Postgraduate Research Student 

Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology


Leah is in the early stages of an ESRC funded PhD at the School of Law and Social Justice. She undertook her undergraduate and master’s studies at the University of Liverpool. Her master’s thesis, Scouse Bird Bloggers focused on how working-class women from Liverpool navigate the online sphere. Her ever-expanding research interests include critical criminology, gender, class, and policing.


Leah is currently researching the influence Sergeants have over how Police Constables understand and operationalise ‘discretion’. Working closely with the College of Policing she will use observation-based research to develop new insights into the everyday activities of Sergeants and inform role-specific training.

Working thesis title

'What role do police sergeants play in shaping the way frontline police constables understand and operationalise discretion?'

Dates of study

PhD Start Date: September 2020

PhD End Date: May 2024


Dr Liz Turner (Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology), Dr Mike Rowe (Management School), Dr Helen Wells (Keele University) & Dr Paul Quinton (College of Policing).

Research summary

This research aims to offer a fresh perspective on the inner-workings of policing by positioning discretion as an object for critical analysis, rather than an immutable component of policing. The role of the police sergeant, and their influence over the discretionary actions of the police constables (PC’s) they manage has received little attention. Therefore, an emphasis on the work of sergeants will help to fill the research gap. New insights gained from observation-based analysis will create a better understanding of the influence sergeants have over how PC’s operationalise discretion and will inform the development of role-specific training.