Dr Iain Channing

Dr Iain Channing

Lecturer in Criminology

School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Iain Channing is a lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice and his research specialises in policing in historical and contemporary contexts. He has published three books which include the monograph The Police and the Expansion of Public Order Law, the edited collection Leading the Police (with Kim Stevenson and David Cox) and most recently, Historical Criminology (with David Churchill and Henry Yeomans). He has also contributed to other academic books and has articles published in Policing and Safer Communities. He has been invited to present his research at guest lectures across Europe and has also ran public order training days for the police. He has taught at the University of Plymouth since 2015 and currently manages the MSc Criminology programme. His teaching incorporates aspects of his research interests. His stage 3 module applies aspects of historical criminology while at stage 1 and 2 he runs modules which focus on police practice and theory. These modules modules focus on criminal investigation and forensic criminology and make use of innovative and practical learning scenarios.


  • PGCert. Academic Practice (Higher Education). (2016) Plymouth University.
  • PhD Law, 'Blackshirts and White Wigs: Reflections on Public Order Law and the Political Activism of the British Union of Fascists' (2014) Plymouth University.
  • MRes History, 'Poverty and the poor law in Plymouth, 1900-1930: Guardians of the poor or guardians of the ratepayers?' (2009) Plymouth University.

Professional membership

  • Secretary of British Society of Criminology (South West Branch)
  • Co-Director CHEx (Culture and Heritage Exchange)
  • Membership Secretary of SOLON: Promoting Interdisciplinary Studies in Law, Crime and History



Teaching interests

Module leader:
  • CCJ608 Crime, Punishment and Social Change (stage 3)
  • CCJ503 Forensic Criminology 2: Social Investigations (stage 2) 
  • CCJ406 Forensic Criminology 1: Police Investigations (stage 1)
  • CRIM748 Crime, Culture and Control (MSc)
  • CRIM732 Criminology Dissertation (MSc)

Also teaches on: 
  • CCJ601 Criminology and Criminal Justice Dissertation (stage 3)
  • CCJ504 Researching Crime and Criminal Justice
  • CCJ401 Being a Criminologist
  • CCJ404 Crime in Context (stage 1)
  • CRIM746 Criminological Research (MSc)
  • MARE707 Research Skills in the Arts, Humanities & Business



Research interests

My principal research interest is the history of crime and policing in Britain from the nineteenth century to the present day. More specifically, this incorporates aspects of public order law in its historical and contemporary form and its continuous relationship with public protest and political activism. Of particular interest are the varied uses of police discretion which have had both positive and negative outcomes in public order scenarios. This decision making process is important as it effects the way activists (and society more generally) regard and relate to the police and how the media represent them. 

My PhD thesis reflects these interests as it was an interdisciplinary research project which combined Criminology, Law and History in an examination of the legal responses to the political extremism of the British Union of Fascists in the interwar period. My monograph, The Police and the Expansion of Public Order Law in Britain, 1829-2013, expands on these themes by placing legal developments within their social and political historical context which also included an examination of the activism and policing of the Chartists, the Salvation Army, the Suffragettes, the Communist Party of Great Britain and the English Defence League.




Yeomans, H., Churchill, D., and Channing, I. (2020) Conversations in a Crowded Room: An Assessment of the Contribution of Historical Research to Criminology, Howard Journal of Crime and Justice. 59(3): 243-60.

Channing, I. (2020) 'Policing Extreme Political Protest: A Historical Evaluation of Police of Prejudice', Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 14(4): 900–915.

Channing, I. and Ward, J. (2017) 'Homophobia, Brexit and Constitutional Change', Safer Communities, 16(4): 166-175.

Channing, I. (2011) ‘Freedom of Expression from the Age of Extremes to the Age of Terror: Reflections on Public Order Law and the Legal Responses to Political and Religious Extremism in 1930s Britain and the Post 9/11 Era’, Law, Crime and History, 1(2):  Available Online


Churchill, D., Yeomans, H. and Channing, I. (2022) Historical Criminology. Routledge.

Stevenson, K., Cox, D. and Channing, I. (eds) (2017) Leading the Police: A history of Chief Constables 1835-2017, Routledge.

Channing, I. (2015) The Police and the Expansion of Public Order Law in Britain, 1829-2012, Routledge.


Stevenson, K. and Channing, I. (2019) ‘Authoritative judgements in a Provincial Town: Responses to Everyday offending in Plymouth’ in Gregory, J., Grey, D., and Bautz A. (eds) Judgement in the Victorian Age, Routledge.

