Reforming Police Practice in Scotland

Dr Kath Murray's doctoral research led to fundamental reform in Scottish policing practice.

Murray's analysis of data from 2005 to 2010 showed that police use of stop and search in Glasgow was higher than in New York or London and that it was disproportionately weighted towards children and young people.

Murray's findings were shared with the police and the Scottish Government and published through the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR). As a result, the UN Human Rights Committee called on the Scottish Government to end unlawful and disproportionate stops and searches and the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill 2015 abolished on-statutory stop and search and enhanced scrutiny arrangements.

An Independent Advisory Group credited Murray with bringing the matter forward for political debate.

On 22 June 2016, Murray was awarded the prestigious ESRC and SAGE Publishing Early Career Impact Award. Murray, who is currently a Research Associate at the Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research, was awarded the prize for her policy reforming worth in understanding the Scottish police force's day-to-day application of the stop and search policy.

Commenting on Murray's achievements, Professor Richard Sparks, Head of Edinburgh Law School, said: 'For a doctoral project to have initiated a major public debate on an aspect of police practice and led directly to a change in legislation is unprecedented in my experience'.

Murray continues to engage with the police, press, academics, and other key stakeholders.

 Related links

Dr Kath Murray's profile page

Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research (SCCJR) website

ESRC News page


 Related publications

Murray, K. (2015). Policing, Prevention and the Rise of Stop and Search in Scotland. Scottish Justice Matters, 3(2), 5-6.

Murray, K. (2015). Stop and search in Scotland: A post-reform overview: Scrutiny and accountability. (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research Reports; No. 6/2015). Glasgow: Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.

Murray, K. (2015). To legislate or not to legislate? Stop and search for alcohol for under-18s: A review of the evidence. The Scottish Journal of Criminal Justice Studies, 21(Oct), 37-55.

Murray, K. (2016). Landscape Review on Stop and Search in Scotland. Dundee: Scottish Institute for Policing Research.