|The Department of Criminology, formerly the “Institute of Criminology” (2008-2012) and the “Institute of Forensic Studies” – its title since 1993, when it was established, was set up with the aim of serving as a resource centre of experts and expertise for the Maltese criminal justice system.
Following a landmark court judgment, it was decided that an Institute would be set up in order to provide expertise in forensic sciences and criminology. However, over the years, the then Institute developed into a strong force in the local scene as a centre of criminological research focusing its efforts in such fields as policing, corrections, domestic violence, migration, juvenile crime, gender and crime, environmental criminology, spatio-temporal crime statistics, amongst others. Therefore, in February 2009, the University authorities agreed that the Institute’s original title was somewhat misleading and changed its name to “Institute of Criminology”.
Dr Joseph Louis Grech was its main founder as well as its first Director until November 1999 when, sadly, he passed away. He had the idea of setting up this entity years before 1992 …after realising that criminal justice personnel needed to be trained even at university level. Not only didn’t Dr Grech’s efforts die in 1999, but his ambition is now being materialised by the Department of Criminology. His responsibilities as Director were taken over by Dr Jacqueline Azzopardi, the current Head of Department.
The Department is involved in research and teaching in the field of Criminology: policing, corrections, terrorism, geo-spatial analysis of crime, psychology/psychiatry/biology of crime, criminological research methods, cyber crime, criminal investigation, crime/criminal profiling, domestic violence, hate crimes and other crime-related areas of study. It also acts as a resource centre for the provision of experts and expertise in the various fields of its activity to the Courts of Justice and the Probation Services (which could be considered a direct off-shoot of the then Institute of Forensic Studies). Furthermore, it acts as an advisory body to the Government on matters pertaining to criminal justice.
Besides carrying out a series of courses, the Department is also involved in a number of EU-funded research projects. In addition, the Department provides consultancy to the Ministry for Home Affairs and Justice and is represented on the Police Academy Board.
Internationally, it has representatives in Eurojust and Cepol.