Emma Tilley


School of Law, Policing and Forensics

I am a Lecturer in Policing at Staffordshire University. I am passionate about making a difference to the lives of others. My areas of expertise include unidentified bodies, missing people, police oversight and police-related deaths.

Prior to joining Staffordshire University, I worked at the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). As an Investigator, I led independent investigations into complaints, conduct matters and deaths or serious injuries following police contact. As a Quality and Service Improvement Officer, I conducted individual and thematic case reviews and provided a ‘critical friend’ to colleagues leading the most high-profile and complex operational work.

I am an active researcher and have presented at national and international conferences. In 2018, I completed a MSc in Crime Science, Investigation and Intelligence course at University of Portsmouth. I am currently studying for a PhD at Staffordshire University in which I will critically review the cross-matching of unidentified bodies and missing persons reports in England and Wales.

In 2020, I was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to visit Canada for six weeks to research support for bereaved families following police-related deaths. Police-related deaths can be defined as; road traffic fatalities following police pursuits, fatal police shootings, deaths in or following police custody and other deaths following contact with the police, either directly or indirectly, that cause serious concern for the public, communities and the police. This research trip is on hold due to the global pandemic.

I am a volunteer for Locate International. I work as part of a team of specialists to review unsolved cases to ensure that all that can reasonably be done, has and is being done. This service is carried out at no cost to families or police forces.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Churchill Fellow
  • Member of the British Association for Human Identification

Academic qualifications

  • MSc
  • BA (Hons)


  • Unidentified bodies
  • Missing people
  • Police oversight
  • Police-related deaths

Research interests

  • Cross-matching of unidentified bodies and missing persons reports
  • Support for bereaved families following police-related deaths


  • Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA)
  • Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP)
  • Detective Degree Holder Entry Programme (DCDHEP)


  • The Missing podcast (Series 2, Episode 4)
  • emma.tilley@staffs.ac.uk

  • Room Institute of Policing Collaboration Room,
    Ashley 2 Building, Staffordshire University, Leek Road,
Top 250 Young University

Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2020

Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

Top 15 for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020