CREST Roundup: October 2017

CREST roundup october 17

This is a roundup of what CREST has been up to in October. You can stay up-to-date by signing up to the CREST Newsletter, and have CREST news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.


CREST Security Review

This issue of CREST Security Review (CSR) highlights research on decision making, showing how it has been applied in a variety of real-world settings, from extreme environments to the emergency services.

Current research can help decision makers avoid misleading biases, being paralysed by the choices available, or failing to get information out to the people who need it.

As Julie Gore and her colleagues show us in this issue, there is a rich history of research on decision making. We feature some of the latest examples, including decision-making processes in cyber security, decision making under stress and terrorist decision making.


After Islamic State Series: Workshop Report II

17-014 coverCREST has led a series of ‘After Islamic State’ workshops to address the potential implications of the demise of Islamic States’ territory in Syria and Iraq. Convened by CREST Researcher, Dr Cerwyn Moore, these workshops brought together scholars and practitioners from around the globe. As a result of these in-depth discussions, we’ve created a series of reports which summarise each of the workshops.

This report is the second in the series, After Islamic State: Understanding the End of the Caliphate, and is available to read, download and share here:

Keep an eye out for new reports on this coming out soon.

Press and publications

Joel Busher (2017) Why Even Misleading Identity Claims Matter: The Evolution of the English Defence League. Political Studies, Online First,

Staff Changes

Simon Wells
Research to Practice Fellow

We’re delighted to welcome Simon Wells to CREST. Simon will be working alongside Emma Barrett helping to translate our research into practice.

Simon worked for 30 years with the Metropolitan Police (New Scotland Yard), the last 20 years of which he specialised in utilising Behavioural Science to the benefit of law enforcement.

His recent work has focused on translating research into practice and assessing its validity for users. These have included the High Value Detainee Interrogation group of the United States Government, the Critical Incident Response Group Crisis Negotiation Unit and Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI.

Simon also provides coaching and mentoring support to members of the UK Ministry of Defence, and UK Law Enforcement.

Opportunities and events

Ethics, Cybersecurity and Data Science Workshop

Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group, University of Warwick

Data science and cybersecurity raise many under-discussed ethical issues. Both operate with big data. Commercial big data is often collected from people who do not understand what they are giving away, and whose “informed consent” is often granted carelessly, without inspection of terms and conditions that are in any case very complex and unclear. Big data in security contexts – typically communications and location data—is often collected without direct consent and without the knowledge of data subjects.

It is possible but not obvious that the free use of search engines and apps is a fair return for commercially collected data; it is possible that bulk collection of communications data gives early warning of terrorist threats: still, the costs to privacy and democracy can be considerable.

Then there is the research ethics of big data, whether it is open source or not. Once again the conditions for informed consent are unclear. Institutional ethics review is often opaque.

Finally, there is insufficient acknowledgement of whose data are and ought to be protected by cybersecurity regimes. Is the security in question personal, commercial or state security?

Speakers include:Tom Sorell (Warwick), Monica Whitty (Warwick), Lizzie Coles-Kemp (RHUL), Xiao Ma (HAT), Paul Iganski (Lancaster), Marc Taylor (UKRIO), Carl Miller (DEMOS)

9.30am – 4.30pm, 24th November 2017
Friends House, Euston Road, London
For more information click here.

A Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security

Decadal surveys gather ideas and feedback from the research community in order to develop a plan that shapes future research initiatives.

An ad hoc committee of experts has been appointed to conduct a decadal survey in order to identify social and behavioural science opportunities relevant to national security. The committee is tasked with engaging scholars throughout the social sciences (e.g., anthropology, demography, economics, political science, statistics, and sociology) and behavioural sciences (e.g., cognitive science, neuroscience, and psychology) to generate ideas for research.

The committee would welcome you and your colleagues to submit ideas and add to, or comment on ideas submitted by others on IdeaBuzz.

Custard, Culverts and Cake: Book launch

CREST Researcher Professor Debi Ashenden and her co-author Anna-Marie O’Connor will be talking about their contribution to a book based around story lines from the popular BBC Radio soap opera ‘The Archers’.

Custard, Culverts and Cake brings together conference presentations and research by academics, loosely framed around themes and story lines from the radio broadcasts. Debi and Anna-Marie’s chapter draws on these plotlines to illustrate issues around online safety and security in everyday life.

Date: Wednesday 15 November 2017
Time: 5-6.30pm
For more information and how to attend this event click here.

Out and about

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: a critical review of its response to money laundering and terrorist financing

CREST Researcher Professor Nicholas Ryder was invited to present a paper ‘The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: a critical review of its response to money laundering and terrorist financing’ to ‘Aperio Intelligence’ in London on September 20th. The paper identified what Saudi Arabia has done to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing and then it critically considered the extent to which the Saudi Arabian government is committed to tackling financial crime.

Internship Awarded

Congratulations to CREST Associate James Lewis who has been successful with his application to the Research Council Policy Internships Scheme, for an internship with the Home Office.

Inside Government Conference

CREST Associate James Lewis met with both teachers and Prevent officials at ‘The Role of Education in Tackling Radicalisation 2017’ conference where several schools and Prevent teams presented their approaches.

Anti-Torture Conference

CREST Researcher Dr Gavin Oxburgh organised an international conference at Newcastle University that looked at the ineffectiveness of torture. More than 100 delegates met to hear top international speakers, including CREST Researcher Professor Lorraine Hope, discuss topics such as false confessions, information-led interviewing, and global perspectives on interrogations. More information here.

CREST on film

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CREST YouTube channel

Our YouTube channel showcases some of the research and work undertaken by CREST Researchers. Watch these videos and learn more about what other CREST researchers are doing. We encourage you to share these videos, which you can also view on our website here.

All of our videos are available under Creative Commons licence, which means you are free to share but please attribute by linking back to our youtube channel and website.

Watch Feni Knotogianni talk about her CREST Research on information elicitation in intelligence gathering contexts. She examines factors that enhance recall/reporting performance along with the use of innovative tools and techniques in security contexts.

Subscribe to the CREST channel!

DON’T FORGET to subscribe to our channel so you don’t have to manually search for new videos we upload.


After Islamic State Series: Workshop Report II
CSR, Issue 6: Decision Making
CREST Roundup: September 2017

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