Director: Dr Chris A. Williams


The International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice aims to promote and facilitate research into criminal justice history around the world and to generate the exchange of ideas between academics, criminal justice practitioners and serving and retired policemen. This is achieved via seminars, conferences, publications and the provision of specialist archive facilities. The Centre has research specialisms in:

  • the history of crime, including the history of violence
  • the history of policing in Europe from c.1750
  • the history of British colonial policing in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • the history of the criminal justice system, including issues of access and representation
  • the rights of the poor, as well as poverty and welfare
  • the representation of crime and its punishment in cultural forms, including the media and genres of entertainment
  • the history of punishment, from public bodily punishments to prisons
  • the influence of the past on contemporary criminal justice.

The Centre is located in the History Department within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The Open University. Formerly known as the European Centre for the Study of Policing (ECSP), the Centre is linked to the Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative, an interdisciplinary research group at the Open University. In addition, the Centre has strong links with the Groupe Européen de Recherche sur les Normativités (GERN) and close connections with the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Polizeigeschichte. Centre members also have a close collaborative relationship with History & Policy. Visiting research staff have come from as far afield America, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Canada and China and the permanent staff at the Centre are always keen to hear of relevant research being conducted world-wide.

Please use the links in the top menu for more information on the Centre's membership, current research projects, events, resources and contact information.

In memory of Professor Clive Emsley

Policeman photo

Contact us

Please direct enquiries about the Centre, including its facilities and access to its resources, to Dr Chris A. Williams:

Department of History
Faculty of Arts
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

Telephone: +44 (0)1908 652477
Fax: +44 (0)1908 653750
Email: Chris.Williams@open.ac.uk