Dr. Laura Boulton

Lecturer in Policing

School of Forensic and Applied Sciences

Maudland Building, MB126

+44 (0) 1772 89 4386

Subject Areas: Criminology and Policing

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

Laura is a honorary member of the University of Liverpool’s Tactical Decision Making Research Group, she also is a part of the UCLan Policing Research Team.


Full Profile

Laura is a lecturer in Policing at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). She has both quantitative and qualitative research experience. 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. She is now part of the UCLan Policing research team, is active in supervising MSc students and conducting research on behalf of local police forces. Laura also lectures on Master’s Degree programmes at UCLan and is a qualified Hydra facilitator.


Ph.D. Psychology, University of Liverpool, 2014

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

Research Activities 

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

  • Critical incident decision making
  • Tactical decision making
  • Police firearms and armed confrontations
  • Deaths in Police custody
  • ‘Everyday crime’
  • Policing demand
  • The Special Constabulary
  • Investigative decision making


- 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).


FZ4701: Research Methods for Crime and Criminal Justice

FZ4707: MSc Criminal Investigation Dissertation

FZ4728 Decision Making in the context of Threat, Risk and Harm


Associate of the Higher Education Academy

Social Media

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