Providing solutions to criminal justice and terror incidents

Research by University of Liverpool psychologists has led to emergency and security services adopting new ways of managing risks such as terror attacks, prosecuting and convicting terrorists and preventing child sexual abuse.


A new sub-discipline at the university, Investigative Psychology, has had a significant impact on law enforcement as well as the emergency and security services, who now take an evidence-based approach to linking crime scene actions to background characteristics.

The research has helped develop new practices in training senior personnel, including two immersive learning technologies now used in six countries to train and debrief law enforcement agencies and emergency responders dealing with major terrorist incidents. MI5 calculate that as a result of these, 312 individuals were successfully convicted under the Terrorism Act between 2001 and 2012. The new approaches have also been used in criminal investigations, disaster management, public order policing and child protection.

Since 2009, one of the Liverpool lead researchers in Investigative Psychology has worked with Kent Police to develop the Kent Internet Risk Assessment Tool, which has resulted in more than 300 children being protected from contact abuse.

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