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Personal profile


Following the completion of a BSc (Hons) in Criminology at the University of Teeside in 1998, Lorna joined Sussex Police and was on uniform front line duties before being promoted to the rank of sergeant and joining the Specialist Search Unit in 2007.   The Specialist Search Unit carried out all search and recovery operations where additional personal protective equipment was required, working in hazardous and hard to reach places.  Lorna became qualified as a police search advisor and worked operationally and full time in the following areas:

  • Underwater search (police diving and technological methods)
  • Major crime searches in addition to general search
  • Confined space entry and search
  • Rope access and working at height
  • Swift water operations
  • Marine operations
  • Disaster victim recovery and identification

During her time on the unit Lorna began to see patterns in human body movement in water and she began a research project. This work is aimed at finding missing people who are in inland waterways more expeditiously.  After the disbandment of the Specialist Search Unit in 2015 Lorna was moved to another uniform policing role and she has been supported by the College of Policing and Sussex Police in continuing her research.  She began a Masters by Research at the University of Dundee relating to the Body Recovery From Water Study in 2016 and transferred to a PhD in 2018. She is studying at the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science on a part time basis alongside her policing duties.

Lorna continues her role as a police search advisor and plans and conducts search operations for major crime and vulnerable missing people, she works closely with search and rescue personnel and partner agencies and utilises the knowledge gained through her research and network of interested parties for the benefit of missing person and crime investigations.

External positions

Sergeant and Police Search Advisor

24 Aug 1998 → …


Gold Engage Watermark for Public Engagement

Nic Daeid, Niamh (Recipient), Michael Marra (Recipient), Doran, Heather (Recipient), Roy Mudie (Recipient), Adegoke, Oluwasesan (Recipient), Klu, Joyce (Recipient), Comrie, Emma (Recipient), Cole, Christian (Recipient), Menard, Herve (Recipient), Hackman, Lucina (Recipient), Gray, Alexander (Recipient), Barros, Magda (Recipient), Dennison-Wilkins, Lorna (Recipient), Dzetkulicová, Veronika (Recipient), Galais, Virginie (Recipient), Houston, Andrew (Recipient), Inman, Keith (Recipient), Kuffel, Aga (Recipient), Laisney, Oceane (Recipient), Sobreira, Catarina (Recipient), Yu, Sean (Recipient), Zuppello, Micol (Recipient), Menzies, Simon-Lewis (Recipient), Daly, Laura (Recipient), Marj Davis (Recipient), Paul McFadyen (Recipient) & Loic De Carvalho (Recipient), 4 Dec 2019

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Activities

    Policing, Search and Research.

    Lorna Dennison-Wilkins (Speaker)

    2 Jan 2020

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    The Body Recovery From Water Study. Using Data in the Search Planning Process

    Lorna Dennison-Wilkins (Presenter)

    28 Mar 2019

    Activity: Other activity typesPublic engagement and outreach - public lecture/debate/seminar