UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science

Dr Spencer Chainey

Dr Spencer Chainey

Associate Professor in Security and Crime Science & Director of Continuing Professional

Dept of Security and Crime Science

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
24th Apr 2003

Research summary

Much of Spencer's work is focused on developing research on crime and citizen security in Latin America and the Caribbean, and supporting the professionalism and effectiveness of policing in this region.  Current research projects and practice activities in the region include,

  • Practice (2019): leading a team to support the Jamaica Government and Jamaica Constabulary on the creation of the Jamaica Citizen Security Plan 
  • Practice (2018-2020): supporting the implementation of problem-oriented policing in Uruguay through a skills development programme with over 1000 police officers
  • Research and practice (2018-2020): developing, evaluating and strengthening the PADO hot spot policing programme in Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Research and practice (2017-2018): development, training and evaluation of a pilot hot spot policing programme in four cities in Argentina
  • Research and practice (2018): a review of the Barrios Seguros programme in Argentina and recommendations for adopting problem solving approaches
  • Research and practice (2018): developing crime analysis in Mexico: case studies of cargo robbery on highways, illegal weapons trafficking, robbery of convenience stores and poppy cultivation
  • Research and practice (2018-2020): a guidance and practice advice publication on hot spot policing for police agencies in Latin America

  • Practice (2018-2019): crime analysis skills development programme for the Chile Prosecutors Office

  • Practice (2018-2019): developing the use of geographic profiling for supporting criminal investigations in Mexico
  • Research (2018-2019): examining changes in the concentration of robbery across the state of Rio de Janeiro during a period of crime increase
  • Research (2018-2019): the concentration of homicide and homicide near repeats in a Latin American urban context
Further details on activities associated with the JDI LAC can be found here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/jdi/JDI_LAC_Unit


Kingston University
First Degree, Bachelor of Science |
University of Edinburgh
Other higher degree, Master of Science |
University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2015


Spencer is an Associate Professor at UCL’s Jill Dando Institute, Director of the JDI Latin America and Caribbean Unit, and Director of Continuing Professional Development.  Spencer has over 20 years of experience in developing and helping to implement problem-oriented, intelligence-led, evidence-based principles in policing, public safety and other emergency services, local government and central government, and commerce.  Spencer plays an active role at the interface between the department’s research and knowledge-raising activities, and the implementation of practice for improving policing and public safety.  Spencer works closely with police agencies and citizen security ministries across the world, and across the spectrum of ranks – from senior policy makers and police chiefs to front-line police officers.  In most recent years, Spencer has worked with police and public safety agencies in , Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Austria, the USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, South Africa, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Abu Dhabi.  This includes supporting a training programme in developing intelligence-led policing methods for the Danish Police (2014-ongoing), leading on the delivery of POP training and its implementation with the police in Uruguay (2015-ongoing), and coordinating a multi-city hot spot policing programme in Argentina (2017).  Spencer also leads our certified training programme in geographic profiling for criminal investigations.

Prior to joining UCL, Spencer spent several years working in the private sector, in policing and in local government on Geographical Information Systems (GIS), community safety, information sharing, housing development and regeneration projects (1996-2003).  Spencer was Chair of the UK’s Association for Geographic Information (AGI) in 2003, and chairs the AGI Crime and Disorder Special Interest Group.

His work is much published and includes the UK's guide and practice advice on ‘Information sharing for community safety’, the US National Institute of Justice booklet ‘Understanding Hotspots’, and his definitive book on ‘GIS and Crime Mapping', co-authored with Jerry Ratcliffe.  He is also the co-author of the UK College of Policing report on the targeting of stop and search.