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Bradford academic who studies gangs receives MBE


A university staff member dressed in a suit holds up a medal in a box as they stand in the grounds of a castle

An academic who has devoted his research work to following gangs and drug dealers to better understand the causes of crime has received his MBE.

Dr Mohammed Qasim, a visiting research fellow at the University of Bradford, was recognised for academic research and services to young people in the 2023 New Year’s Honours List.

He received his honour from the Princess Royal at a ceremony held at Windsor Castle earlier this month. Dr Qasim revealed the Princess Royal spoke to him about the importance of his research and how education is a solution to poverty and gang crime. 

'A real honour' 

Dr Qasim, 41, has spent more than a decade researching the darker side of society, from gaining trust with gang members to meeting teenagers recruited to trafficking drugs via county lines networks, often putting himself at risk along the way.

He said: “It feels a real honour but makes my research all the more necessary, preventing young people from becoming involved in gangs/drugs and supporting Muslim prisoners upon release from prison.

“There are far too many young Muslims going into prison, something needs to change. Muslim prisoners equate to around 20 per cent of the British prison population when they are around six per cent of the overall UK population.”

Dr Qasim co-wrote, ‘British Pakistanis and Desistance - Poverty, Prison and Identity’, a book which looks at the lives of men who offend, highlighting the events which led them to start breaking the law, continue offending and how they may struggle to move away from a life of crime once they are released from prison.

He grew up in Manningham, Bradford, and attended the city’s Belle Vue Boys School. 

He works at Gower College Swansea and has taught at Swansea University, Leeds Beckett and the London School of Economics.