Dr Ali Malik

Dr Ali Malik


I joined the School of Law in May 2023 as Lecturer in Criminal Justice. Previously, I was Assistant Professor in Criminology and Policing at Northumbria University (2019-2023) where I led the policing degree programme. I have also worked as Associate Inspector for HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (2017-2021). I completed my doctoral thesis at the University of Edinburgh (2013-2017), examining the police governance and accountability arrangements in Scotland following reform in 2013. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

My interdisciplinary research examines the efficacy of police governance arrangements to ensure policing remains responsive to the needs of diverse communities. I am particularly interested in the structures of police governance and the roles of key local and national actors, as well as public and private entities, in shaping policing policies, priorities, and in delivering scrutiny and accountability. In my recently published monograph, entitled 'The Politics of Police Governance: Scottish Police Reform, Localism, and Epistocracy' (Policy Press), I have developed an innovative framework that synthesises the concept of epistocracy (knowledge-based governance) with the broader scholarship on democratic policing, public administration, and police governance and accountability. I have extensive experience in policing research and policy engagement. I have written for the Conversation regarding issues related to equality, diversity and inclusion in Police Scotland. My research report  ‘Steering from the centre’ formed the basis for Scottish Parliamentary scrutiny on the post-reform governance arrangements, with particular emphasis on the role of the Scottish Police Authority. I have written several research summaries and briefings for the Scottish Institute for Policing Research and provided evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee. I have also engaged with prominent media outlets such as the BBC, The Economist, Financial Times, and Herald Scotland to disseminate my research findings.


  • Deputy Director, Centre for Criminal Justice Studies

Research interests

My emergent research agenda focuses on the role of the police and local governance actors in preparing for, and responding to, climate disasters and extreme weather events. It is underpinned by two main strands: 

  1. Exploring how police and local governance actors perceive, categorise, and track climate vulnerability, and examining how these perceptions influence localised adaptation, mitigation, and response strategies.
  2. Providing insights into how local policing and governance actors engage with communities and harness local knowledge and community-based groups to enhance community resilience in the face of climate disasters and extreme weather events.

As the holder of the Michael Beverley Innovation Fellowship (Cohort 4, 2023-24), I have been involved in fostering collaborative ties with local police forces and national bodies such as HMICS, the College of Policing, and the Police Foundation to garner support for co-produced research examining the impact of climate change on local communities and local police and first responders. Additionally, to develop links with international scholars and researchers in this field, in December 2023, I participated in a symposium on Policing the Climate Crisis as part of the Australian and New Zealand Criminology Conference, held in Melbourne.

In January 2023, I collaborated with colleagues from Northumbria University to conduct an interdisciplinary study examining the extent to which English as an additional language (EAL) can influence the performance of candidates from diverse backgrounds in police recruitment and promotion exams, as well as applications for specialist roles. As the Principal Investigator (PI), I led all aspects of the research, including fieldwork, data analysis, and the final report. The findings and recommendations from our study have prompted a review of police assessments and exams. This research was generously funded by Durham Constabulary as part of the Policing Uplift Programme.

In 2021, I contributed to HMICS’ thematic inspection of Police Scotland’s training and development. As part of this inspection, I conducted a survey focusing on issues of equality and diversity, as well as the experiences of officers in Police Scotland. The findings from this survey were incorporated into the HMICS report and recommendations. Additionally, in 2019, I was commissioned by HMICS to undertake a comparative review of police governance arrangements. This review aimed to assist with HMICS' inspection of police governance in Scotland. I conducted an extensive analysis of six jurisdictions, including New Zealand, Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales, and the Netherlands. A comparative overview report was delivered to HMICS, forming the basis of recommendations aimed at improving the governance of policing in Scotland.

<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 Criminology, University of Edinburgh
  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Edinburgh
  • PG Cert. in Academic Practice (Distinction), Northumbria University

Professional memberships

  • European Society of Criminology
  • British Society of Criminology
  • Higher Education Academy (Fellow)

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://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>