Linguistics at Newcastle

Staff Profile

Professor Gavin Oxburgh

Professor of Applied Forensic Psychology



Professor Gavin Oxburgh is a Consultant Forensic Psychologist (HCPC Registered), a Chartered Psychologist and Scientist, a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS). He is the Lead Forensic Psychologist at Newcastle University and is also a registered Expert Witness with the BPS providing advice in legal cases in the UK and overseas. Gavin is a 22 year veteran of Her Majesty's Royal Air Force Police where he was a senior detective specialising in child protection and sexual offences. He is also a Visiting Professor of Psychology at the Norwegian Police University College, Oslo, and the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Kings College London. 

Professional Qualifications

PhD Forensic Psychology - University of Portsmouth, UK.  Thesis entitled, Developing a more effective framework for the investigative interviewing of suspected sex offenders.

MSc Forensic Psychology - University of Portsmouth, UK.  Thesis entitled, Police officers use of emotional language during child sexual abuse investigations (see Oxburgh, Williamson & Ost, 2006, in Publications for further details).

BSc (Hons) Psychology - The Open University, UK.

PgCLTHE - Teesside University, UK 

International Collaboration and Consultancy

Gavin works in close collaboration with many police forces and law enforcement agencies around the world, providing consultancy and training on a wide variety of topics relating to investigative and legal psychology. He works in close collaboration with the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, and provides specialist advice and training to their Investigation Division. He is active in International Human Rights and has previously invited by the United Nations to assist in the drafting of a new thematic report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In January 2018, he was invited to sit on an International Steering Committee co-ordinated by the Association on the Prevention of Torture (APT) regarding universal standards for non-coercive interviewing and procedural safeguards.

In 2007, he co-founded the International Investigative Interviewing Research (iIIRG) an organisation he Chaired until Jul 19. He has trained investigators from many international organisations including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Investigation Services, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the the Finni9sh and Swedish Competition Authorities in specialist interview techniques. He has previously provided specialist training to members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African Prosecution Services on investigative interviewing  in cases of child sexual abuse and on-line child exploitation. He was a specialist advisor to the Credibility Assessment Research Summit (CARS), Washington DC, on Educing Information from suspects, a US Government research group sponsored by the Defence Academy for Credibility Assessment (DACA).

Membership of Professional Bodies

Gavin is a member of the following professional bodies:

  • The UK Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC);
  • The British Psychological Society (BPS);
  • Founding Co-director and Chair (Apr 07 - Jul 19) of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group;
  • Deputy Chair of the BPS Division of Forensic Psychology (DFP) Training Committee; 
  • The American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS); 
  • The European Association of Psychology & Law (EAPL); 
  • The UK Higher Education Academy (HEA);
  • The UK Science Council (UKSC). 



Gavin is the founder of the Newcastle Forensic Psychology Research Group, and he developed a bespoke Forensic Interview Laboratory for use by staff and students conducting research in investigative interviewing. He has attracted over £2.8m in research grants to date from the ESRC/EPSRC, The British Academy, Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST), College of Policing, N8 Policing Research Partnership, and Newcastle University. His research draws upon, and contributes to, the broad area of legal psychology including: International human rights, the prevention of torture, ethical and non-coercive investigative interviewing; false and recovered memories, and; (cyber) crime in the cloud. He has organised numerous national and international conferences including the iIIRG Annual Conferences and Masterclasses, and two on the topic of torture: (i) The immorality and ineffectiveness of physical and psychological torture, Discovery Museum, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (Oct 17) and; (ii)  Physical and psychological torture: Multi-disciplinary approaches to a global problem, Newcastle University London Campus (Jun 19). Also in Jun 19, he co-hosted (together with the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute [IBAHRI]) a roundtable discussion at the UK's House of Lords on the draft universal protocol on non-coercive interviewing (together with legal and procedural safeguards). 

Gavin has published widely in the area of legal and forensic psychology, policing, and communication (see publications tab), and regularly reviews research grants, empirical research papers and books for various research councils, major publishers and internationally renowned journals. He is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, and an Editorial Advisory Board member of the Torture Journal. In 2017, he was awarded Associate Investigator status of the Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR) which is EPSRC and GCHQ managed.

PhD and post-doctoral supervision

Gavin has externally examined numerous national and international PhD theses and has previously supervised PhD programmes through to completion. He is currently supervising:

  • Rachael Giles-Haugh - Intimate partner violence amongst gay men and the criminal justice system.

  • Gary Pankhurst - Improving techniques to facilitate information retrieval during investigative interviews of suspected sex offenders.

