School of Social and Political Science

Nick Bland

Job Title

Visiting Professor


Current Work

Nick Bland is a co-director of What Works Scotland, an ESRC/Scottish Government funded initiative to develop evidence and understanding about what works in public service reform. He is the case study lead working with Aberdeenshire CPP and the workstream lead for spread and sustainability which is examining the critical dimensions which influence how effective change and improvement initiatives can be 'spread' from one context to another, and can be 'scaled-up' as a contributor to system-level change. He is also exploring collaborative leadership and workforce development.


Nick Bland holds an MA in Social Anthropology with International Relations from St Andrews University, an MSc with distinction in Social Research Methods and a doctorate in Police Reform from the University of Surrey.

Nick has 20 years experience in social and public policy as a researcher, research funder and practitioner in both United Kingdom and Scottish Governments. He is a regular speaker and contributor to academic conferences, seminars and workshops across the UK and internationally, and to government, practitioner and third sector bodies, advisory groups, conferences and events.

Nick has directed programmes of social and public policy research that have consistently produced significant impact on policy and practice, and with international recognition, primarily on policing and criminal justice. He led the largest UK programme of research dedicated to examining police use of stop and search, following recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. It directly informed changes in Home Office and national police policy, to statutory codes of police practice, national police training, and the inspection and accountability regimes of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and local police authorities across England and Wales.

Nick has long involvement in building the infrastructure, systems and opportunities to enhance the contribution of research through knowledge exchange, public engagement and impact. He has worked closely with research funders and universities across the UK to direct funding and resources for specific knowledge exchange programmes; and built strategic partnerships between Scottish Government and Scottish universities in the areas of crime and criminal justice, policing, children and families and health.

As a public policy practitioner, Nick has been responsible for a series of major public policy reforms in policing in Scotland: initiating major changes in police governance and accountability, scrutiny and inspection, workforce modernisation. This culminated in his leadership of the largest programme of public service reform in Scotland since devolution, and the biggest change to policing in Scotland for 40 years - the establishment of a single police service in April 2013.

Nick served as a member of the advisory committee for the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships from 2004-2006, and as a member of the management committee of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research from 2006-2009. He has been a member of the international advisory committee of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) since 2011.


Coope, S. and Bland, N. (2004) Reducing the Impact of Local Drug Markets: a research review. Effective Interventions Unit. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive

MacDonald, D., Russell, P., Bland, N., Morrison, A. and de la Cruz, C. (2002) Supporting Families and Carers of Drug Users: a review. Effective Interventions Unit. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive

Miller, J., Bland, N., and Quinton, P. (2002) ‘A Challenge for Police-Community Relations: rethinking stop and search in England and Wales’European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 9, 71-93.

Nutley, S., Bland, N. and Walter, I. (2002) ‘The Institutional Arrangements for Connecting Evidence and Policy: the case of drug misuse’, Public Policy and Administration vol 17(3), 76-94.

Miller, J., Bland, N., and Quinton, P. (2002) ‘Measuring Stops and Searches: lessons from UK Home Office Research’, Justice Research and Policy, vol 4, 143-156.

Miller, J., Bland, N., and Quinton, P. (2000) The Impact of Stops and Searches on Crime and the Community. Police Research Series paper 127. London: Home Office.

Bland, N., Miller, J., and Quinton, P. (2000) Upping the PACE: an evaluation of the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry on stops and searches. Police Research Series paper 128. London: Home Office.

Quinton, P., Bland, N. and Miller, J. (2000) Police Stops, Decision-Making and Practice, Police Research Series paper 130. London: Home Office.

Bland, N., Miller, J., and Quinton, P. (2000) Managing the Use and Impact of Searches: A review of force interventions. Police Research Series paper 132. London: Home Office.

Bland, N. and Read, T. (2000) Policing Anti-Social Behaviour. Police Research Series paper 123. London: Home Office.

Bland, N., Mundy, G., Russell, J., and Tuffin, T. (1999) Career Progression of Ethnic Minority Police Officers. Police Research Series paper 107. London: Home Office.

Bland, N. (1997) Measuring Public Expectations of Policing: an evaluation of gap analysis. Police Research Series paper 24. London: Home Office.