Dr Iain Brennan

Reader in Criminology

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education


01482 465717

Dr Brennan is a psychologist who moved into the area of criminology via a PhD in public health.

He continues to integrate these disciplines in his three main areas of research: the prevention of weapon use; the policing of domestic abuse; and the diversion of offenders from the criminal justice system.

His work has featured in leading journals including the British Medical JournalAggression and Violent Behavior and Addiction as well as national and international policy documents.

Iain joined University of Hull in 2010. In 2016 he led the redesign of the University's criminology programmes and is currently the Director of Research for the School of Education and Social Sciences.


Research Interests

Iain's research largely focuses on the application of psychological and criminological theory to the understanding and prevention of community violence.

He also undertakes research work in:
  • gun and knife crime

  • alcohol-related violence

  • crime reporting and victim responses to crime

  • community influences on engagement with criminal justice

  • domestic abuse

  • experimental criminology/evidence-based policing

  • information sharing for violence prevention

  • diversion from custody

  • governance of night time economies

  • crime and victimisation surveys

Research groups

Brennan, I.R. (2017), 'High Stakes: The Role of Weapons in Offender Decision-making', W. Bernasco, H. Elffers & J.-L. van Gelder (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Offender Decision-Making, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brennan, I.R., Green, S. and Sturgeon-Adams, L. (2016), 'Early Diversion and Empowerment Policing: Evaluating an Adult Female Offender Triage Project', Policing and Society, 1–17.

Brennan, I.R. (2015), 'Victim Responses to Violence: The Effect of Alcohol Context on Crime Labeling', Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31, 1116–1140.

Florence, C., Shepherd, J.P., Brennan, I.R. & Simon, T.R. (2011), 'Effectiveness of Anonymised Information Sharing and Use in a Health Service, Police and Local Government Partnership for Preventing Violence Related Injury: Experimental Study and Time Series Analysis', British Medical Journal, 342d3313, 1–9.

Brennan, I.R. & Moore, S.C. (2009), 'Weapons and Violence: A Review of Theory and Research', Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14, 215–225.

Full list


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

BA Criminology with Psychology (Hong Kong)

  • Social Psychology

  • Personality & Individual Differences

  • Forensic Psychology

  • Abnormal & Applied Biological Psychology

BA Criminology (Hull)

  • Experimental Criminology

BSc Psychology (Hull)

  • Forensic Psychology

Research PhDs

Dr Brennan is happy to hear from potential students interested in undertaking postgraduate research in any of his areas of research interest.

He is particularly interested to hear from potential supervisees in the areas of knife crime/weapon violence, victim responses and interpretations of crime and the policing of domestic abuse.

Dr Brennan has supervised research exemplars by a number of trainee forensic psychologists in preparation for BPS chartership and would be willing to supervise further in this area.

Completed PhDs 

Yang, Y. (2015), Measuring Public Trust in Charities in the UK: An Empirical Study based on Scale Development

Current PhD supervisors

Sarah Colley, Perpetrators of Child Sexual Exploitation

Muneera Al-harbi, Geographical Distribution of Shoplifting

Teaching awards and accolades

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • BSc Psychology, University of Wales Institute Cardiff

  • MA Forensic Psychology, University College Cork

  • PhD Violence Prevention, Cardiff University

External roles


  • Committee member, Crimestoppers, Humberside, 2011-2016

  • Contributor to UK Home Affairs Select Committee consultation on knife crime.

Dr Brennan's research has been featured in several national and international policy documents, including:

  • HM Government (2012). The Government’s Alcohol Strategy. London: HM Stationery Office

  • World Health Organisation (2012). Alcohol in the European Union: Consumption, Harm and Policy Approaches. Copenhagen: World Health Organisation

  • World Health Organisation (2010). European Report on Preventing Violence and Knife Crime Among Young People. Copenhagen: World Health Organisation


  • British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist (Division of Research and Teaching)

  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society

Awards and accolades

Research grants

  • Police Initiated Diversion for Youth to Prevent Future Delinquent Behaviour (Jacobs Foundation and Campbell Collaboration 'Better Evidence for Children and Youth' program; $38,152 to David Wilson (PI), Iain Brennan (Co-PI) and Ajima Olaghere, 2016)

  • An Exploration of Domestic Abuse Patterns and Service Provision in Humberside (Humberside Criminal Justice Board; £18,632 to Iain Brennan (PI), Sinead Gormally, Vicky Burton and Julia Holdsworth, 2015)

  • My Health Guide (Small Business Research Initiative; £543,174, to Maldaba Ltd, Humber NHS Trust and University of Hull, 2015)

  • Building Bridges: Restorative Dialogues with Victims and Offenders (European Commission Action Grant; €499,173 to Gevangenenzorg Nederland (PI) et al, 2013)

  • An Exploration of the Effect of Alcohol Intoxication on the Stability of Self-Esteem (Alcohol Research UK; £4,996 to Iain Brennan (PI) and Andrea Hilton, 2011)

  • Seminars in Applied Statistics (Cardiff University Graduate School Interdisciplinary Research Grant; £1,000 to Iain Brennan (PI), Mark Kelly and Daniel Farewell, 2009)

Research awards

  • Centers for Disease Control, Kaafee Billah Award 2012

  • (Nominee) Centers for Disease Control, Charles C. Shepard Science Award [Prevention and Control] 2012

  • British Society of Criminology Brian Williams Prize, 2012

  • Best oral presentation, Randomised Controlled Trials in the Social Sciences conference, University of York, 26–28 September, 2011

  • Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, 2009, Violence and Society Research Group, Cardiff University

  • BPS/UWIC Centre for Psychology Dissertation Award, 2003