Photo of Professor Laurence Alison

Professor Laurence Alison BSc, MSc, PhD, C.PSychol

Chair in Forensic and Investigative Psychology Psychology


Personal Statement

Professor Alison, MBE, focuses on high profile critical and major incidents (from disaster management to terrorism). He has an international reputation and a number of high profile publications on the subject of critical incident decision making, interrogation of high value detainees and risk prioritisation of sexual and violent offenders. He was key psychological debriefer of over 460 critical incidents including 7/7, the Boxing Day Tsunami, The Buncefield fire and preparations for the Beijing and London Olympics. He has served as key advisor on over 200 major cases including Lord Chief Justice Woolfe’s review of military interrogations in Kandahar and Basra (Operation Northmoor) as well on many key large scale live exercises for multi-agency responders (including Ex Unified Response – the largest European Planning exercise with over 2,500 ‘casualties’ and 4,000 responders from UK, Hungary, Italy and Cyprus over 4 days). His work on decision making and overcoming decision inertia is used nationally by UK Police. The work on decision making was utilised on learning development methods for fast track officers and high potential development scheme. His work on multi agency emergency responses is enshrined in the Chief Fire Officers Association Protocols (CFOA), informed the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Program (JESIP) with reports on multi agency response live exercises used as part of a set of reports to the Home Secretary. Last year he advised the Royal Canadian Commission on the investigation of the Mass Casualty Incident in Nova Scotia and also worked on DARPA seedling investigating the potential use of AI in MCIs. The latter included an investigation into the ER response to gunshot wounds in the Las Vegas Stephen Paddock shootings (the biggest MCI incident in the USA). His work on interrogation, as well as now the national UK standard for counter terrorism interviewing is used by UKs Joint Forces Intelligence Group for the British Military in overseas operations as well as by FBI, DoD, CIA, Border force, ISTAR Netherlands and the war crimes unit here in Liverpool. His work on child sexual exploitation resulted in a resource allocation tool for investigating indecent image cases and has saved the Government over £15million in a 6 month period. The tool was deemed to have mitigated the risk to children in the UK by one third in the IICSA enquiry. This resource allocation tool is now used across 24 European countries and more recently in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Israel. He has been PI on many high-profile grants from the Home Office, Department of Defence, European Commission and the FBI. Most recently he secured a 10 year funding commitment for UoL to be the centre of research on child sexual exploitation, Over the ten years this represents an iro £2million investment in Psychology to help the UK enhance suspect interviewing and risk manage CSAE cases. As well as his work with law enforcement, the military and security services his expertise on resilience and decision making in extremis was applied in health care with a resilience tool (built with Emily Alison MSc) at speed during the pandemic and started in Alder Hey. This tool won health care awards and is now used in over 40 child care sectors to assist staff in mental health and well being. In the New Years 2020 Queens honours list he was awarded an MBE for his work on child protection, decision making and interviewing.