Pictured above: (l-r) Vice-Chancellor Professor Bob Cryan with John Parkinson, Angela Gallop, Mark Burns-Williamson (part of the advisory Group) and Professor Rachel Armitage at the Launch in March 2016
Launched in March 2016, the Secure Societies Institute (SSI) represents a truly inter-disciplinary approach to addressing global security challenges including, but not limited to, terrorism, child sexual abuse and exploitation, cyber crime, modern slavery and human trafficking. The Institute has over 80 members. These are research active staff and postgraduate researchers from across each of the seven Schools at the University of Huddersfield who are conducting research that has some relevance to security. This includes topics as varied as ballistics, cyber crime, law forensic linguistics, criminology, policing, forensic podiatry and forensic science. The overall vision of the SSI is to be an innovative, internationally renowned institute dedicated to providing applied, practical evidence-based solutions to security challenges.
Advisory board of practitioners
The Institute is guided by an Advisory Board that includes practitioners with expertise in law, policing, youth crime and victimisation and forensic science; these include John Parkinson (OBE) – the former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, Mark Burns-Williamson – the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Angela Gallop – CEO Forensic Access and Axiom International, Nick Barker – Barrister, Sue Berelowitz – Former Deputy Children’s Commissioner and Professor Ton Broeders – Leiden University. Working closely with end-users ensures that the SSI’s research and outputs are applied and directly implementable.
The Institute is directed by Rachel Armitage (Professor of Criminology) with Deputy Directors Professor Liam Blunt and Dr Stefano Vanin. A cross-School Management Team ensures that the focus is multi-disciplinary. Four Assistant Directors lead on key research themes – these are: Dr Simon Parkinson (Cyber-Crime), Professor Paul Thomas (Terrorism and Violent Extremism), Dr Anna Williams (Forensic Science and the Criminal Justice System) and Dr Maria Ioannou (Modern Slavery and Child Sexual Exploitation/Abuse).
“The Institute is about working more effectively as a University, sharing the knowledge that we already have, but also adding value to produce something exciting, innovative and truly inter-disciplinary,” Professor Rachel Armitage, Director Secure Societies Institute
The Institute is based within the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre; this gives the Institute a physical space that is not linked to one School. Professor Armitage is based there with SSI Research Fellows – Dr Dagmar Heinrich (Forensic Anthropology) and Dr Iffat Gheyas (Cyber-Crime).
Members of the Institute can expect many benefits in terms of progressing their research – primarily an opportunity to meet regularly with other researchers with a common interest in crime and security. SSI hosts bi-monthly members’ themed workshops at which external practitioners are invited to present a particular security challenge, with members asked to consider applied solutions to that problem. Workshops have been held on topics including: serious sexual offences, terrorism and violent extremism and modern slavery. Members can also expect support in writing inter-disciplinary papers and bids.