What defines the Ground truth team is an unwavering commitment to focus, study, and support real-world problems as they are experienced by those who face them in the real world.


Through our collaborations with practitioners, and unique access to training and data, we are able to conduct high quality rigorous research that has made a difference to practitioners ‘at the coal face’ and then transfer this knowledge into training.



Professor Alison focuses on high profile critical and major incidents (from disaster management to terrorism). Prof Alison has over 28 years of experience working on applied projects for Law enforcement and the security services.


He currently provides training to FBI/CIA/DoD, The UKs National CT interviewing cadre and the British Army in the ORBIT framework for rapport-based interrogation methods.

He was key psychological advisor on over 450 critical and major incidents debriefs including the 7/7 bombings, the Sharm El Sheik attacks, the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the preparations for the London Olympics.


He was key advisor and research on a child sexual exploitation project that resulted in the largest operation in UK police history and which, across a 6-month period, led to the arrest of over 1,200 offenders, the safeguarding of over 1,000 children and a cost saving to UK government of £15million. He has over 200 published articles, books, edited books and government and industry reports. 

Prof. Alison was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list 2020 for services to critical incident handling and to the NHS during COVID-19.


Emily Alison has worked as a behavioural consultant psychologist for the last 20 years, providing treatment in both the criminal justice sector and in the community. 


She specialises in the assessment and treatment of violence and has worked with over 850 domestic violence perpetrators as well as designed therapeutic interventions for Domestic Abuse, Child to Parent Violence, Healthy Relationships for Children and Young People, Sexually Harmful Behaviour and Sexual Risk Taking in Adolescents, and Gang and Weapon linked offending. 


For the last 10 years she has been involved in the development of the Preventing Violent Extremism Tool for profiling potential extremism and the ORBIT framework for Advanced High Value Detainee Interviewing.  As part of this research, she has observed over 500 hours of UK police interviews with terrorists, covering a range of ideologies including Paramilitary, Al Qaeda, Right-wing, and ISIS.


Emily has also provided training to FBI/CIA/DoD, The UKs National CT interviewing cadre and the British Army in the ORBIT framework for rapport-based interrogation methods.


Neil Shortland (PhD) is the Director for the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies (CTSS) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.


Neil has worked in a series of applied roles in both the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense and Police. For his experimental research on military and police decision-making he was the first ever international recipient of the American Psychological Associations’ (APA) Research Award.


Neil's work on decision-making and security has been funded by the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Department of Defense Minerva Initiative, and the National Institute of Justice for his work on countering-violent extremism. He was also recently awarded the National Science Foundation's CAREER award. CAREER funding is the most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty. 


Frances Surmon-Böhr (PhD) is a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Liverpool. Her research focuses on the role of reactance and rapport within high-value detainee interrogations. She works on various projects funded by DSTL and the HIG. As part of this work, she has observed and coded large numbers of UK police interviews with terrorists, covering a range of ideologies including Al Qaeda, Right-wing, and ISIS.

She has provided training to FBI/CIA/DoD, The UKs National CT interviewing cadre, The Joint Forces Intelligence Group and The International Committee for the Red Cross in the ORBIT communication framework. Frances has presented at Humanitarian, Human Rights and Security Conferences across Europe. She has also provided a training evaluation for the UNHCR Security Management and Leadership Program. 


Before starting her PhD, Frances worked in secure Psychiatric settings. 

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Michael Humann (PhD) designs, develops and delivers training using immersive simulated learning environments, aimed at improving critical incident decision making and developing expertise in policing and emergency response. He has developed various evaluation frameworks for a number of large-scale exercises to capture performance. 

He is the educational director on the Pan-European Football Policing Training Project (PE-FPTP), designing and delivering training to police forces and partners across Europe within the context of international football matches and other sports events since 2012. As part of this, he is also currently involved in preparations for the EURO 2020 as part of the EPIC (Event Policing & Internal Cooperation) Project



GT partners with leading practitioners in the fields of policing, defense, Government and critical incident management to ensure our research, products and training remain true to the operating realities.


Dan is a highly experienced and operationally competent Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Officer. His last role was as Chief Officer/Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade having previously served for 7 years as the Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. Dan has extensive operational leadership experience around critical incident decision making having been the Fire and Rescue Service Incident Commander at a number of major incidents.

Dan was the Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Operations Coordination Committee, the strategic lead officer for National Resilience and capability lead officer for Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and the UK International Search and Rescue Team (UK ISAR).

Dan was awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal (QFSM) in the Queens New Year’s Honours List 2015 for service to the Fire and Rescue Service.

Prior to joining the FRS Dan was a soldier in the Third Battalion, The Parachute Regiment from which he was discharged with an Exemplary Service Record.


Jonathan is a former detective with 30 years' policing experience and is a specialist suspect interviewer and strategic interview advisor.  He investigated a wide range of serious and organised crime including vice, robbery, burglary, sexual  and violent offences.  From 2006, he managed a team of detectives within the UK's National Counter Terrorism Network,  and was involved in the investigation and interviewing of suspects and witnesses in some of the most severe terrorist plots to affect the UK, including the murders of MP Jo Cox, Fusileer Lee Rigby, and the Manchester Arena bombing.  

In 2010, Jonathan led the redesign and development of the UK's National Advanced Counter-Terrorist Interviewing Course (Operation Alcyone) in partnership with the University of Liverpool. This brought it in line with cutting edge world renowned research.  

Jonathan holds a unique and unprecedented collaborative relationship with academic partners, and has devised real-time evidence based-solutions to the interviewing challenges  faced on the front line.  Attendance on Alcyone is sought by US colleagues from the FBI, CIA and the Department of Defence. Jonathan has also assisted with the delivery of the US Federal Government's High Value Interrogation Group (HIG) Core Course in Washington DC.  The training is based on a wealth of experience dealing with difficult, challenging suspects and use of techniques supported by the most current academic research on ethical effective interviewing, which is encompassed in the ORBIT model. 

He has developed, designed and delivered interview training courses both nationally and internationally, including basic PEACE, Ports Officers Enhanced Interview Skills, Specialist Suspect, and Interview Advisor.

Jonathan is currently working in partnership with the United Nations designing interview training to assist the Afghan National Police to become more ethical and human rights compliant.


Characters Drama Based Learning Ltd is a well established role play/skills practice company with 26 years of experience.


Our clients include the Police Service (UK), National Crime Agency, NHS, The Priory, HM Prison Service, International Criminal Court (The Hague), Rail Accident Investigation Branch, DWP, Trading Standards, Border Force, Marine Management Organisation, Social Care (UK). These clients all use investigative interviewing techniques which is Characters' USP.


Our cornerstone is a realistic and convincing portrayal of people and their behaviours that moves the learning experience beyond a training room exercise to a real-as-life encounter.


We have the knowledge and ability to play vulnerable/intimidated witnesses & suspects on T2, T3 & T5 for the Police & NCA including Counter Terrorism & People Trafficking.


Characters’ professional role actors are carefully selected through an audition & interview process led by company director, Catherine Hamilton.


She looks for emotionally intelligent professional actors who understand the difference between a role exercise and an acting performance. They must be brave, flexible and organised.They must also have the ability to portray every high emotion in an authentic way whilst retaining inner control and professional boundaries.


During debrief sessions, we offer our feedback from a ‘how we, as the character, were made to feel’ perspective rather than telling your professionals how to do their job. We fully recognise that that is not our place.


For more info including two interviews with Catherine Hamilton & Eddie Mair (Radio 4), please visit the website -