A key focus of Layla Skinns’ research is police detention, in England and Wales, but also in other parts of the Anglophone world. In this setting, Layla examines police powers and their relationship with the law, police cultures and police discretion, and furthermore, how this impacts on equality and on state-citizen relations. She is also interested in how the public – particularly detainees – perceive the police, which links her research to police legitimacy and ‘good’ policing.
Over the last 15 years she has led research projects funded by the British Academy, the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Economic and Social Research Council. The most recent of these is the ‘good’ police custody study, which sought to ‘robustly’ examine what is meant by ‘good’ police custody and to instigate changes to police custody policies and practices in England and Wales.