Portsmouth forensic interview experts awarded £723,000

Interview between three people

The funding allows the researchers to further examine security threats to the UK

  • 10 November 2020
  • 2 min read

Two leading experts in forensic interviewing at the University of Portsmouth have been awarded £723,000 to examine security threats to the UK over the next three years.

Professors Lorraine Hope and Aldert Vrij, both in the university’s Department of Psychology, were awarded funding by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST).

CREST was awarded £5.3m by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to produce new behavioural and social science research into security threats to the UK.

Professor Hope, who was awarded £386,000, will focus on identifying the best techniques for getting information from online sources, with a focus on building rapport and communication strategies. 

Professor Vrij, who was awarded £337,000, will develop interview techniques that enable to differentiate between truth tellers and lie tellers in an online environment.

Professor Hope said: “Our teams are very excited to continue our research work within CREST and explore the most effective ways to gather information in the online environment, applying what we already know about investigative interviewing and information elicitation in face-to-face contexts.”

Since launching in October 2015, CREST has brought together 140 researchers from 35 higher education institutions and small and medium sized enterprises who have, through their research and engagement activities, added value to security training, practices and policies.

Our teams are very excited to continue our research work within CREST and explore the most effective ways to gather information in the online environment, applying what we already know about investigative interviewing and information elicitation in face-to-face contexts.

Lorraine Hope , Professor of Applied Cognitive Psychology

The ESRC grant sees CREST funded until 2023 with £5.3m coming from the UK Home Office and security and intelligence agencies, and matched investments made by its core partners at the universities of Portsmouth, Bath, Central Lancashire, Lancaster, St Andrews and University College London.

Director of CREST, Professor Paul Taylor from Lancaster University, said: “This follow-on funding enables CREST to build on its many successes over the last five years and to expand its global community of experts as we seek to break new ground in our understanding of national security threats and the means to counter them.”

As well as conducting world-class, independent research, CREST has taken a leading role in stimulating public and professional debate, connecting disciplinary communities, informing security policy and practice, and providing training to research leaders of the future.

Research will be delivered by academics at the universities of Portsmouth, Bath, Central Lancashire, Lancaster, St Andrews and University College London, and by others as a result of competitive tender. The Centre’s initial focus is:

Research on ‘risk management’ producing up-to-date knowledge on cultural and online drivers of emerging threats to inform best practice;
Research on ‘human sources’ addressing challenges across the lifecycle of human sources of intelligence and supporting the integration of data;
Research on ‘deterrence and disruption’ providing evidence of ‘what works’ while continuing to develop tools for assessing effects.

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