Crime, Security and Justice Accelerator

The Crime, Security and Justice Accelerator aims to positively impact global security, policing, and the criminal justice system; USW excels at addressing real-world challenges and educating the next generation of professionals to make our lives safer and more secure. 

Our purpose is to educate students, inspiring practitioners and advancing organisations through innovative challenge-based learning and teaching, internationally excellent multi-disciplinary research, and policy analysis, and valued strategic collaboration. 

Our curriculum

Our academics and researchers are leading experts in their fields. The expertise, critical thinking and practical application is reflected in our crime, security and justice courses, with forward-thinking and industry-leading curriculum, including degree apprenticeships.  

View our courses:

Our Research

At USW, we undertake a comprehensive range of research in the field of crime, security, and justice, working with a wide range of partners, informing policy and practice.

This centre routinely conducts collaborative research with and on behalf of local and national government and engage with a wide range of policy and practice experts and have won research funds from prestigious national sources.

Researchers have specialisms in homicide and violencepolicingyouth justice and youth policy, probation and prisons, the rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders, prisoners' children and familiessubstance misuse, green, global and transnational criminology, crime prevention, animal abuse, informal justice and alternatives to prosecution and imprisonment. They also work with the International Centre for Policing and Security, and the Centre for Social Policy Research.

This centre is a leading hub for social and public policy analysis. It offers policy makers and professionals fresh thinking, new evidence, and innovative solutions to the challenges they face in effecting change and improvement in public service organisation and delivery.

There are strengths in a range of areas of social and public policy including wellbeing; citizen involvement and participation; governance and scrutiny; equality and outcome assessments.

With experts working on wider key issues among other areas. The Centre have been successful in securing external grants from prestigious sources, including local governments and other external stakeholders. They have a close collaboration with the field of criminal justice, and policing, terrorism and security.

This centre undertakes research that informs UK and EU governments, specialising in key security issues such as terrorism, political violence, cybercrime and warfare and transnational organised crime. The Centre is deeply involved with national and internationals research networks and is highly regarded by European institutions and agencies, notably Europol. 

Its vision is to undertake excellent quality, ethical inter-disciplinary research grounded in the practical world of policing and security, which informs and impacts on service delivery, policy, and education. 

The Centre's work is divided into two broad themes: Terrorism and Security Research which includes international security of drugs, human trafficking and geopolitics; and Policing Research. This focuses on impactive and sustainable research outcomes to improve not only police activities but also the delivery of policing services to the community at large. 

The work in forensic science is driven by our backgrounds as practitioners – either working with UK police, forensic service providers or through academia. There is an interest in applied science projects that have practical applications in forensic case work scenarios.  Much of the research is based around Masters. and Masters by Research projects, often in collaboration with industrial partners.

Current research focuses on several areas of developing and utilising techniques for the analysis of trace evidence, toxicology, and biological fluids and DNA. The multidisciplinary research involves a wide collaboration with industry, academia, and government. 

The Cyber Security Research Group is concerned with the security of data, software, components, connections, systems, humans, organisations, and society with emphasis on cross-cutting concepts such as forensic analysis, confidentiality, integrity, availability, risk, adversarial thinking, and systems thinking, which is informed by strong relationships with industry, government agencies and academia in the delivery of operationally focused applied cyber security research.

The Cyber Security Research Group is particularly interested in the interplay between situational awareness, computer networks, computer forensics and vulnerability development and the creation of a single integrated approach to computer network defence and computer forensics via the development of tools and techniques that support information sharing.

USW has had a significant increase in the amount of world leading research according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) outcomes. There has been a 49% improvement in world leading research (categorised as 4*) at USW since the last REF in 2014. 

USW is joint first in the UK for impactful research in Computer Science and Informatics (based on 4* / 3*). USW is first in Wales for impactful research in Social Work and Social Policy (based on 4* / 3*). USW is now fourth in Wales for impact (up from eighth in 2014, based on 4* / 3*) with 81% of USW’s research impact being classed as world leading or internationally excellent (4* / 3*).

Our facilities

Our state-of-the-art facilities enable our students and partners to immerse themselves in simulated learning environments, using the latest industry-standard technology and techniques.



Our facilities are at the cutting edge of computer development. The National Cyber Security Academy (NCSA) - The first of its kind in Wales, is based at the Newport Campus. Working with Welsh digital innovation company Innovation Point and major industry players, the NCSA works to close the skills gap in the cyber security sector. 

