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Dr Zoe Walkington

Profile summary

Professional biography


I have worked as a full time psychology lecturer since 2003, and I started working with the Open University as an Associate Lecturer in 2004. In 2013 I obtained my PhD in Forensic Psychology at the University of Liverpool, and I obtained a position working full time for the Open University as a Staff Tutor in late 2014. My role involved working with psychology and counselling Associate Lecturers in the North West, as well as contributing to the Department of Psychology on a variety of modules. In January 2016 I was seconded to the central psychology department where I worked on the production of postgraduate psychology modules in the area of criminal and investigative psychology. In January 2018 I obtained a role as deputy director of learning in the Centre for Policing Research and Learning, where I worked on matters associated with psychology that are relevant to policing. In August 2020 I moved back into a role in the school of Psychology and Counselling where I am the academic lead for short courses. 

Research interests

I am currently working on the Citizen Forensics project grant which looks at how Citizens can collaborate with police and other services through online tools. I have recently worked on two research grants for the Police Knowledge Fund (2015 - 2017). One involved developing top up training for counter terrorism interviewers, and one involved the 'small story' analysis of police owned facebook sites in order to understand how the police identity is shaped on such sites.

I am interested in investigative interviewing and there are two main strands to this, which comprise both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. 1. I am interested in how suspects and police officers can achieve complicity and resistance in interview settings through the use of narrative strategies when talking (or refusing to talk!) about criminal incidents. 2. I am interested in witness interpretations of criminal incidents. Specifically how potential witnesses may be influenced by “interviewee bias” from a variety of potential sources, and the extent to which such bias might be mitigated by anticipatory thinking strategies. 

My other main research interest is in stories or narratives, and there are two main strands to this research. First I am interested in the impacts that reading can have on individuals psychologically (for example I have carried out research in how reading initiatives can help with the development of empathy). Second I am interested in how story can be used to 'create' or inform individuals idendity. As an example of this I have carried out research on how police identity is created and shaped on Facebook sites. 


Teaching interests

My teaching interests are in both psychology and literature, and in the area of forensic and investigative psychology.

Impact and engagement

In 2019 I was the academic advisor to the BBC2 (Wall to Wall) production "Catching Britains Killers: the crimes that changed us." This three part documentary looked at key cases that have changed the face of the British Criminal Justics System

In 2017 I was academic advisor on the BBC2 (Minnow) production "The Detectives: Murder on the streets". This was a four part documentary following Detectives in the GMP murder investigation team.

I am regularly involved in consultancy work training police detectives and other officers.  In this work I regularly collaborate with Professor Laurence Alison of Liverpool University. I have held over 50 consultancies. 

I have produced a video for BBC ideas which can be viewed here.


External collaborations

I regularly collaborate in knowledge transfer activities (in the area of investigative interviewing)  with colleagues from Liverpool University (Professor Laurence Alison). I have also collaborated in research publications with colleagues from Sheffield Hallam University. 


Building trust in digital policing: a scoping review of community policing apps (2021)
Elphick, Camilla; Philpot, Richard; Zhang, Min; Stuart, Avelie; Walkington, Zoe; Frumkin, Lara; Pike, Graham; Gardner, Kelly; Lacey, Mark; Levine, Mark; Price, Blaine; Bandara, Arosha and Nuseibeh, Bashar
Police Practice and Research ((Early Access))

From witness to web sleuth: Does citizen enquiry using social media affect formal eyewitness identification procedures? (2021)
Havard, C.; Strathie, A.; Pike, G.; Walkington, Z.; Ness, H. and Harrison, V.
Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

The impact of narratives and transportation on empathic responding (2020-06)
Walkington, Zoe; Ashton Wigman, Stefanie and Bowles, David
Poetics, 80, Article 101425 (pp. 1-8)

Entitlement to Tell on Police Facebook Sites (2019-05-01)
Walkington, Zoe; Pike, Graham; Strathie, Ailsa; Havard, Catriona; Harrison, Virginia and Ness, Hayley
Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 22(5) (pp. 355-357)

Are you talking to me? How identity is constructed on police-owned Facebook sites (2018-10)
Walkington, Zoe; Pike, Graham; Strathie, Ailsa; Havard, Catriona; Ness, Hayley and Harrison, Virginia
Narrative Inquiry, 28(2) (pp. 280-300)

Working therapeutically in forensic settings (2017-06-02)
Vossler, Andreas; Havard, Catriona; Barker, Meg-John; Pike, Graham; Raabe, Bianca and Walkington, Zoe
In: Vossler, Andreas; Havard, Catriona; Pike, Graham; Barker, Meg-John and Raabe, Bianca eds. Mad or Bad? A Critical Approach to Counselling and Forensic Psychology (pp. 9-22)
ISBN : 978-1-4739-6351-1 | Publisher : Sage

Towards Citizen Forensics: Improving Citizen-Police Collaboration (2020)
Bandara, Arosha; Zhang, Min; Price, Blaine; Pike, Graham; Elphick, Camilla; Walkington, Zoe; Frumkin, Lara; Philpot, Richard; Levine, Mark; Stuart, Avelie and Nuseibeh, Bashar
In : Workshop on Crime and/or Punishment: Joining the Dots between Crime, Legality and HCI, Extended Abstracts of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (25-30 Apr 2020, Honolulu, HI, USA)

Designing Technologies for Community Policing (2020)
Zhang, Min; Bandara, Arosha; Price, Blaine; Pike, Graham; Walkington, Zoe; Elphick, Camilla; Frumkin, Lara; Philpot, Richard; Levine, Mark; Stuart, Avelie and Nuseibeh, Bashar
In : Extended Abstracts of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Late Breaking Work) (25-30 Apr 2020, Honolulu, HI, USA) (pp. 1-9)

The use of Facebook in creating police identity (2018-03-01)
Walkington, Zoe; Pike, Graham; Strathie, Ailsa; Havard, Catriona; Ness, Hayley and Harrison, Virginia
In : 2018 Conference of the Society of Evidence Based Policing (1-2 Mar 2018)