Dr. Laura Boulton

Senior Lecturer in Policing

School of Forensic and Applied Sciences

Maudland Building, MB119

+44 (0) 1772 89 4386


Subject Areas: Policing

Laura is research active in the area of policing and is a member of the UCLan Policing Research Team.


Full Profile

Laura is a Senior Lecturer in Policing at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). She primarily teaches on Master’s Degree programmes, supervises Master’s dissertations and is a member of UCLan’s Policing research team, in addition to engaging with the Criminal Justice Partnership. She also conducts research on behalf of local police forces and is a qualified Hydra facilitator.

Laura completed her PhD in 2014 exploring how expertise, cognitive executive functioning, neuropsychology and human factors influence the decision making of Authorised Firearms Officers in order to develop a model of decision making during armed confrontations. Providing an evidence base that can be practically utilised by Police practitioners to impact change in practice was the underlying motivation for this research. Throughout her PhD she worked in collaboration with Merseyside Police, North West Ambulance Service and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.


Ph.D. Psychology, University of Liverpool, 2014

BA. (Hons.) Psychology and English, University of Liverpool, 2010


- Boulton, L. & Cole, J. (2016). Adaptive Flexibility Examining the role of expertise in the decision making of authorized firearms officers during armed confrontation. Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, pp.1-18.

- McManus, M., Almond, L., Cubbon, B., Boulton, L. & Mears, I. (2015). Exploring the Online Communicative Themes of Child Sex Offenders. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 13, pp.166-179

- Boulton, L., McManus, M., Metcalfe, L., Brian, D. & Dawson, I. (2016). Calls for police service: Understanding the demand profile and the UK police response. The Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles (in press).


Course leader:
Criminal Justice MSc

Module leader:
FZ4707: MSc Criminal Investigation Dissertation
FZ4728 Decision Making in the context of Threat, Risk and Harm

Module tutor:
FZ4701: Research Methods for Crime and Criminal Justice


  • Associate Fellow -  The Higher Education Academy
  • Hydra Facilitator – The Hydra Foundation

External Affiliations

Laura is seconded one day a week to Lancashire constabulary’s Evidence-Based Policing team.

She is an article peer reviewer for the following journals: American Journal of Psychology, Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management and the Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles.

She is an article editor for SAGE Open.



  • UCLan Policing Research Team
  • Evidence Based Policing Team
  • Honorary member of the University of Liverpool’s Tactical Decision Making Research Group



Laura is part of the UCLan Policing Research team, is active in supervising MSc, Professional Doctorate and PhD students and conducting research on behalf of local police forces. Her research areas include;

  • Critical incident decision making
  • Tactical decision making
  • Police firearms and armed confrontations
  • Investigative decision making
  • Evidence-based policing
  • Serious and organised crime.


  • Annual Conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law, Turku, 2018.
  • 13th Biannual Naturalistic Decision Making Conference, Bath, 2017.
  • Advances in Preventing and Investigating Child Death, Huddersfield, 2017.
  • National Police Child Death Investigation Working Group Symposium, Leicester, 2017.
  • Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics Conference, Orlando, 2016.
  • PolCon6, Staffordshire University, 2015.