Professor Becky Milne
Professor of Forensic Psychology
Becky Milne is Professor of Forensic Psychology and is a chartered forensic psychologist and scientist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Police Science and Management and is on the editorial boards for the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, Frontiers: Forensic and Legal Psychology, Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, and the British Journal of Forensic Practice. Becky is one of the Academic lead members of the Association of National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Investigative Interviewing Strategic Steering Group.
The main focus of her work over the past twenty years concerns the examination of police interviewing and investigation. Jointly with practitioners, she has helped to develop procedures the improve the quality of interviews of witnesses, victims, intelligence sources, and suspects of crime across many countries (e.g. the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Brazil, Ireland, China, South Korea, Cyrpus, Malta, Mauritius, Belgium, Iceland, South Africa, the USA, Canada, France, Portugal, Dubai, and Singapore). As a result, she works closely with the police (and other criminal justice organisations), creating novel interview techniques, developing training, running interview courses, and providing case advice.
She has worked closely with the police and other criminal justice organisations (in the UK and abroad) through training of the Enhanced Cognitive Interview, Witness Interview Advising and also in the interviewing of vulnerable groups (Tier 3 and 5) and providing case advice. Becky was part of a team who developed the Achieving Best Evidence Document (Home Office, 2007) National guidance regarding how best to interview vulnerable and intimidated witnesses and victims, and she recently developed with Dr Kevin Smith, National UK Police Vulnerable lead (NCA) the witness interview strategy for critical incidents (WISCI) post the recent terror attacks.
Becky was given the 2009 Tom Williamson award for her outstanding achievements in the field of investigative interviewing by ACPO (now NPCC). She is a CREST affiliate and an invited member of the Convention Against Torture Initiative, UN Group of Friends.
Becky recently opened the Centre of Forensic Interviewing: Research and training in investigative interviewing for all types of investigator at all stages of their career, from the basics to advanced interview skills and master classes. The Centre also enables students to participate and examine interviews being conducted. The Centre will also host research projects and will provide an exciting opportunity to conduct new avenues of work in this field which will in turn help to inform the training provided to the practitioners. The Centre encompasses state of the art digital interview recording suites.
Expertise Key Areas
- Cognitive interview
- Investigative interviewing: PEACE: Tiers 1-5 (PIP Levels 1-2 specialist)
- Miscarriages of Justice
- Interviewing vulnerable groups (e.g. children, people with learning disability)
- Investigation processes
Research Themes And Impact
I have departmental responsibility for impact. My own research concerns four primary areas: (i) front-line communication and development of novel interviewing strategies, (ii) vulnerability, (iii) individual differences underpinning investigation and interviewing, and (iv) gathering full and faithful intelligence to ensure security.
- Front-line communication and the development of novel interviewing strategies: At the outset of any investigation it is pivotal to ensure that full and faithful information is attained, as this investigative phase fuels the investigation process as a whole, the full investigative interview, CPS decision making, and court processes; a domino effect. Communication at this phase needs to be impeccable.
- Vulnerability: Access to justice: A core theme of my work has been to create innovative interviewing systems tailor-made for those deemed vulnerable in society (e.g. the older adult, children, people with learning disabilities etc.). Such groups are often the target of offenders, as a soft option. Nevertheless, they are under-represented within the CJS. Access to justice is needed to be enabled.
- Individual differences underpinning investigation and interviewing: The research I have been involved in over the past 20 years has shown that it is difficult to transfer what we learn from the laboratory into the field. Thus, a stream of work concerns this transference process – how can we establish maximum impact?
- Gathering full and faithful intelligence to ensure security: Society needs to feel safe. A stream of work has embarked upon examining methods to help in the fight against security threats.
- 2016- with Dr Alison Wakefield, FHSS funded grant for research into ‘Establishing a University of Portsmouth Inter-Agency Crisis Management Centre of Excellence Through Research Collaboration on a Large Scale Simulation Exercise (Continuation of 2015-16 Faculty Research Project)’ (£11,000).
- 2016 – with Dr Andie Shawyer, a University of Portsmouth, FHSS funded grant for research into ‘Developing evidence-based communication protocols for fire and rescue services’ (£43,000). Advisory team Prof Fiona Gabbert (Goldsmiths) and Prof Lorraine Hope (UoP).
- 2015: CREST –ESRC in partnership with the intelligence agencies - Understanding, Countering and mitigating security threats grant (£5.4 million: 100% FREC – ESRC £4.35 million; The universities provided a further £2.2 million = £7.6 million in total) as a co-investigator (with Prof. Paul Taylor (PI), Prof Kim Knott, Dr. Paul Iganski, Prof. Awais Rachid, Lancaster Uni; Dr Cerwyn Moore, Monica Shirley Lloyd, Birmingham Uni; Debi Ashenden, Darren Lawrence, Cranfield Uni; Prof Aldet Vrij, Prof Lorraine Hope, UoP; Prof Adam Joinson, Dr Nicholas James Ryder, UWE).
- 2014 – to date: ESRC Knowledge Exchange Grant (£95,993.38) as co-investigator (with Dr. Gabbert; Goldsmiths; Dr LeRooy, Dundee University and Prof Hope and Mr. Ellis, UoP). Professionalising frontline policing with an evidence-based Structured Interview Protocol.
- 2010: ESRC follow-on grant (with Prof. Amina Memon, Royal Holloway, and Prof Dan Wright, Florida International University) – Best use of identification parades. (£69638.88)
- A University Rio Grande do Sul Port Alegrae, Brasil funded project (with Prof. Lillian Stein and Masters student Graca Ballardin). Beyond interviewing techniques: Interviewer individual characteristics in police investigative interviews with witnesses.
- French National Research Agency Grant (with Fanny Verkampt a post-doc at the University Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand) – The cognitive interview and children: a meta-analysis.
- A project with Dr. Nicky Miller of the National Policing Improvement Agency, Serious Crime Analysis Section: on a National assessment of adult sexual offence victim interviews: How effective are they?
- A Leverhulme funded project led by Dr. Robyn Holliday, (University of Leicester) with Prof. Ray Bull and Prof. Amina Memon entitled: Interviewing the older witness.
- A Queensland Police, Australia, funded project led by Prof. Martine Powell (Deakin University) and Prof Mark Kebbell (Griffith University) examining the measurement and prediction of police interviewing performance and dissemination of good practice through a distributive workplace learning system. (Specifically for interviewing sex offenders).
- Deakin University project led by Prof. Martine Powell, with Mia Gentle, examining: Interviewing children with LD – a story narrative approach.
I am the unit co-ordinator for the undergraduate campus based (CB) unit, Forensic Psychology (L6) and for the distance learning (DL) units: (i) Interviewing and Evidence (L6), (ii) Investigation, Psychology and Law (L5), and (iii) Professional Practice Project (L6). In addition I also teach across a range of undergraduate and post-graduate units including:
- Introduction to Psychology (L4 - CB)
- Researching Criminology 1 (L4 - CB)
- Key Issues in Criminal Justice (L5 - CB)
- Researching Criminology 2 (L5 - CB)
- Police, Law and Community (L5 - CB)
- Frameworks of Investigation (L5 - DL)
- Research Methods and Research Management (L7 MSc - CB & DL)
- Investigation and Psychology (L7 MSc - CB & DL)
- Tools and Techniques of Crime Science (L7 MSc - CB)
- Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist course (ACFS)
- Dissertation supervision (L6 - UG & L7- MSc)
- ProfDoc thesis supervision
- PhD supervision
- PhD by publication supervision