An Exploratory Study of Expertise and Inertia in Emergency Service Responses in a Counter-Terrorism Live Exercise


This project examines police and emergency service response during a counter-terrorism live exercise, with a specific focus on expertise, team decision making, and decision command-level inertia.

Data were gathered through interviews and observations during a live exercise carried out by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) in September 2016.

Research questions

  • What are the current strengths and weaknesses of responses to terrorist events (situation awareness, understanding of risk, communication with and between agencies)?
  • Which are the most effective methods for debriefing the general public and captured ‘terrorists’ during and immediately after an event to capture live intelligence?
  • What is the best way of communicating with casualties and ‘worried well’ during an incident?


Considerations for Training Development

How to improve decision-making, communication, leadership and interoperability in areas ranging from urban search and rescue and mass decontamination, to hostage negotiation and counter-terrorism....Read More »

Factors that Affect Command Decision-Making

The ability to make critical decisions under pressure is vital for reducing risk to public safety. This guide highlights the factors that affect decision-making...Read More »

Persuasion and Influence or Genuine Connection and Rapport

What kind of influence tactic is applicable? That depends on the context of the interaction. Emily and Laurence Alison explain. Perhaps the most frequent...Read More »

Communicating with casualties in emergencies

When your life is at risk, your body goes into ‘survival mode’ to stay alive. Or does it? Both survivor testimonies and research reveal...Read More »

Masterclass in eliciting intelligence information

CREST Researchers delivered a masterclass on intelligence interviewing to over fifty practitioners from European government, police and military organisations. The day covered new techniques...Read More »

Building good rapport in interviews

How to be friendly and interview people, using the ORBIT technique. Most of us find it easier to talk to and cooperate with people...Read More »

Principal Investigator

Professor Laurence Alison


University of Liverpool, UK