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Helen jones   photo 3

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PhD Criminology (University of Hull, 2008)
Postgraduate Certificate in Research Training (University of Hull, 2006)
MSc Clinical Criminology (with distinction) (University of Leicester, 2001)
BSc (Hons) Psychology (first class) (University of Leicester, 2000)


Helen is a full-time Research Fellow at the University of South Wales. From January 2015 she has worked alongside Prof. Fiona Brookman on the Homicide Investigation and Forensic Science (HIFS) Project. The project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust and, utilising ethnographic research methods, explored the role of forensic science and technology in British homicide investigations. Analysis of the data is continuing and Helen is working alongside Fiona to disseminate findings.

Prior to joining USW in 2015, Helen worked for Leicestershire Police for over twelve years. In 2008, whilst working full-time, Helen received her PhD from the University of Hull. Her PhD was funded by the ESRC and entitled ‘The pains of custody: how young men cope through the criminal justice system’. Helen utilised quantitative and qualitative research methods in police and court custody suites, and a young offender’s institution. She interviewed young male detainees and prisoners about their experiences, and developed the notion of the ‘pains of custody’, which exist at some or all stages of the criminal justice system, and help to explain why self-harm can be used as a coping mechanism.


Helen’s areas of research are homicide, major crime investigation and the use of forensic science and technology. As part of the HIFS Project, Helen has gained experience of interviewing senior investigating officers, detectives, forensic scientists and other experts. The research also involved Helen undertaking ethnographic observations of eleven ‘live’ homicide investigations, observing different aspects of investigation from crime scene to court. Helen and Prof. Fiona Brookman have disseminated early findings from the project at a number of academic conferences and presentations to police and forensic science practitioners. In March 2019, Helen and Fiona submitted written evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Enquiry into forensic science.

Prior to joining USW in 2015, Helen worked for Leicestershire Police for over twelve years which included roles as a Crime Recorder/Receiver, Research Officer, Protecting Vulnerable People Intelligence Analyst and, most recently, four years as a Review Officer in the East Midlands Special Operations Unit Regional Review Team. During this time, Helen worked independently and as part of a team reviewing undetected homicides, domestic homicides, stranger rapes, ‘cold cases’, serious and organised crime, and long term missing persons. Helen has developed a number of specialist skills through her work experience, including:

- Experienced user of i2 Analyst Notebook
- Knowledge and experience of specialist police IT systems including HOLMES (V15 and V16) and STORM
- Completed the National Review Officers Course (South Wales Police, 2011)
- Completed the Major Incident Analysis Training (Nottinghamshire Police, 2010)
- Completed the National Intelligence Analysis Training (West Yorkshire Police, 2007)


Book Chapters
Brookman, F., Jones, H., and Pike, S. (2017) ‘Homicide in Britain’ in Brookman, F., Maguire, E., and Maguire, M. (Eds.) Handbook of Homicide. Wiley-Blackwell

Other Works
Brookman, F., and Jones, H. (2019) HIFS Project Research Insight 2: “The Role of Forensic Sciences and Technologies (FSTs) in Homicide Investigation in Britain”. October 2019. Available at:

Brookman, F. and Jones, H. (6th March 2019). Written Evidence Submitted to House of Lords Science & Technology Committee Enquiry into Forensic Science: Professor Fiona Brookman and Dr Helen Jones, Centre of Criminology, University of South Wales – Written evidence (FRS0106).

Brookman, F., and Jones, H. (2018) HIFS Briefing Note “Co-locating Specialists” (April 2019) Available at:

Brookman, F., and Jones, H. (2018) HIFS Project Research Insight 1: “Sensemaking & Dialogue”. November 2018. Available at:

Conference Papers
Sense-making in Homicide Investigation. Presented with Prof. Fiona Brookman, USW. Thirteenth National Review Officers Conference, Marriot Hotel, Cardiff (2nd -3rd October, 2018).

Sense-making and the production and consumption of forensic technologies in homicide investigation. The European Society of Criminology Conference, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (29th August – 1st September 2018).

The Narrative for the Prosecution. Presented with Prof. Fiona Brookman, USW. American Society of Criminology Conference, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown (15th – 18th November 2017).

Constructing Narratives of Murder: Science, Reason and Endoxa. Presented with Prof. Fiona Brookman, USW. The European Society of Criminology Conference, Cardiff (13th – 16th September 2017).

The Role of Science and Technology in British Homicide Investigations. Presented with Prof. Fiona Brookman, USW. British Criminology Conference. Nottingham Conference Centre, Nottingham (6th-8th July 2016).


Research Grants
Strategic Impact and Research Fund (University-wide funding call) with Prof. Fiona Brookman. Funding to support a series of impact and income generation activities in major crime Investigation, science & technology (£40,175.15 awarded in July 2019).

Departmental Research Award Scheme with Prof. Fiona Brookman. Funding to support the Homicide Investigation and Forensic Science Symposium (£10,785.65 awarded in May 2018).

Areas of Expertise

Major Crime Investigation
Qualitative Research Methods



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