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Prof Richard Sparks part of new ESRC grant on ‘place, crime and insecurity’

Tue 23 July 2019

Prof Richard Sparks

Richard Sparks, Professor of Criminology at Edinburgh Law School, has been awarded a research grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for a study, entitled ‘Place, crime and insecurity in everyday life: A contemporary study of an English town’. The study – to be conducted along with Evi Girling (Keele, PI), Ian Loader (Oxford) and Ben Bradford (UCL) – will commence in November and run for three years.

The project will investigate how people living in one English town, Macclesfield in Cheshire, talk about and act towards a range of threats that they regard as impinging upon their safety (their personal bodily integrity, their property, their locality and their wider habitat). Such threats include, but are somewhat wider than, those traditionally brought under the umbrella of the 'fear of crime' and include new forms of risk, and risk-consciousness, made possible by the digital revolution and other forms of recent social, political and technological change.

In the mid-1990s, three members of the research team addressed earlier versions of these questions through a study of people's fears and feelings towards crime and social order in Macclesfield. Girling, Loader and Sparks published the outcomes of this work in a book entitled Crime and Social Change in Middle England (2000). Now the team will revisit the town, a quarter of a century later, to undertake a new study of people's everyday experiences of security and insecurity today.

As part of the project, Prof Sparks will explore aspects of governing local security by undertaking interviews and focus groups with police and other agencies in Macclesfield. He will also help to convene and report on a range of meetings and events designed to build public deliberation on security questions into the project and its findings. More about the Economic and Social Research Council