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Last updated 18th April 2024


Dr. John Synnott is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Psychology and the Director of the National Police Doctoral College. He is also a Chartered Psychologist (British Psychological Society), Chartered Scientist (BPS), an Associate Fellow of the British Psychology Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Deputy Director of the MSc in Investigative Psychology and the Deputy Director of the International Academy for Investigative Psychology. John has presented research on the Psychology of Crime and Offender Decision Making at conferences around the world. He recently presented a keynote talk in Baghdad, Iraq on the application of Investigative Psychology. Dr Synnott also recently delivered several keynote presentations to the Royal Thai Police in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai Thailand.

Dr Synnott has provided consultation on the development of a Risk Assessment Tool for Domestic Violence for police forces across the UK and overseas. He recently published a special issue as guest editor on the topic of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse for the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling. John has extensive experience in the evaluation of intervention programs recently he has completed an evaluation of a prison training program at Shelton Abbey Prison in Ireland. He also completed a Mental Wellbeing project at the same facility that was presented at the British Psychology Societies Division of Forensic Psychology conference in Bristol.

Dr Synnott is the Director of the newly established National Police Doctoral College at the University, which supports senior police officers to complete Doctoral level research projects. This program builds on an existing pilot that he started in October 2022 involving candidates that are drawn from police forces in the Northwest of England, consisting of the highest operational ranks in UK policing. John directly supervises all of these projects as main supervisor which include studies on Child Criminal Exploitation, Gender and Race in Policing, the Role of Interventions in Combating Exploitation and Women’s role in Serious and Organised Crime. In addition to this he also directs a number of projects and supervises a number of other PhDs, on but not limited to the following topics: Polygraph in Police Investigations, Risk Taking Behaviour, Offending and Mental Health, Sexual Assault Assessments, Sexual Offending in Southeast Asia, Human Trafficking in the Middle East, Bullying, Rape Myths, Stalking and Domestic Violence and Abuse in the GCC.

Dr Synnott has supervised over 200 master’s research projects in the area of Psychology both nationally via the MSc in Investigative Psychology but also internationally through the MSc in Security Science based in the Middle East. Dr Synnott is also developing important research in the areas of Trafficking, Domestic/ Sexual Violence, Youth Violence, Offender Profiling, Social Media, Public Order, Terrorism and Radicalisation in the region. Dr Synnott has published extensively over the past 10 years and has over 35 peer research papers in high-ranking academic journals.

John is currently completing a number of funded projects. One example funded project examining the nature of Cuckooing offences in the UK. This is in addition to a recently completed pieces of work with colleagues such as a funded rapid evidence assessment for the Home Offices, Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and an evaluation of a Domestic Violence Judicial Protocol with Thames Valley Police. John has extensive Media experience having appeared on radio (Newstalk, Capital FM) and television (BBC) and his work has featured in media both nationally and internationally (Washington Post & CNN) as well has being featured in the prestigious journal of Nature. He recently (Sept 2024) contributed to the BBC Documentary “Why do you hate me” in which he provided insights into online abuse and the psychological behaviour of those who engage in this activity. Finally, John is the Editor for the newly commissioned Forensic Psychology in the Middle East Series which will be published in 2025.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Investigative and Forensic Psychology
  • Online Safety
  • Prisoners
  • Online Trolling
  • Offender's Crime Narratives
  • Forensic and Criminal Psychology
  • Investigative Psychology
  • Geographic profiling
  • Offender profiling
  • Mental Maps
  • Amnesia and crime
  • Deception (Polygraph)
  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Tiger kidnap
  • Media and crime
  • Sports Psychology


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