Dr Paul Betts

Dr Paul Betts is a Senior Lecturer at Westminster Law School. His expertise lies in  policing, but notably in Counter Terrorism, the management of offenders, and youth justice. Paul has special interest in the theories and methods of post structuralist discourse analysis, and uses this extensively in his research to examine modern policing and criminal justice issues.

Paul holds a PhD awarded by the University of Birmingham in 2021, for his thesis: 'Theorising Evidence-Based Policing: A Discourse Analysis'. The thesis examined the growth of evidence-based policing in Britain genealogically, using post structuralist discourse analysis developed after the work of Michel Foucault.  Paul has written and published several papers on his research interests, and his PhD thesis forms the basis of a forthcoming monograph. 

Paul holds positions as Honorary Professor in Criminal Justice at the University of Birmingham Law School, England, and is an Honorary Fellow in Social and Political Science at the University of Melbourne, Australia. 

Paul had a distinguished career in policing over three decades, retiring as Detective Chief Superintendent in Counter Terrorism Policing HQ, New Scotland Yard, London, in March 2023. 

My research interests are centred around post structuralist understandings of power and discourse, and how they help to interrogate issues of current concern in the modern world. My research is normatively critically positioned and seeks to harness a liberating potential through the revelation of aspects of discourse that demonstrate the contingent nature of current ways of thinking, doing or speaking. I am continually evolving discourse theory and methods to support students and researchers by equipping them with tools to investigate modern phenomena. 

Areas of empirical focus for my research have so far included the emergence of evidence-based policing in Britain, and aspects of counter terrorism. My work will continue to focus on features of policing in the immediate future. Although I have expertise in policing, I am open to new research collaborations with others seeking to apply discourse analytical methodologies to their own research fields. 

  • Centre for Social Justice Research

Sustainable Development Goals
In brief

Research areas

Post structuralist discourse analysis , Policing, Counter Terrorism and Evidence-based Policing

Skills / expertise

Post structuralist discourse analysis, Policing, Evidence-based Policing, Counter Terrorism and Criminal Justice

Supervision interests

Post structuralist discourse analysis, Policing, Counter Terrorism, Criminal Justice and Foucault