Dr David Churchill

Dr David Churchill


I started academic life as an historian, during which time I developed a particular interest in issues of crime and justice. I obtained an MA in History from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in History from The Open University, and I held the Economic History Society Anniversary Research Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research, London, in 2013-14. I first came to Leeds as a research fellow in 2014, and took up the post of Lecturer in Criminal Justice the following year.

Research interests

My research is on historical criminology and criminal justice history, specifically on subjects related to policing, security and crime control in modern Britain. Most of my work to-date has centred on the roles of the police and the civilian public in crime control during the nineteenth century. This led in 2017 to the publication of my first book - Crime Control and Everyday Life in the Victorian City: The Police and the Public - by Oxford University Press (http://www.oup.com/localecatalogue/cls_academic/?i=9780198797845). The book assess the response to crime in provincial Victorian cities, analysing the organisation and practice of policing on the one hand, and reconstructing civilian practices of crime prevention, apprehension, detection and resolution on the other. Thus, it provides an original interpretation of the relation between formal and informal policing in the era of the 'new' police. Related to this work, I have published articles and essays on police governance, police-public relations, popular justice and the historiography of modern criminal justice.

I have also pursued research on security technologies and the development of the security industry in the nineteenth century. Focusing on key innovations in security hardware (particularly locks, safes and strong rooms), this work has contributed an historical perspective to work on the commodification of security and its social and cultural implications. I am currently working to extend this research into the twentieth century.

Along with Anna Barker, Nathan Booth and Adam Crawford, I have also conducted research on the social life of public parks in Leeds, past and present. This project focused on the social purpose of urban parks – both at the time of their foundation (in the Victorian era) and today – and everyday experiences of parks and their regulation (https://futureofparks.leeds.ac.uk/). As part of this project, we worked with Leeds Library and Information Service to develop a photographic archive of Leeds parks through time - the highlights of that collection are available here: http://leodiscollections.net/collection/10

More broadly, I have research interests in victims, prosecution and the criminal justice process, the interface between crime and technology, political aspects of policing and criminal justice, and the development of historical approaches to criminology and criminal justice studies.

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<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 in History
  • MA in History

Professional memberships

  • British Society of Criminology

Student education

I contribute to teaching on the BA in Criminal Justice and Criminology. My principal areas of teaching are in study skills, policing, security and crime prevention, crime and technology, and the history of crime and criminal justice. I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations on criminal justice topics.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Criminal Justice Studies
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>