Empirical Research to Contextualise Serious and Organised Crimes and Develop Perspectives on Effective Crime Control in the UK

  • Michael Skidmore

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis draws together papers from four separate projects that cohere to make a significant contribution to knowledge on the nature and impact of serious and organised crime in the UK and relatedly, the nature and effectiveness of public policies, structures and resources for implementing crime control. Serious and organised crime is contested in criminology, the form that it takes dependent on which theoretical framework is adopted. I take a crime-oriented perspective to examine specific offence categories, including fraud, volume acquisitive crime, sexual abuse and exploitation. I integrate analyses of police and other administrative data, practitioner surveys and interviews, taking an interpretative approach to analysis. I produce empirical accounts that contextualise these crimes within the relevant community, market or technological settings, incorporating the experiences of victims and affected communities. Furthermore, I apply this evidence to critically discuss the approaches in law enforcement to constructing serious and organised crimes, and the ways in which these interact with, and guide discretion across policing. A key element of my research into fraud and online child sexual abuse has been to refract evidence on these crimes through the knowledge, resources and structures in law enforcement and the wider state to account for the effectiveness of crime control, incorporating criminal investigation, protective services and crime prevention. I collected evidence from within law enforcement to critically appraise effectiveness within the frame of harm reduction. I used this evidence to produce theorised accounts to explain deficiencies in strategic and operational law enforcement. Key overarching themes include workforce and technological capability; knowledge generation and approaches to rationalising discretion; the coordination of resources and interventions; and the positioning of law enforcement within the wider ecology of stakeholders, drawing from the principles of situational crime prevention.
Date of Award1 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorMark Button (Supervisor)

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