnian Krajina during the early stages of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This provides a foundation for building an explanatory framework, exploring an untested assumption in criminological work. The paper also seeks to add to the written history of the war in Bosnia, contributing to the understanding of the origins of the conflict and the way it took place. Methodology/Design: The paper adopts a qualitative research design based on a purposive sample of two cases heard at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (Prosecutor v Brđanin, Prosecutor v Stanišić and Župljanin). Over 50,000 pages of court transcripts and 3,000 pieces of evidence were subjected to a coding process using computer aided qualitative data analysis software (NVivo). Research/paper limitations: The paper is limited to a study of one narrow region, the Bosnian Krajina, and one authority, the emerging Serb Republic. Further comparative work is required to establish variation and common features across regions and authorities within Bosnia and Herzegovina and across other Yugoslav republics experiencing violence in the 1990s and 2000s. The paper adopts a top down approach and so does not focus on individual motivation of the front line police engaged in atrocities.Results/Findings: The paper establishes that the police in the Krajina region were politicised, deprofessionalised and militarised and played a central role in ethnic violence and ethnic cleansing. This process is rooted in various legacy features of BiH as a republic of Yugoslavia (local defence structures, relationship between police and military, ethnically based allocation of key positions for parity) combined with specific dimensions of democratisation (ethnically based political parties, power sharing agreements). General conclusion:By identifying the particular historical conditions behind the participation of Serb police in the Bosnian Krajina in ethnically targeted violence, the paper finds that the criminological assumption that this is inevitable leaves important local contextual factors unexamined. Research/paper validity:The conclusions concur with and expand upon existing criminological work.

Andy Aitchison, Paddy Tomkins, 'Policing must be local, but also informed by global experience ', (2015), Scottish Justice Matters, Vol 3, pp 15-16
Abstract: Paddy Tomkins, former Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police and head of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland, talks to Andy Aitchison, lecturerin Criminology at the University of Edinburgh about his work with the Serbian Ministry of the Interior (MUP).

Andy Aitchison, 'Governing through Crime Internationally? Bosnia and Herzegovina ', (2013), British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Vol 15, pp 548-565
Abstract: The article adapts and applies the governing through crime framework to analyse the EU and Office of the High Representative (OHR) as international governing actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Limited, ambiguous and opportunistic use of techniques associated with governing through crime are most evident in relation to OHR, but only as one of a wider range of governing logics, and are linked to specific challenges of legitimation. The outward spread of criminal justice models and metaphors proposed by Simon is shown to be problematic in light of the breadth of activities that such a stance might admit to the framework.

Andy Aitchison, Jarrett Blaustein, 'Policing for Democracy or Democratically Responsive Policing?: Examining the Limits of Externally Driven Police Reform', (2013), European Journal of Criminology, Vol 10, pp 496-511
Abstract: This paper engages with literatures on democratic policing in established and emerging democracies and argues for disaggregating democratic policing into two more precise terms: policing for democracy and democratically responsive policing. The first term captures the contribution of police to securing and maintaining wider democratic forms of government, while the second draws on political theory to emphasise arrangements for governing police actors based on responsiveness. Applying two distinct terms helps to highlight limitations to external police assistance. The terms are applied in an exploratory case study of fifteen years of police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The paper highlights early work securing the necessary conditions for political democracy in BiH but argues that subsequent EU-dominated interventions undermine responsiveness. A recent UNDP project suggests that external actors can succeed in supporting democratically responsive policing where they do not have immediate security interests at stake.

Andy Aitchison, 'Global meets local: International participation in prison reform and restructuring in Bosnia and Herzegovina ', (2010), Criminology and Criminal Justice, Vol 10, pp 77-94
Abstract: This paper presents a case study of international participation in criminal justice reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), taken as an example of a small, peripheral jurisdiction experiencing a number of important social, political and economic transitions. The local context is introduced and is followed with a brief discussion on broader developments in penal policy beyond BiH. This precedes a case study of the work of the Council of Europe, which focuses on the pursuit of adequate conditions of detention for forensic psychiatric patients as an example of the impact of international human rights discourse and instruments on local penal policy. The obstacles to progress towards improved conditions of detention are located in the context of political fragmentation in BiH, supporting the view that local factors can constrain or mediate the influence of broader trends in penal policy.

Andy Aitchison, 'Police Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina: State, Democracy and International Assistance ', (2007), Policing and Society, Vol 17, pp 321-343
Abstract: As a starting point, this article takes the assertion by Clifford Shearing that there is a lack of synchronisation between patterns of policing in established democracies and the international policing assistance programmes they pursue. This provides a background against which to examine concrete examples of multilateral (UN and EU) and bilateral (UK) assistance to post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. The discussion of these programmes is set in the context of ongoing debates on democratic policing, and explores the problems and needs experienced in policing post-war and post-socialist Bosnia and Herzegovina. International responses to these problems and needs are examined, and a mixed picture emerges in which multilateral assistance schemes appear to suggest that Shearing’s concerns remain pertinent ten years on, while bilateral assistance from the UK suggests that there are circumstances in which international policing assistance escapes the framework of the state and recognises the importance of non-state participants in security provision.


