Dr Laura Garius


I joined Kingston University in July 2022 as a Senior Lecturer in Criminology. I previously worked as a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Nottingham Trent University  (between 2015 and 2020), where I led the postgraduate Criminology MA course and delivered taught modules on drug and alcohol-related crime, drug policy reform, and situational crime prevention.

Immediately prior to joining Kingston, I was Policy Lead at the London-based charity, Release, which is the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law in the UK. As part of this role, I published a number of policy papers, policy responses, and MP Briefings evidencing the need for drug policy reform in the UK, including national reports analysing COVID-19 drug purchasing trends and social equity models of cannabis reform in North America. My experience in the third sector has given me an excellent understanding of how policies are created and of the barriers to change. Through my work I campaign against racial inequity in drug law enforcement and stigmatisation faced by people who use drugs.

I conduct both quantitative and qualitative research on alcohol and drug-related harm and have evaluated police-led drug diversion schemes, shop theft interventions, violence trends and causes, and harm-reduction initiatives at music festivals. 

Academic responsibilities

Senior Lecturer in Criminology


  • PhD in Criminology
  • FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy)
  • MSc Criminology & Criminal Justice
  • BSc Social Psychology

Teaching and learning

As well as dissertation supervision at undergraduate and postgraduate level, I currently teach at levels 4 and 6 on the following modules:

  • CM4001: Foundations in Criminological Research
  • SO4006: Introduction to Research Methods
  • CM6027: Transnational Crime
  • SO6034: Social Issues

Qualifications and expertise

  • Criminology and Social Psychology
  • Non-governmental organisation (NGO) working
  • FHEA (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy)
  • Accredited Researcher with the UK Data Service

Undergraduate courses taught

Postgraduate courses taught


Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Garius, L., Ward, B., Teague, K. & Tseloni, A. (2020). Evaluating harm-reduction initiatives, In V.Ceccato and M.K. Nalla (Eds). Crime and Fear in Public Places Towards Safe, Inclusive and Sustainable Cities. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 362-378.
  • Ganpat, S., Garius, L., Tseloni, A. & Tilley, N. (2020). Violence and the Crime Drop. European Journal of Criminology, DOI: 10.1177/1477370820913456.
  • Garius, L., Ward, B., Teague, K. & Tseloni, A. (2020). Evaluating harm-reduction initiatives in a night-time economy and music festival context. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, DOI: 10.1080/01924036.2020.1719530.
  • Hunter, J., Garius, L., Hamilton, P. & Wahidin, A. (2018). Who Steals from Shops, and Why? A Case Study of Prolific Shop Theft Offenders, In V.Ceccato & R.Armitage (Eds). Retail Crime: International Evidence and Prevention. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 71-97.
  • Garius, L. (2016). Opportunities for physical assault in the night-time economy in England and Wales, 1981-2011/12. Doctoral dissertation, Loughborough University.
  • Garius, L. & Grove, L. (2015). Enriching the University Experience through Volunteering: A Pilot Project, International Review of Victimology, 21(2), pp. 233-245, DOI: 10.1177/0269758015571474.
  • Tseloni, A., Farrell, G., Tilley, N., Grove, L., Thompson, R. & Garius, L. (2012). Towards a Comprehensive Research Plan on Opportunity Theory and the Crime Falls, In J.Van Dijk., A.Tseloni., & G. Farrell (Eds). The International Crime Drop: New Directions in Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 286-299.

Published Reports 

  • Garius, L. & Ali, A. (2022). Regulating Right, Repairing Wrongs: Exploring Equity and Social Justice Initiatives within UK Cannabis Reform. London: Release, www.release.org.uk/publications/cannabis-regulating-right.  
  • Aldridge, J., Garius, L., Spicer, J., Harris, M., Moore, K. & Eastwood, N. (2021). Drugs in the Time of COVID: The UK Drug Market Response to Lockdown Restrictions. London: Release, www.release.org.uk/publications/covid-drugs-market-survey.