Server room - Equipped with the latest high-powered kit, and a forensic investigation lab where you can run a diagnostic of a computer hard disk under digital microscopes. 

Cyber Defence Centre - The Cyber Defence Centre is a commercial research and consultancy laboratory. The laboratory provides hardware and software support for commercial work undertaken for industry clients, law enforcement, and government agencies.  

Digital Investigations Laboratory - The Digital Investigation Lab is a computer forensic facility typical of those used by law enforcement agencies to analyse computer files and digital media for use as evidence in court.


Hydra Sim Suite

Hydra is a sophisticated of piece of technology that is used to teach police officers to use specific skills and develop their understanding of the law in a variety of policing situations. It is also used for scenario-based teaching in other areas such as social work, nursing and global governance. 

It works by presenting a scenario to the students via a mix of video clips, audio clips and written tasks. The system then tests the student’s ability to take decisions and action. Problems can be varied according to your responses. It also shows you the consequences of your decisions. 


Moot court

Our state-of-the-art moot court room provides an immersive environment for debates, conferences, and mock trials.  


crime scene

The Professor Bernard Knight building is home to our crime scene investigation facilities. The house contains a number of realistic crime scene simulations – from domestic burglaries and break-ins, to more complex scenes such as homicides and fatal fires. Find out more


Kirsty Williams, Welsh Government education secretary, sees the work of USW forensic science students at first-hand. Neil Gibson

Our crime scene laboratories are used by forensic science and police sciences students to learn more about particular types of evidence such as fingerprints, footwear marks, tyre treads and blood spatter patterns.  Find out more


Cyber Security

The Cyber Crime and Digital Forensics Laboratory focuses on developing bleeding-edge capability to investigate new forms of cybercrime and effectively analyse new complex technologies. 



The Academy will enhance and further knowledge on cold case investigations (related to missing people, unsolved murders and unidentified found remains), and miscarriages of justice, helping to provide resolution and justice for the families and victims in these undetected, unresolved, and difficult cases. It will equip our students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to maximise their potential and opportunities as employees and future leaders.

Through the work of the Academy, our students will draw on the expertise of the community to help them with their real-world cases. The Academy aims to produce tangible societal impact, helping and supporting the surrounding community and having a strong civic profile in Wales and beyond.

Video Spectral Comparator

Scanning Electron Microscope 

Fluorescence Microscope 

Crime Scene House 

Hydra Simulation Centre 

Our partnerships

police students

Tomorrow’s police officers

USW supports police officer training in multiple police forces across England and Wales.  

As a result of moves to professionalise police officer training, through the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF), USW became the first university in the UK to have its training for graduate police constables validated and have the first cohort to graduate, through a collaboration with Dyfed-Powys Police.  

USW also runs the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP) and a three-year professional degree apprenticeship (PDCA) with Devon and Cornwall Police, Dorset Police, Gloucestershire Constabulary, and Wiltshire Police, covering more than 1200 police officers.  

across both England and Wales. 

“This provision establishes USW as one of the largest and leading apprenticeship providers in the country, placing the University within the top quartile of Higher Education Institutions.” 

Professor Peter Vaughan 
Director of Strategic Projects in Policing and Security, USW  

“As policing grows more complex and demands on our services increase, we need people with the right skills and experiences to meet these challenging requirements. Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce is vital to meet our policing vision for the future. Policing is a highly rewarding career and this is a fantastic opportunity to pursue a varied role, while simultaneously being trained and supported to gain a recognised qualification.”   

Julie Fielding     
Assistant Chief Constable, Dorset Police 


Professor Christian Kaunert

Jean Monnet Network on EU Counter-Terrorism (EUCTER)

EUCTER is a research-led excellence network, comprising fourteen partners, with the aim of advancing cutting-edge blended learning formats with a strong policy relevance in the area of the EU Counter-Terrorism. The project brings together three inter-related teaching and research areas: EU justice and home affairs, EU counter-terrorism and EU external relations.

The objectives of EUCTER include the exploration and analysis of the development and practice of counter-terrorism cooperation and diplomacy in EU internal and external actions. It aims to contribute to a new understanding of the role of European institutions (EP, Commission, Council) in EU internal and external action by organising workshops and by providing subsidies for young international scholars, by generating a website-generated virtual map of counter-terrorism cooperation, by organising teaching modules and events, and by contributing to international publications.

