Professor Laurence Alison recognised in New Year Honours

Professor Alison

Forensic psychologist Professor Laurence Alison has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for services to critical incident handling and to the NHS during COVID-19.

Professor Alison is Director of the National Unit for Critical Incident Decision Making and leads the University’s Psychological Resource Network.

In April last year, he oversaw the launch of Project ARES, which provides a series of free online psychological tools to assist frontline staff in preparedness, adaptation and recovery from working in the intense operational environment of COVID-19.

Project ARES extends a 30-year career of understanding and responding to high profile critical and major incidents, from disaster management to terrorism.

Professor Alison is widely known in his field for his publications on critical incident decision making, interrogation of high value detainees, and risk prioritisation of sexual/violent offenders. He led psychological debriefing in over 460 critical incidents including 7/7, the Boxing Day Tsunami and preparations for the Beijing and London Olympics. His work on decision making and overcoming decision inertia is used nationally by UK Police.

Commenting on his MBE Professor Alison said: “I recognise that police, emergency services, health workers and the military are the doers. As psychologists we merely observe, research the issues and then help with training and evidence-based solutions, whether that relates to difficult decisions, difficult forms of communication or difficult assessments of risk.

“I consider myself lucky to be able to support the doers. Above all things my team and I pride ourselves on responding to practitioner needs, specifically in order to help them to reduce human suffering.

“I do it for the love of doing it and because it provides purpose. Nonetheless, this recognition – and in this year of all years – is so wonderful. I am grateful to those that took the time to recommend me for recognition.”

A number of University alumni were also recognised in the New Year Honours list.

  • Professor Dhiya Al-Jumeily (Certificate in English Language 1990) received an OBE for services to Scientific Research.
  • Professor Brian Barwick (BA Hons Economics 1975) received an OBE for services to Sport and to Sports Broadcasting.
  • Sarah Clarke (M Public Health 2007) received an MBE for services to Nursing and to the Covid-19 Response.
  • Richard Dugdale (BA Hons Combined Honours 1995) received a BEM for services to the community in Clitheroe, Lancashire
  • Amy Farrell (BSc Hons Occupational Therapy 2013) received a BEM for services to the NHS during the Covid-19 Response.
  • Professor Kate Robertson (BSc Hons Occupational Therapy 1996) received an MBE for services to Occupational Therapy.
  • Keith Weed (BEng Hons Engineering Science and Industrial Management 1983) received a CBE for services to the Advertising and Marketing Industry.

For the full New Year’s Honours list, please visit: The New Year Honours 2021 – GOV.UK (