 Published Consultation Responses

  • Garius, L. (2022). MP Briefing Paper for the Parliamentary Debate on ‘Tackling drug crime in local communities' - 20th April, 2022. Westminster. London: Release.
  • Sander, G. & Garius, L. (2022). Written submission to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the protection against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers. London: Release
  • Eastwood, N., Garius, L. & Mason-Jordan, I. (2022). Written Submission to the Home Affairs Committee's Inquiry on Drugs. London: Release. Published by UK Parliament.
  • Garius, L. & Eastwood, N. (2022). Response to the Prisons Strategy White Paper Consultation. London: Release.
  • Garius, L. & Eastwood, N. (2022). Written submission to the Mayor of London's Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC) in response to the Police and Crime Plan 2021-25 consultation. London: Release.
  • Garius, L. & Douse, K. (2021). Written submission to the Scottish Parliament Criminal Justice Committee's Roundtable on Tackling the Criminal Justice aspects of the Misuse of Drugs. London: Release.
  • Garius, L. & Shirley-Beavan, S. (2021). Written submission to the Department of Health and Social Care's Consultation on expanding access to naloxone. London: Release.
  • Garius, L. & Eastwood, N. (2021). MP Briefing Paper for the Parliamentary Debate on the ‘Misuse of Drugs Act' - 17th June, 2021. House of Commons. London: Release.
  • Garius, L. & Girelli, G. (2021). Written submission to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. London: Release.
  • Garius, L. (2020). Written submission to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. London: Release.
  • Garius, L. & Girelli, G. (2020). Written submission to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the protection against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers. London: Release.

Media Articles

  • Garius, L. (2022). The Injustice of the War on Cannabis. The Cannabis Scientist, 1st March 2022.
  • Gomes, A., Garius, L., Douse, K. & Robbins, C. (2021). Few Highs, Tough Lows: Release's Take on the Government's New Drug Strategy. Talking Drugs, 8th December 2021.
  • Garius, L. (2021). 'Just Say No' To Zero Tolerance Policies: Why Universities Must Adopt Harm Reduction. Talking Drugs, 9th April 2021.
  • Bernard, J. & Garius, L. (2021). National Overdose Awareness and Naloxone campaign launches in the UK. Talking Drugs, 8th April 2021.
  • Garius, L. (2020). Shocking, Disturbing, Preventable: Drug-related Deaths in Scotland Rise Again. Talking Drugs, 21st December 2020.
  • Garius, L. (2020). No stopping Stop and Search, Talking Drugs, 5th November 2020.
  • Garius, L. (2019). What do Shop Theft Offenders think of your store? Retail News Magazine, New Trade Media, 3rd May 2019.

Research student supervision

Leadership and management

In my previous role of 'Policy Lead' in the civil society organisation ‘Release' - which advocates for drug policy reform and social and racial justice - I led on policy consultations, including responses to the MOJ's Prisons White Paper and the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Within this role, I also led on the production of national policy papers: ‘Drugs in the Time of COVID' - analysing Release's pandemic drug purchasing survey - and ‘Regulating Right, Repairing Wrongs' - evaluating North American regulatory models and proposing principles for the UK to adopt if cannabis is to be regulated. This paper was endorsed by key NGOs in the field and the Liberal Democrat and Green political parties.

Whilst at Release, I also led (as Principal Investigator) a Barrow Cadbury Trust-funded project evaluating the racial equity of pre-arrest, police-led drug diversion scheme(s). 

In another previous role as Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, I led the MA Criminology course and coordinated five module teams, managed course reviews, committees, and exam boards. I led on course re-design, replacing desk-based dissertations with work-based research projects and working with colleagues across the social sciences to identify external placements. 

Whilst working at Nottingham Trent University, I led on two research projects evaluating drug/alcohol harm reduction initiatives as the Principal Investigator (PI); including securing external funding and managing the research team(s).