Dr Ian Shannon QPM PhD


Ian started as an ESRC White Rose Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Leeds in October 2019. Ian completed his PhD at the University of Liverpool in 2018. Ian also has a BA in Government from the University of Essex, an MA in Policing from the University of Exeter and a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Criminology and Police Management from the University of Cambridge.

Ian has recently had an article published, 'Democratic oversight and political direction of chief police officers in England and Wales:  Implications for police legitimacy', in ‘Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice’, 

Ian’s work at Leeds builds on his thesis, which explored how chief police officers in England and Wales understand the right of police to exercise power. The chief officers interviewed invoked duties to protect the public (particularly the most vulnerable), policing by consent and explanations based in law and associated checks and balances. However, Ian found that these accounts are confused, conflicted and, above all, convenient in helping chief police officers assert a privileged position when making decisions about the use of power. The Fellowship will be used to disseminate the findings of this research to academics, police officers and police policy makers and to those responsible for police oversight, with the intention of improving policing in the interest of citizens. In part this will be done by writing a book based on the thesis and by producing articles exploring a policing discourse of vulnerability and examining the precarious position that police chief officers reported they are in, and the implications this has for civil liberties. Some additional research will be conducted to underpin this work. The findings will also be disseminated and exposed to scrutiny at international conferences and in a symposium focused on police leadership.

Ian served as a police officer from 1981 – 2013 in London, Merseyside and from 2005 – 2013 in North Wales as Assistant Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable and Temporary Chief Constable. After retiring from the police, he completed his PhD and was also an Associate with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, recently leading the team conducting the thematic inspection Leading Lights: an inspection of the arrangements for the development and selection and development of chief officers. Ian also worked as an Associate Management Consultant for RSM UK. Ian was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service in 2013.

Research interests

Article published in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice:

'Democratic oversight and political direction of chief police officers in England and Wales:  Implications for police legitimacy'. 

Research interests:  policing; police legitimacy; police chief officers; police governance and accountability; and the use and abuse of police power. Link to PhD thesis, https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/3027487/ 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD University of Liverpool
  • Diploma in Applied Criminology and Police Management, University of Cambridge
  • MA in Policing, University of Exeter
  • BA(Hons) in Government, University of Essex
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy