Dr. Simon Harding is a Professor in Criminology at the University of West London, (UWL). He works independently on private commissions of research, consultancy and as an Expert Witness.
With over 35 years of practitioner/professional experience in criminology, crime reduction and community safety with careers at the Home Office, Hackney council, Islington council and as Crime Reduction Director in Lambeth. He has worked on over 2,500 UK social housing estates, authored numerous reports and in 1999 invented Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs).
Now Director of the National Centre for Gang Research at UWL and advises the Home Office, MPS, NCA and HMICFRS on youth violence, gangs, knives and county lines.
He is a skilled and experienced qualitative interviewer and research director. He liaises regularly with young people who are gang-affiliated or gang active and actively participates in fieldwork and research with young people.
Dr Harding acts as an Expert Witness for both Defence and the Crown. He has undertaken Expert Witness Training with the Academy of Experts and holds Certificates in training in the foundation course, Understanding Law and Procedure Rules and Into Court. He is registered with the National Crime Agency Major Crime Investigative Support, Expert Advisers Database.
Key areas of expertise for reports and court appearances include:
• Street Gangs, gang dynamics and behaviours
• Criminal Exploitation; debt bondage; duress; vulnerabilities
• County Lines; drug dealing and drug dealing networks
• Knife crime; kidnapping; Drill music videos
• The Street Code and no snitching
• Modern slavery and NRM Decisions
One alternative to engaging an Expert Witness is to engage an Expert Advisor. This might also be a cost-effective alternative. A key benefit here is that the expert’s advice including client report, remain privileged and non-disclosable. This permits the client to access the expert’s knowledge, guidance and opinion. This role may also assist in strategic planning of a case.
An expert witness can be quickly instructed without a need to wait on Legal Aid funding. They can assist in narrowing cases to focus on key issues pre-proceedings and ensure those involved in a case are provided with contemporary knowledge and opinion. Early instruction can also assist in such issues. An Expert Advisors would not be called to appear in court.
Key advisory roles include:
The London Mayor’s Office Violence Reduction Advisory Group 2020-21
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (Mopac) Crime Plan Advisory Group 2020-21
Mopac Matrix Community Reference Group 2018-20
Victims Commissioners Roundtable on victims 2020-21
Evidence to Home Affairs Select Committee on Serious violence, House of Commons 19/03/2019
MPS Cold Case Review of 58 sudden suspicious deaths due to drug intoxication 2018-19
HMICFRS Serious and Organised Crime Expert Reference Group 2017-19
London borough of Newham on Gangs scrutiny work 2019-21
Liaison with Street Crime Action Team, (SCAT) and GOL Central unit re Street Crime. Production of street crime reports for London boroughs, (2002-2005)
Represented GOL on the Crime Forum of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 2002-04
Advisor to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on their current research into ASB, 2004-05
Advisory Board on new Racial & Violent Crimes Unit at Scotland Yard after London nail-bombings 1999
Dr Harding has provided advice to the NCA and Number Ten
Dr Harding is a regular public speaker and conference keynote speaker. He is also a regular contributor to national debates on TV, radio and print media.