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Laurence J. Alison

Member Information

Name: Laurence J. Alison

Role: Associate Member

Qualifications: B.Sc, M.Sc, PhD, CPsychol (HPC)

Affiliation & Positions:

Professor of Forensic & Investigative Psychology, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK

Director, Centre for Critical and Major Incident Research

Academic Director, HYDRA Foundation:  www.hydrafoundation.org

Link: Publications


Professor Alison is Director of the Centre for Critical and Major Incident Research at the School of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool. The Centre focuses on high profile critical and major incidents (from disaster management to terrorism). Professor Alison has an international reputation and a number of high profile publications on the subject of investigation, decision making and the psychological processes relevant to critical incidents. He is also a member of the University of Liverpool’s Risk and Uncertainty Institute (a collaboration between researchers in the humanities, social sciences and science and engineering), one of the four Security and Conflict champions for the University and Academic Director of the HYDRA Foundation (which employs immersive simulations and operational debriefs for the emergency services, criminal justice sector, defence, government industry and commercial sectors) and is co-directed by Prof. Jonathan Crego. Prof. Alison is also Director for the MSc in Critical and Major Incident Psychology – a course that provides education and research experience for strategic decision makers in the emergency services. He has security clearance at SC level.

As well as research, education and training, he has provided advice to the courts, police, policy makers and industry in excess of 150 other critical and major incidents (for example, he worked for the defence case for Colin Stagg in the murder of Rachel Nickell, advised the Police Service of Northern Ireland in the Northern Bank Robbery, and analysed the debriefs of the Ipswich murders, The London Bombings, the poisoning of Aleksander Litveneko, Hostage Negotiations in Iraq, Policing of the Beijing Olympic Games, as well as preparations for the forthcoming 2012 games. He is on the accredited list of Behavioural Investigative Advisors for the National Policing Improvement Agency, is a Chartered Psychologist (Health Professions Council) and a Full Member of the Division of Forensic Psychology (British Psychological Society).

He has advised on particularly difficult interviews with suspects and decision making in high profile critical incidents and on the use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources and extremely sensitive, long term and resource-intensive cases. He is currently engaged in a project to examine humane and effective interviewing of High Value Detainees as part of a subcontracted piece of research for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (January 2012 – September 2012).

His work has attracted attention from many police forces in the UK and abroad, including Tier 3 Advanced Suspect Interviewer Training for Merseyside Police, the Kent Police Advanced Detective Training programme, Strathclyde Police crime analysis section, the Forensic Science Institute in Krakow, Senior Command Training (North Wales), The Bundeskriminalamt in Wiesbaden, CEPOL (in Norway), The Home Team Academy (Singapore), The National Research Institute for Police Science (Japan) and the Centre for Excellence in Policing in Australia.

He has written and edited 7 books on criminal investigation and decision making and published over 100 articles and chapters in internationally recognised journals and books. He has acted as a satellite consultant for a Security Risk Management company that operates in conjunction with Intelligence, Defence (including special forces), Law enforcement and Corporate security personnel and has a wider public profile through appearances  and articles in television (for ITV and the BBC), radio (BBC), and several newspapers (Telegraph, Times, Guardian).

Current Grant funding 2012 – 2015:

Prof Alison is one of 6 EU partners working on the Fighting International Internet Paedophilia project (a 1.4 million EU bid with the European Commission). This work is directed at investigation, managing and risk assessment offenders downloading, procuring and developing indecent images of children.

Prof Alison is also funded under the UTEP subcontract with the FBIs High Value Detainee Interrogation work, directed at establishing the most effective methods for interviewing high value targets and terrorist suspects.