This is a game changer for research on EU counter-terrorism, and for Wales in particular. We live in a changing world where the idea of security is changing all the time. Funding allows us to further develop our interdisciplinary teaching and research activities and our international partnerships in the fields of security and policing. We are also planning a series of public engagement events, so that we can disseminate the knowledge we produce as widely as possible

Professor Christian Kaunert
Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, and the International Centre for Policing and Security at USW

If we are to look at issues of security, we need to consider the wider picture and how it shapes the decisions of policy-makers and organisations around the world. This is the only centre in Europe that will take this broad approach and it is fitting it is based here in South Wales, where we have the requisite blend of experience across a wide range of disciplines and excellence in research and teaching that will give us the base to carry out this work.

Professor Sarah Leonard
Co-Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and Professor of International Security at UWE Bristol

cyber thales

Cyber Expertise for the future

USW is putting the future of cyber expertise at the heart of all it does. 

The University is recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education, and has been named Cyber University of the Year for three years running. 

Working in partnership with Welsh Government and global technology leader Thales, USW leads the Education strand at the National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) in Ebbw Vale - the first research and development facility of its kind in Wales.  

USW has an excellent relationship with the NCSC, hosting the CyberFirst Girls Competition at its Newport campus, and working closely with schools to develop their cyber security activities. USW also delivers a Cyber Skills ...

... Inspiration project to 11-14-year-olds. These activities, alongside USW’s range of cyber courses and degree apprenticeships, means it is significantly contributing to closing the cyber skills gap. 

“As a recognised leader in the sector, USW is committed to providing opportunities for the next generation of cyber security professionals, who can ensure the industry can handle the evolving challenges it will continue to face.” 

Professor Paul Harrison 
Pro-Vice Chancellor, USW 

“The NCSC’s work with industry plays a vital part in promoting cyber security careers and helping young people gain the experience, skills and exposure they need to excel in the field. 

“NDEC has been a key partner in promoting cyber security career and study pathways to students in Welsh schools and colleges, and has supported our CyberFirst Schools programme since it was launched at NDEC in February 2020. 

“The Centre’s ability to reach out into the Welsh education sector has made NDEC a trusted stakeholder and we look forward to our continued collaboration.” 

Chris Ensor 
Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, NCSC 

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality Technology for Educational Training

USW and Cardiff-based Virtual Reality (VR) enterprise specialists Immersity have agreed a partnership which will see the technology used for educational training. 

Immersity’s VR system will initially be used by students working towards qualifications in forensics and aircraft maintenance. As the technology is expanded across the institution, students on a wider range of courses will be able to use the system. 

USW already uses simulation systems to support learning, particularly its Hydra Suite, which is an immersive environment for simulated scenarios used on a variety of courses, including Police Sciences, Nursing, Global Governance, Social Work, Public Health, Business, and Marketing. 

To further develop these processes, USW has partnered with Immersity, whose specific technical expertise can create content for use in the virtual world, which can be synced with academic expertise and enhance the teaching and learning experience. 

“The immersive technology will be supporting and enhancing learning as opposed to replacing real-life experiences. Once we have demonstrated the success of these pilot projects, we will be seeking to widen the relationship and start projects in other subject areas.” 

Nathalie Czechowski 
Chief Information Officer, USW 

 “When Covid-19 hit, it was no longer practical to have groups of students in such an enclosed space. We recreated a similar environment on our VR platform, and now students will have the opportunity to receive this training anytime, anywhere. Now that we’ve created this VR platform, we can build literally any environment in it within a quick timeframe to continue growing, especially in the fields of education and training. There is no limit to the ways this technology can be used.” 

Hugh Sullivan 
CEO, Immersity 

Business Services

USW exchange

Connecting Industry to Academia

USW Exchange is the front door for business engagement at the University of South Wales, connecting industry to academia. 

From professional development to event support and conferencing services, USW Exchange can help you to explore the numerous ways in which your organisation can work with USW. Whether you have an immediate challenge to overcome or need a long-term business growth strategy, we can help facilitate the connections to make it happen.

Get in touch with our dedicated team of Engagement Managers who are primed to support your organisation by harnessing the talent, expertise and facilities of the University of South Wales.