Dr Emma Cunningham

Senior Lecturer

Criminology, Women in Policing, Feminism

Department of Law & Criminology , Royal Docks School Of Business And Law

I am thoroughly enjoying my work at the fabulously diverse University of East London. As a working-class academic I have adopted an intersectional feminist approach to my research, teaching, and engagement which tackles some of the most urgent problems across policing. I am interested in how police culture remains toxic, how stop and search impacts community relations and how policewomen continue to undertake their roles and responsibilities, remain resilient and stay in policing even given their own lived experiences.

At its heart, my scholarly activities are driven by a pursuit of equality, diversity and social justice and my work has made important contributions to our understanding of the history of women’s integration in policing and the arguments of sameness and difference which were used and applied to women, contributing to a deeper understanding of the challenges women in policing face and have faced. I have been asked by different media outlets for my expert comments for articles in The Guardian and i NEWS, and I have made appearances on T.V programmes such as BBC NEWS Channel, Sky News, Channel 5 News and on the radio for 5 Live, BBC Wales and BBC Hertfordshire and Worcester. In working for UEL I have become involved in networks, blogs, and in writing short articles about policing, misogyny and the toxic culture recently exposed in policing. I am asking questions about participation, in/exclusion, and using creative methods and approaches to present a more nuanced and complicated picture of policing problems. Internationally I have also been published in The Irish News, Yahoo News and Foreign Affairs New Zealand.

A recent article was a collaboration with Catherine Hobby at UEL, published by Counsel, to explore some of the issues to learn from in the investigation of the Bulley case. Finally, I am very excited to share that I have been invited to do a keynote session on Policing and Patriarchy in Amsterdam in August 2023, a talk at the University of Bournemouth for their Women's Research Network in May 2023, and to chair a Police Misconduct Paper panel at Philadelphia this November 2023 at the American Society of Criminology.


  • Politics BA (Hons) 1st Class University of Teesside
  • Criminology MSc University of Teesside
  • Politics PhD University of Teesside
  • PGCLTHE University of Teesside
  • Fellow HEA


The last four years of publications can be viewed below. 

Full publications list

Visit the research repository to view a full list of publications