School of Law

Dr Conor O’Reilly

Associate Professor in Transnational Crime and Security

I am Associate Professor in Transnational Crime and Security at the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies in the School of Law. I am currently also Programme Director for the MSc in Security, Conflict and Justice.

Previously, I have held positions at Durham University, the University of Porto and the University of Oxford, the latter as an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Criminology. I remain an Affiliate Professor of the School of Criminology, University of Porto and was previously a Visiting Scholar at John Jay College for Criminal Justice in New York. My doctoral research was conducted at Queen’s University Belfast and focused on the transnational security consultancy industry.

I am currently working on a monograph entitled Policing Global Risks: The Transnational Security Consultancy (Hart Publishing) and recently edited a compilation on Colonial Policing and the Transnational Legacy: The Global Dynamics of Policing Across the Lusophone Community (Routledge Publishing, 2018). My peer-reviewed articles have been published in leading journals, including: British Journal of Criminology; Theoretical Criminology; International Political Sociology; Crime, Law and Social Change; and, Police Quarterly.

From 2016-2019, I will be PI of the Newton Fund (Mexico) project, ‘Mobile Solutions to the Mexican Kidnapping Epidemic: Beyond Elite Counter-Measures, Towards Citizen-Led Innovation.’ This project aims to contribute towards more sustainable security in the face of Mexico’s pervasive kidnapping threat. I am also currently part of an international and interdisciplinary team that have been awarded joint-funding from Brazilian and Portuguese research councils to research ‘Policing and Urban Imaginaries: New Security Formats in Southern Cities’ (FAPESP/FCT). In addition to ongoing funded research, I have previously been awarded an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, and have received awards/scholarships from, amongst others: the British Council (UK) / FAPESP (Sao Paulo State, Brazil); Santander; FCT (Portugal); and, GERN (France).

I have presented my research to various national and international audiences. This has included events in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Portugal, Slovenia, USA, with some 50 presentations over the last decade.

Research Interests

My current research interests focus upon the transnational dynamics of crime, policing and security. I am particularly interested in intersecting trends towards commodification of security and transnationalisation of policing.

At present I have particular research interests in:

  • Kidnapping
  • Transnational policing
  • Pluralization of high policing
  • Branding security
  • Colonial policing
  • Policing across the Lusophone community


I am currently module director for the following modules:

  • LAW2095 Transnational and Comparative Criminology
  • LAW5005M New Frontiers of Security, Conflict and Justice
  • LAW5300M Security and Justice

 I have previously also taught in the following subject-areas:

  • Policing
  • Criminal law
  • Organised crime
  • Globalization & criminology

PhD Supervision

I currently supervise Ashley Kilgallon’s doctoral research on: ‘Liaison-Based Approaches to Public Order Policing: An Ethnographic Study into Police Use of Dialogue.’

I welcome PhD applications in the following research fields:

  • Transnational crime, policing and security
  • Kidnapping and other forms of violent absence, ambiguous loss
  • Commodification of security
  • Pluralisation of policing
  • Private security and corporate security
  • High policing and state-corporate espionage
  • Policing in transitional societies
  • Colonial policing & postcolonial legacies

Key Publications


O’Reilly, C. Colonial Policing and the Transnational Legacy: The Global Dynamics of Policing Across the Lusophone Community (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge Publishing. 2018)

Journal Articles

O'Reilly, C. ‘The Pluralisation of High Policing: Convergence and Divergence at the Public-Private Interface’, British Journal of Criminology, 55.4 (2015), 688-710, DOI 10.1093/bjc/azu114

O'Reilly, C. ‘From Kidnaps to Contagious Diseases: Elite Rescue and the Strategic Expansion of the Transnational Security Consultancy Industry’, International Political Sociology, 5.2 (2011), 178-197, DOI 10.1111/j.1749-5687.2011.00128.x

O’Reilly, C. ‘The Transnational Security Consultancy Industry: A Case of State-Corporate Symbiosis’, Theoretical Criminology, 14.2 (2010). 183-210, DOI 10.1177/1362480609355702

Ellison, G. & O’Reilly, C. ‘From Empire to Iraq and the "War on terror": The Transplantation and Commodification of the (Northern) Irish Policing Experience’, Police Quarterly 11.4 (2008), 395-426, DOI 10.1177/1098611108317946

O'Reilly, C. & Ellison, G. ‘Eye Spy Private High’ Re-Conceptualizing High Policing Theory’, British Journal of Criminology, 46.4 (2006): 641-660, DOI 10.1093/bjc/azi090

Media Contact Areas

  • Transnational crime and security
  • Kidnapping & kidnapping response
  • Policing and private security
  • Globalisation of policing and security
  • Corporate spying
  • Policing in Lusophone countries
  • Colonial policing

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