Maria Pournara is from Kavala, Greece and has lived in Cardiff since 2014. Prior to coming to Swansea University, she has been a doctoral researcher at Cardiff University and postgraduate tutor at Cardiff University (2014-2019). She holds an MSc in Crime Analysis from the University of Southampton (2013-2014). Before that, she worked as a lawyer practising mainly in the areas of Criminal Law and Human Rights in Thessaloniki, Greece (2008-2013).

Her main research interests are in the areas of policing and decision-making, organised crime, intelligence and social problems. Her doctoral research has explored police decision-making in tackling organised crime and more specifically the processes of constructing and prioritising crime problems in the UK.

Areas of Expertise

  • Policing
  • Organised crime
  • Intelligence
  • Social problems


  1. Palmer, P., Pournara, M., Espinosa Delgado, I., Palmer, H. Decision Making and the National Intelligence Model: No Accounting for Decision Bias Australasian Policing A Journal of Professional Practice and Research 3 7


  • ASC108 Employability and Personal Development

    This module introduces students to the skills, qualities and attributes needed in applying for jobs, including how to recognise and make the most of their experiences, reflecting on their learning, knowledge and how to market themselves effectively in all aspects of the application process. It also provides specific information about a number of organisations both inside and external to the criminal justice system which might offer suitable careers. The content will be delivered by Swansea Employability Academy, Criminology staff and representatives from external organisations. The assessment for the module is also linked to the Swansea Employability Academy Bronze award.

  • ASC110 Law, Criminal Justice and Human Rights

    This module will introduce students to basic legal concepts such as the Rule of Law and due process and provide an understanding of the powers of the state, the UK legal framework and the law making process in England and Wales. In particular, the module will consider the UK constitution, the supremacy of Parliament, the impact of the European legal framework on the UK, the components and operation of the criminal justice, and civil liberties and human rights. The module also aims to help students understand the components, functions and key actors in the criminal justice system in England and Wales and will explore the relationship between the state and the citizen and the nature of human rights and civil liberties.

  • ASC204 Penology and Punishment

    This module aims to equip students with a robust understanding of theoretical explanations of why we punish and the way that punishment is actualised in society ¿ both within the criminal justice system and outside of it. The module examines contemporary approaches to the punishment of crime and `deviance¿, taking account of the history and philosophy of responses to offending and `deviant¿ behaviour, especially within prisons. It considers the purpose of and justification for a range of different forms of punishment in modern society, including the death penalty; incarceration; community orders; and civil injunctions. It also considers prisoner and prison officer experiences in the penal estate and how this has been influenced by the penal crisis. This module critically explores the treatment of different types of offenders, paying particular attention to disadvantaged/marginalised social groups.

  • ASCM25 A Critical Understanding of Policing: 21st Century Challenges.

    This module offers a critical study of policing within liberal democratic societies from historical, legal, political and social perspectives. Focusing primarily on policing in the United Kingdom, the module considers the origins, development and functions of policing and examines issues such as police use of force, the role of the police in miscarriages of justice, police responses to terrorism, the pluralisation of policing, the policing of vulnerable and diverse groups, the relationship between the media and the police and the implications of `police culture¿ on service delivery. The module also questions the accountability and legitimacy of the police and examines the models used in the delivery of modern day policing.