Channing, I. (2017) 'Chief Constables and Public Order: Tensions between discretion and consistency' in Stevenson, Cox and Channing (eds) Leading the Police: A History of Chief Constables 1835-2017, Routledge.

Channing, I. (2017) ‘Riot Act; Public Order; Breach of the Peace; Unlawful Assembly; The Far Right’ in Turner, J., Taylor, P., Corteen, K., and Morley, S. (eds) Companion to the History of Crime and Punishment, Policy Press: Bristol.

Conference Papers

2022   'Meet the Authors: A British Society of Criminology Historical Network Event': Historical Criminology by David Churchill, Henry Yeomans and Iain Channing', London Southbank University Online event.  

2021   ‘Plymouth’s Policing of Ticket of Leave Men 1856-1870’, British Crime Historians Symposium.

2020  ‘Historical Perspectives on the policing of political extremism in the UK, Institute of British Studies, Berlin. Invited.

2019  ‘The Amateur Gipsy’: A deviant leisure perspective on the history of the caravan holiday and the harm caused to Gypsy and Traveller communities. Presented at the American Society of Criminology Conference 12-16th November 2019. San Francisco, USA.

2018  ‘Masculinity, Identity and the British Far Right in Historical and Contemporary Contexts’, Presented at the European Society of Criminology Conference, 29 August - 1 September at Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

2017 ‘Policing the Blackshirts in the South West’, Public Lecture for the Historical Association. Invited.

2017 ‘The state and the mob: legal responses to riot and disorder’ Presented at Collective action, popular politics and policing in Ireland and Great Britain, 1700-1850, At the Humanities Institute, University College Dublin. Invited.

2017 'Policing political activism since the nineteenth century: Historical research and contemporary perspectives' Presented at the British Society of Criminology Conference, 4-7 July at Sheffield Hallam University.

2017 Round Table: 'Rediscovering the narratives of everyday crime' presented with Judith Rowbotham, Daniel Grey, David Cox, Craig Newbery-Jones, Rob Giles and Kim Stevenson at Lives, Trials and Executions: Perspectives on Crime 1700-1900, 24 May 2017, at Liverpool John Moores University. 

2017 'Homophobia, Constitutional change and the (expected) Bill of Rights' (With Jonathan Ward) Presented at Brexit Criminology: Crime, Justice and Society, 5 April 2017 at Plymouth University.

2016 ‘Quis Custodiet? Police discipline in the Three Towns’ at Plymouth University Nineteenth Century Studies Conference, “A Time of Judgement”: The Operation and Representation of Judgement in Nineteenth-Century Cultures.

2015 Delivered a one day workshop on Public Order Law for East Midlands Police (East Midlands Operational Support Services). Invited.

2015 ‘Moral Regulation and Everyday Offending in the Three Maritime Towns 1880-1920’ at Plymouth University Nineteenth Century Studies: Plymouth Soundings.

2015 Presented paper, ‘Crimes Against Fashion: A brief history of the prohibition of political uniforms’ at the British Society of Criminology Conference at Plymouth University.

2012 Presented paper, ‘“I’m going on a march, cos I want Britain to be about British!” A comparison of Legal Responses to the Public Processions of the British Union of Fascists and the English Defence League’ at the Modern Activism conference for academics and practitioners held at Liverpool University.

2010 Presented paper, ‘Human Rights from the Age of Extremes to the Age of Terror’ at SOLON’s conference entitled From School Exclusion Orders to Anti Terror Laws: Human Rights and the Use of Law in the Modern State at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

Other Publications

Channing, I. (2018) ' The Scapegoat and the British Far-Right in Historical and Contemporary Context', British Society of Criminology Newsletter, 82: 16-20. 

Channing, I, Stevenson, K. and Rowbotham, J. (2015) ‘Research Project Report: Everyday Offending in Plymouth’, Law, Crime and History, 5:2, 97-106.

Channing, I. (2015) ‘Political Uniforms’, Westlaw UK insights, online resource.

Channing, I. (2015) ‘Quasi-military Organisations’, Westlaw UK insights, online resource.



Reports & invited lectures

Invited to facilitate a one day 'Public Order' workshop with East Midlands Operational Support Services. 12 November 2015. 

Conferences organised

In 2019 I organised the inaugural Conference of the British Society of Criminology Historical Criminology Network with Dr David Churchill (University of Leeds). The conference was held at the University of Plymouth on 9-10 April 2019 and attracted 32 international delegates.