If you are interested in conducting a PhD under Gavin's supervision, please contact him at

He is also supervising pos-doctoral research fellow working on a joint EPSRC and ESRC project (CRITiCaL: Combatting Criminals in the Cloud) which is part of the Northern Cloud Crime Centre.  

Recent Research Income (total successful funding received to date = £2,809,753.78).

December 2018 - Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant: Walsh, D., Oxburgh, G.E., Ellis, T., Brooks, G., Kyo, A., Rechdan, J., Satchell., L., & Naka, M. (2018). Towards the development of a framework for the interviewing of vulnerable people by the police in Japan (total grant received = £47,146).

April 2017Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner: Oxburgh, G.E. (2017). The evaluation of Sex Worker project in Northumbria (total grant received = £20,000).

March 2017 - Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST): Gabbert, F., Wright, G., Hope, L., &  Oxburgh, G.E. (2017). Quantifying the effectiveness of an evidence-based rapport-building training programme for use in information-gathering contexts (total grant received = £119,466.38).

February 2017Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner: Oxburgh, G.E., Gabbert, G., & Wright, G. (2017). The evaluation of polygraph and eye detect testing of convicted sexual offenders (total grant received = £27,000).

January 2017 – British Academy: Hope, L., Gabbert, F., Oxburgh, G.E., Ferenczi , N., & Umurerwa, O. (2016). Supporting the investigation of genocide, war crime and crimes against humanity: Towards evidence-driven policy for building trust and rapport in cross-cultural interviewing contexts (total grant received = £43,655).

March 2016 – College of Policing, UK: Gabbert, F., Hope, L., Oxburgh, G. E., La Rooy, D., Oxburgh, L. D., Wheeler, R., McGregor, A. (2016). The development of a systematic map - What works in investigative interviewing? (SO16774) (total grant received = £7,553.28);

June 2015 – Newcastle University Innovation Fund: St Clair-Thompson, H., Rosenkranz, P., Tzemou, E., Clapperton, T., Fielden, A., Thorpe, S., Oxburgh, G. E. (2015). How to facilitate reading for undergraduate psychology students (total grant received = £1,520).

June 2015 – Patent Support Fund, Newcastle University: Oxburgh, G. E., Oxburgh, L. D., & Gabbert, F. (2015). Development of ‘Forensic Interview Trace’ software (total grant received = £6,500).

March 2015 – Newcastle University PhD Studentship (commencing September 2015): Improving techniques to facilitate information retrieval during investigative interviews of suspected sex offenders (total award = £60,000).

February 2015 – Joint Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant: Gross, T., Oxburgh, G. E., Bacardit, J., Yan, J., Ploetz, T., van Moorsel, A., & Yan, J. (2014). CRITiCaL – Combatting cRiminals In The Cloud (total grant received = £2,503,635.35 (£1,178,126.61 excluding matched funding from HEIs & other partners).

February 2015 - N8 Policing Research Partnership - HEFCE Catalyst Fund. Innovation and the application of knowledge for more effective policing. Clark, J., & Oxburgh, G. E. (total grant = £193,118.43). Part of a grant application to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for £2,999,822 (overall grant total = circa. £7,100,000 which includes matched funding from N8 HEIs and policing partners).

Media and Public Engagement Activities (related to research)

Gavin has taken part in public engagement activities and provided interviews about his research and International collaboration: 

  • The Psychology of a Murder Investigation. Assisted with organisation, development and appearance in a public engagement initiative with Goldsmiths, University of London, 29th of January 2016;
  • Interview with BBC Radio 4 on the German Luftwaffe’s WWII ‘master interrogator’ Hanns Scharff and the effectiveness of empathy during contemporary police interviews and interrogations.  Interrogation without pliers.  Programme broadcast on 15th October 2012;
  • Interview with NBC Business, USA, on the effectiveness of interview techniques in the UK and USA.  10th February 2012, Middlesbrough, UK;
  • Interview with BBC Radio Tees on child sexual abuse and Internet grooming of children.  31st January 2012, Middlesbrough, UK.


Teaching Responsibilities 


  • Gavin supervises a limited number of undergraduate students wishing to complete their final dissertation within his area of expertise. He also inputs onto the Stage 3 Foundations in Forensic Psychology (PSY3030) elective module.


Together with colleagues, Gavin led the development of a new Post-graduate Diploma in Forensic Psychology Practice (HCPC approved). He also has the following responsibilities for PG teaching

Gavin ia also the Chair of the MSc Board of Studies.

Office Hours

Please check e-portfolio or e-mail Gavin at to make an appointment.