Our pioneering criminology research has changed national and European policy, practice and debate on public safety. With over 20 years of direct engagement with policing and firearms control, Professor Peter Squires has demonstrated that improvements in accountability, research evidence and effective evaluation are critical for gun control and CCTV surveillance policy.
Professor Peter Squires gave evidence regarding gun crime and developing more effective firearms controls to the UK Home Affairs Select Committee in 2010 and contributed directly to the European Charter on CCTV surveillance, adopted by the EU in the same year. He was appointed to the Association of Chief Police Officers National Advisory Committee on Criminal Use of Firearms in 2013, has been lauded by The Guardian as ‘the country’s most-quoted academic expert on gun crime’ and had his work cited as an ‘invaluable resource’ in the Vice-Presidential Special Commission Report Reducing Gun Violence in America (Webster and Vernick, Eds. 2013).
Squires’ seminal work, Gun culture or gun control: firearms violence and society (2000), revealed the inadequacy of narrow solutions to gun control and the need for more evidence-led and culturally sensitive approaches that adjusted to changing patterns in firearm misuse. Participation in four major EPSRC-funded collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects identified the changing profile of gun-involved violence in the UK and the complex mixed economy of illegal firearms in gang networks. Highly influential publications on illegal firearm supply, community ‘weaponisation’, gangs, youth violence and gun misuse, including the definitive Centre for Crime and Justice Studies’ Gun Crime: A Review of Evidence and Policy, have consolidated Squires’ place as a leading expert. His most recent book, Gun Crime in Global Contexts explores the role of weapon proliferation in driving up rates of violence and conflict in a wide range of contexts: western democracies and failing states.
In the wake of the Cumbria 2010 shootings, the Home Affairs Select Committee undertook an inquiry into firearms control. Squires gave evidence relating to:
- legal weapon possession and domestic violence
- the role of ‘readily convertible’ weapons,
- firearms supply and the misuse of air weapons.
The resulting report Firearms control - Third Report of Session 2010-2011, Volume 1 by the Home Affairs Committee (HC 447-I, 2010) accepted recommendations and presented them to Government. Subsequently, the Home Office incorporated proposals related to records of domestic violence risk into revised firearm licence application and renewal guidance distributed to all police forces. In addition, a proposed new offence of ‘illegal firearm possession with intent to supply’ can, in part, be traced back to evidence given by Squires.
Professor Peter Squires also joined a working party of the European Forum for Urban Safety (EFUS) to help develop a protocol of evidence-led CCTV policy guidance and good practice. Research directly underpinned the EU Citizen’s Charter on CCTV surveillance and Squires’ article on evaluating CCTV effectiveness was published by EFUS in a companion volume to the new EU Charter Citizens, Cities and Video-Surveillance (EFUS, 2010).
Groundbreaking research into gun crime and public safety, engagements in public discourse and contributions to policy debate mean that we continue to have a significant impact on the development of effective, accountable public policy.