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Research Profile

Mr David Brewster 

Position:PhD Student
School:Social Sciences


I’m an ESRC-funded first year PhD student researching cannabis policy in the UK and the Netherlands. I started at Cardiff University with a BSc in criminology before completing an MSc in Social Science Research Methods.

I am also an undergraduate seminar tutor, teaching on ‘The Criminological Imagination’ (SI0198), and ‘Responses to Crime’ (SI0202) modules.

Research Interests

  • Drugs; Harm-Reduction; 
  • Policing; Governance of Crime; 
  • Community Safety; 
  • Policy; 
  • Comparative Criminology; 
  • Criminological Theory; 
  • Politics of Crime Control.

PhD Topic / Area

‘Political Polemics and Drugs Debacles: Comparing the Cannabis Conundrum in the UK and the Netherlands’

The research is focussed on researching the way in which the UK and the Netherlands respond to the issue of the most popular illicit drug, cannabis. The purpose of doing so is to place these responses in the context of theories which purport that we are increasingly experiencing a landscape of penal ambivalence. A primary concern then is to examine whether the traditionally tolerant Dutch response is giving way to more ‘reactive’ modes of drug control, and whether there is anything to be learnt from mechanisms of control which differ to the often criticised norm of prohibition. Further to this, whilst grand theories of social change such as that of Garland’s ‘Culture of Control’ have been useful in mapping broad changes, there is a real need to explore how the ‘schizoid mix’ of responses to crime have unfolded comparatively across Europe, in specific localities, and more specifically in the hybrid policy field of the reactive ‘war on drugs’ and the preventive ‘harm reduction’ agenda regarding substance misuse.


Prof Gordon Hughes

Mr Trevor Jones