Photo of Prof Laurence Alison

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

Chair in Forensic and Investigative Psychology Psychological Sciences


    Personal Statement

    Professor Alison 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. 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. His work on child sexual exploitation resulted in a resource allocation tool for investigating indecent image cases and has saved the Government over £15million. 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.

    Personal Distinctions

    • Researching Naturalistic Decision Making in Critical Incidents (Invitation to Speak, Haifa University 2012)
    • Offender Profiling for the 21st Century (Keynote Speech, National Research Institute of Police Science 2011)
    • Wicked Problems in Adverse Critical Environments, Accountability Pressures and Decision Inertia (Keynote Speech, Academy of Law Enforcement and Security, Australia 2010)
    • Developments in Offender Profiling (Keynote Speech, European Association of Psychology and Law 2010)
    • Professionalisation of Offender Profiling (Keynote Speech, International Investigative Research Group 2010)
    • Changes in Simulation Based Training for Policing Critical Incidents (Invitation to Speak, Royal United Services Insitute and Vector Command 2009)
    • Decision Making in Extreme Environments (Invitation to Speak, Chinese Academy of Sciences 2009)
    • Simulation Training for Counter Terrorism (Invitation to Speak, UCL Terrorism Conference 2007)
    • Sexual Assault: Advances in Criminal Profiling (Invitation to Speak, School of Health,Nursing & Midwifery 2007)
    • Critical Incident Decision Making (Keynote Speech, Singapore Home Team Academy 2007)
    • Suspect Interviewing: Cognitive Closure and Selection for Role (Keynote Speech, Nordic Network of Psychology and Law 2006)

    Administrative Roles

    • Director, MSc Critical and Major Incident Psychology

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