Dr Bethan Loftus

Bethan Loftus
Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Criminal Justice
+44(0) 1248 382183
Room 104, Neuadd Ogwen

Bethan joined the School of Social Sciences in January 2016, having previously been the recipient of several grants and fellowships at the School of Law, University of Manchester (2011-2015), and the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Oxford (2008-2011). She holds a PhD in Criminology (Keele University), an MA in Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice (Bangor University, received with distinction) and a BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice (Bangor University, first class).

Her research interests lie in socio-legal and comparative understandings of policing and security. In particular: policing cultures, covert/undercover policing and surveillance; the operation and governance of private security; border enforcement; and the policing of social divisions. Bethan also has broad interests in crime and social exclusion under conditions of late modernity. She has conducted two major ethnographic field studies, both of which involved conducting prolonged observations of police officers as they went about their ordinary duties.

She has been awarded approximately £600,000 in research grants from the ESRC and the Leverhulme Trust, and won a Simon Fellowship at the University of Manchester where she conducted research on the policing of international borders. Bethan is the author of Police Culture in a Changing World (Oxford University Press) and articles in major journals. She is currently writing a monograph (with Professor Benjamin Goold and Dr. Shane Mac Giollabhui) on a pioneering ethnographic study of covert policing (under contract with Routledge). Bethan sits on the editorial board of the British Journal of Criminology and is the UK Reviews Editor for Theoretical Criminology. She has acted as external examiner on several PhDs and is regularly invited to present her research at universities within and beyond the UK.

During 2013, Bethan was Visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia, and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Gothenburg in 2011 and 2014.

Bethan enjoys exploring the beautiful landscape of north Wales, and lives in a village by the sea with her husband and two sons.


Goold, B., Loftus, B., and Mac Giollabhui, S. (forthcoming) Invisible Policing: Inside the World of Covert Surveillance. (Routledge)

Loftus, B. (2009) Police Culture in a Changing World, Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Paperback 2012; translated into Chinese 2013)

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Hansen-Lofstrand, C., Loftus, B. and Loader, I. (accepted, in press 2017) ‘Private security as moral drama: a tale of two scandals’, Policing and Society.

Hansen-Lofstrand, C., Loftus, B. and Loader, I. (2016) ‘Doing dirty work: stigma and esteem in the private security industry’, European Journal of Criminology. 13 (3): 297-314.

Mac Giollabhui, S., Loftus, B. and Goold, B. (2016) ‘Watching the watchers: conducting ethnographic research on covert policing in the UK’, Qualitative Research. 16 (3): 1-16. 

Loftus, B. (2015) ‘Policing assemblages and the vulnerable border’, European Journal of Policing Studies, 3 (2): 238-254.

Loftus, B. (2015) ‘Border regimes and the sociology of policing’, Policing and Society 25 (1) 115-125.  

Loftus, B., Goold, B., and Mac Giollabhui, S. (2015) ‘From a visible spectacle to an invisible presence: the working culture of covert policing’, British Journal of Criminology. Online first, August 2015.

O’Neill, M. and Loftus, B. (2013) ‘Policing and the surveillance of the marginal’, Theoretical Criminology 17 (4): 437-454

Loftus, B. and Goold, B. (2012) ‘Covert surveillance and the invisibilities of policing’, Criminology and Criminal Justice, 12 (3): 275-289.

Loftus, B. (2010) ‘Police occupational culture: classic themes, altered times’, Policing and Society. 20 (1): 1-22.

Loftus, B. (2008) ‘Dominant culture interrupted: recognition, resentment and the politics of change in an English police force’, British Journal of Criminology, 48 (6): 778-797.

Chapters in Edited Collections and Reviews

Loftus, B. (2016) ‘Inside the British police: a force at work’, Extended review essay for Policing and Society 26 (6): 588-596.

Loftus, B. (2007), ‘Policing the ‘irrelevant’: class, diversity and contemporary police culture’, in: O’Neill, M. (eds.) Police Culture: New Debates and Directions. Oxford: Elsevier.  

Professional Journal Papers

Loftus, B., Goold, B., and Mac Giollabhui, S. (2010) ‘Covert policing and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000’, Archbold Review, 9 (3): 3-12.

Popular Journal Papers

Loftus, B and Goold, B. (2012) ‘How is legal regulation affecting covert police surveillance operations? Britain in 2012, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Annual Magazine


Loftus, B. and Skinns, L. (2014) Policing Partnerships: Evidence Review. Report prepared for the N8 Policing Research Partnership. Available at: www.N8research.org.uk

Loftus, B. (2013) Covert Policing and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Final report prepared for the Economic and Social Research Council 

Loftus, B. and Loader, I. (2012) ‘Culture in Transition? An Ethnographic Study of Private Police at Work, Final report prepared for The Leverhulme Trust.

Social Media  

Loftus, B. (October 2013) ‘From the field: a Canadian border encounter’, Blog post in Border Criminologies (available from www.bordercriminologies.law.ox.ac.uk)

Loftus, B. (June 2013) ‘Border regimes and the sociology of policing’, Blog post in Border Criminologies (available from www.bordercriminologies.law.ox.ac.uk)

Keynote Lectures and Invited seminars

‘Covert Policing, Social Control and the ‘New Visibility’, European Society of Criminology Conference, Cardiff, September 2017.

‘Invisible Policing: Inside the World of Covert Surveillance’, Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice’, Gregynog, Wales, May 2016.

‘Policing Assemblages and the Vulnerable Border’, Institute of Sociology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, March 2014

‘Policing and the Moral Significance of Covert Surveillance’, School of Sociology and Criminology, Keele University, November 2013  

‘Covert Police Surveillance: An Erudite Working Culture’, School of Law, Sheffield University, UK, December 2013

‘Everything in its Place: The Art of Covert Police Surveillance’, Institute of Sociology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, April 2011

‘The Grim RIPA? The Regulation and Practice of Covert Police Surveillance in the UK’, Criminology at the Edge, Centre for Criminology, University of Cape Town, February 2011

Invited Respondent

‘A Robust, Thin Blue Line? The Case for Minimal Policing in South Africa’ (by Monique Marks), All Souls College, University of Oxford, January 2010

International Conference Papers

‘Researching Covert Policing: the Ethnographic Imperative’, American Society of Criminology Annual Conference, San Francisco November 2010

National Conference Papers

‘Transforming Private Police? Occupational Identity and Cultural Change’, British Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Newcastle, UK, July 2011.

Media Engagement

Bethan has provided expert comment to the media on aspects of policing, most recently including BBC Wales Today.

In September 2017, Bethan also provided comment to Local Transport Today magazine on the rise of citizen surveillance in roads policing.

Teaching and Supervision

Bethan is currently responsible for the delivery of three undergraduate modules: Crime and Justice in Modern Britain, (SXY 2002), Policing and Society (SXY 3007) and the welfare component of Health and Welfare Issues (SXP 1006).

Bethan welcomes PhD supervision in her areas of expertise.           

Administrative Responsibilities

Bethan is the Impact lead for the School and also co-ordinates the seminar series.