Dr Laura Bedford
This person does not currently hold a position at QUT.
BiographyDr Laura Bedford is Lecturer in the School of Justice, Faculty of Law, QUT. In her career, she has taught undergraduate criminology, conducted extensive social scientific and criminological research, and applied for and won research funding as a research consultant. She has led and contributed to a range of collaborative research projects and programs of research, and written numerous research reports and scholarly papers. As a highly skilled, pragmatic, qualitative and quantitative researcher, Laura has recently worked as an embedded criminologist at the Queensland Police Service (QPS), where she was the lead researcher on a two-year randomised controlled field evaluation of the role and impact of frontline mobile technology. She has also recently contributed to three systematic reviews related to interpersonal violent crime, the predictors of youth gang membership, and the prevention of youth gang violence in low- to middle-income countries.
Laura has a PhD in Criminology awarded by the University of Queensland. Her thesis, Randomised Controlled Trials in Policing: An Organisational Learning Perspective, focuses on the challenge of translating rigorous criminological research into evidence-based policy and practice in police organisations. After completing her undergraduate degree in Canada, she completed her honours dissertation (Political Science) and Master’s degree by thesis (Economic History) in South Africa. More recently, Laura is working to advance knowledge and contribute research related to environmental crime, resistance and activism. She is particularly interested in the development of new directions in criminology, including problematising the uneasy translation of hegemonic criminological theory and criminal justice practice outside of the Anglo-West. In alignment with her focus on social and environmental justice in her career to date, her current research direction aims to enhance social justice through the implementation of high quality research.
Laura’s academic studies in criminology were preceded by significant real-world experience in advocacy and social and economic policy research in pre- and post- Apartheid South Africa. This experience underlies her current interest in alternative criminological discourses and their translation in emerging southern perspectives of justice. She has worked for many years in complex, multisectoral contexts where she has gained a solid understanding of the challenge of engaging stakeholders to initiate and implement high quality, inclusive policy research, and translate good research into sound, implementable and effective policy. To this end, her policy research work in South Africa and Australia has involved extensive engagement and collaboration with communities, social justice advocacy professionals, activists, and criminal justice workers, including police.
While Laura has spent much of her career working as a professional researcher and manager outside of academia, as an academic Laura has a great deal to contribute to learning and teaching in a university focused on real world experience. Her international and multi-sectoral research and management experience, alongside her theoretical knowledge, provide a specific contribution to the justice programs at the QUT School of Justice. Her current research interests in environmental crime, resistance and activism will add value to the work of the Crime and Justice Research Centre in the development of new thinking about social and environmental justice in the global south.
Research methods, social justice, environmental justice, crime and justice policy, social policy, project and program evaluation, experimental criminology, policing and police reform, criminal justice system reform, CJSDRC
Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008
- PhD (University of Queensland)
- MA (University of Natal)
- B Soc Sci (Hons) Political Science (University of Natal)
- BA(Political Science, Philosophy) (University of Alberta)
Professional memberships and associations
Bedford, L. (2017). The Queensland Police Service Frontline Mobility Evaluation: a randomised controlled trial. Queensland Police Service.
Martin, P., Bedford, L. & Raison, G. (2017). Learning from an embedded criminologist model in an Australian police organisation. Police Science: Australia and New Zealand Journal of Evidence Based Policing, 2(1). 7-12.
2015 Facilitator for the University of Cambridge (UK) Evidence Based Policing Masterclass, Queensland Police Service Academy.
2015 Facilitator for ISSR MFSAS Senior Police Workshop on Experiments in Policing, Queensland Police Service Academy.
2014 Event coordinator and facilitator, UQ ISSR Masterclass: Building Police Capacity to Conduct Experimental Research in Australia, AIPM, Sydney.
2013 Event coordinator and facilitator, UQ ISSR Masterclass: Building Police Capacity to Conduct Experimental Research in Australia, April 2013, Customs House, Brisbane.