Andy Aydin-Aitchison, 'Handle with care ICTY, juridical by products and criminological analyses' in Carsten Stahn, Carmel Agius, Serge Brammertz, John Hocking, Colleen Rohan (ed.) Legacies of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (Oxford University Press 2017)

Andy Aydın-Aitchison, 'Genocide and state sponsored killing ' in Fiona Brookman, Ed Maguire, Mike Maguire (ed.) The Handbook on Homicide (Wiley-Blackwell 2017)
Abstract: The chapter gives an account of genocide, linking this with the wider phenomenon of state sponsored killing. Firstly some of the key dimensions of genocide in legal and extra-legal scholarship are introduced, identifying points where differing interpretations of the crime emerge. The prevalence and distribution of genocide is examined in terms of a snapshot of the current situation, historical surveys and attempts to calculate the number dying in state sponsored killings. An account of different ways of thinking about victims and perpetrators leads in to a summary of explanatory frameworks, concluding with recent attempts to create multi-level, integrated explanations for genocide. Finally, the record of preventive action since 1948 is examined, suggesting some reasons for changes in the willingness to intervene during, or to prosecute after, genocidal episodes.

Andy Aitchison, 'Policing after state-socialism ' in Ben Bradford, Jauregui Beatrice, Loader Ian, Steinberg Jonny (ed.) Handbook of Global Policing (SAGE Publications Ltd 2016)
Abstract: There are important divergences in how states experience state socialism (Bunce, 1999). Political and institutional choices made in advance of, during and immediately after the demise of a state-socialist regime can produce very different trajectories and outcomes (Fish, 1999). Nonetheless, certain important commonalities have been identified and abstracted from concrete historical formations, particularly in relation to ideology, structures of power and the relationships between state, party and mass organisations (Kornai, 1992). The police system, as a manifestation and fundamental element of state and party power, exhibits certain commonalities in relation to legitimacy, structure and function (Mawby, 2008). Depending on the nature of the transition away from state-socialism, these may continue to be evident in the subsequent police system. This chapter gives an account of socialist policing and, through an account of developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Poland, examines the impact of differences in transition upon police systems. A quick and clear transition in Poland can be contrasted with messier, conflict-affected transitions in post-Yugoslav Bosnia and post-Soviet Georgia, to show the importance of breakage as a mode of transitional change.

Andy Aitchison, 'Criminological Theory and International Crime Examining the Potential' in Ilias Bantekas, Emmanouela Mylonaki (ed.) Criminological Approaches to International Criminal Law (Cambridge University Press 2014) 22-49

Andy Aitchison, '“Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing” ' in Fiona Brookman, Mike Maguire, Harriet Pierpoint, Trevor Bennett (ed.) Handbook on Crime (Cullompton: Willan 2010) 762-84

Working Papers

Andy Aydin-Aitchison, 'ICTY Evidence on Detention Sites: An Agenda for Comparative Research' 2018
Abstract: This paper is an extension of material presented at the 18th annual meeting of the European Society of Criminology. The paper sets out an approach for some work in progress, which seeks to develop a comparative analysis of sites of detention during the Yugoslav conflicts occurring between 1991 and 2001. These were a series of conflicts occurring on the territories of current day Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, and Macedonia as the post-Yugoslav political landscape was violently contested. The paper advances in four steps:A light-touch historical review of detention and concentration of civilians;A short outline of three different disciplinary perspectives (Bergholz 2016; Bulutgil 2016; Malešević 2017) that inform my proposed analysis of wartime detention sites in the former Yugoslavia; A summary of detention sites covered in ICTY indictments;A proposal of multiple levels of comparison to answer a range of questions on war, detention sites and atrocity crimes.The work builds on earlier developments, particularly on multi-level analysis of atrocity crime (Aitchison, 2014: 37-40, with a particular debt to van Baar and Huisman 2012), on the role of police in atrocity crimes in the Bosnian Krajina (Aitchison 2016), and on making use of ICTY archives as criminological data (Aydın-Aitchison, forthcoming).

Andy Aitchison, 'Police and atrocity crimes in Bosnian Krajina ' 2016

Andy Aitchison, 'Post-Socialist Policing in Bosnia and Herzegovina ' 2016

Andy Aitchison, 'Oversold and under recognised: A reflection on the ICTY' 2016

Andy Aitchison, 'On mitigation – the Karadžić judgement ' 2016

Andy Aitchison, 'Change and continuity – community service as an alternative to prison in Bosnia ' 2014

Andy Aitchison, 'The one-toothed police officer ' 2014

Andy Aitchison, 'Bosnia’s Election 2014 – The Republika Srpska Presidency ' 2014

Andy Aitchison, 'Bosnia’s Elections 2014 – Cantonal Level ' 2014

Andy Aitchison, 'Sarajevo Plenum – Deliberation and Demands ' 2014

Andy Aitchison, 'Football – only a game? ' 2014

Andy Aitchison, Jarrett Blaustein, Benjamin Himmler, Liam O'Sheaa, 'International Police Assistance: Democracy, Politics and Culture' 2014
Abstract: This briefing provides an overview of recent research on International Police Assistance. Firstly the relationship between policing and democracy is examined. While international missions have been successful in supervising police agencies to support emerging democracies, their power and influence means they can become an obstacle to police forces responding to needs articulated by local citizens. Secondly, the wider political context is of major importance, and so technical reforms without democratic state-building are of limited value. Finally, where international deployment is appropriate, suitable pre-mission training on different understandings of the police role, working across languages and cultural differences, is essential to maximise effective and legitimate delivery of police assistance.

Andy Aitchison, 'Mass policing and micro protests ' 2014

Andy Aitchison, 'Reading the (Bosnian) Riots ' 2014

Andy Aitchison, 'Independence day – a contested holiday ' 2014

Andy Aitchison, 'The Road to Sokolac: Securing the Benefits of ‘Greater-European’ citizenship for forensic psychiatric detainees in Bosnia' 2012