Alison | Counter Terrorism Policing

If you see something that doesn’t feel right report it at In an emergency call 999.


Director of Strategy

Can you tell us about your career/leadership journey?



I came to London as an 18 year old, from a relatively small town, Haverfordwest, in Wales.

I joined the Cabinet Office in Whitehall and worked there for about 15 years. It is the strategic heart of Government, a fascinating place to work.  

During my time there I was part of the COBRA (HMG’s Emergency Response) crisis machinery.

I was COBR manager, running the facility following the 2001 September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the ensuing conflict in Afghanistan.

I was awarded an MBE for the role I played, which I am very proud of.

I was part of the COBRA response following the attacks on the London underground in 2005, the Fuel Crisis, the government’s response to foot and mouth disease, many kidnappings in Iraq.

I then joined the Metropolitan Police just before the 2012 Olympic Games, where I led a team writing the Olympic Safety and Security strategy.

Then I found myself in Counter Terrorism Policing. I was heavily involved in the response to the multiple attacks during 2017 in the UK.

I served as Chief of Staff to a former Commissioner. This has given me a really important insight into the work of policing


What do you love about your job?

It is a fascinating place to work, a mixture of forward facing requirements, for example writing and delivering national strategies for Counter Terrorism Policing, whilst also being involved in CTP’s response to terrorist attacks or other incidents.

CTP is full of diverse and different people bringing different skills and perspectives. 

I and my teams work very closely with my police colleagues, who are managing risk every day on a daily basis, making some very difficult judgments.

We support them through ensuring they have the right capabilities, the right strategies and the right plans to allow them to be as effective as possible.

Crucially we work very closely with government colleagues evidencing the case for funding to continue the critical work CTP delivers.

We also work very closely with government and ministers to ensure that they understand the work that we do, and the critical work that our front line officers do as well.

It’s a dynamic and highly pressurised but very exciting place to work. Every day is different


Can you share how CTP has supported your career development?

I have many supportive colleagues, both male and female. There is always options for learning and development.

I would say that in the job itself, you are constantly learning. There is something new to be dealing with every day, something dynamic.

It is a very empowering and supportive environment – one of the best that I have worked in.

Plenty of very strong females around as well to help and support my leadership journey in particular.


Why did you join Counter Terrorism Policing?

I really wanted to help make a difference. To keep people safe from terrorism, particularly to work with operational colleagues, police officers and to understand the operational context and the challenges within which they work.

I had worked closely with police as part of the COBR machinery and was always impressed by their professionalism and dedication.


What advice would I give to women aspiring to join policing?

Don’t be afraid of joining the police. It is actually genuinely an amazing environment. Empowering. 

Working with police colleagues is dynamic and fast paced area to work in. You see the real pressure that they are under.

Be curious about your environment. Ask lots of questions. We have all sorts of women from various backgrounds come into policing, and they all play a very, very important role. 

I would very much encourage women to join the police. I think it’s a dynamic and fascinating environment where everyone has a part to play. 

There’s a completely diverse range of people that work with us.


What is your proudest moment working in Counter Terrorism Policing?

My proudest moment is the work I’m doing now to support women in national security (WINS), working with global FVEYS colleagues to try to encourage more women into our respective organisations. 

That’s really important. Women bring a great diversity of thought and different perspectives, so that’s something I’m proud of.


What actions have you taken to further your career within CTP?

I think you’ve got to take advantage of lots of leadership courses, having mentoring is important. Be curious about the work that you’re doing.

Be curious about the work that others are doing, ask questions and seek advice, but mainly find time to develop yourself. That’s really, important.


Why are you proud to be working in CTP?

I’m very proud to have got to this level, to be a Director.

I’m proud to empower the females that come into my team – indeed everyone that comes into my teams.

I believe in recruiting people that are better than me and will go on to do better things than me, because that makes a great team. 

It creates a great environment. I think empowerment and trust and confidence really allows women in particular to thrive. 

Moreover people feeling valued is so important.


Why would you recommend a career with CTP to others?

I think because you work with such a wide range of people, it’s not just police officers, every day is different. No day is the same.

You’re wrestling with different issues and crunching through these as a team, problem solving leads to strategic creative thinking.

The different skill sets that are needed to be part of the team and the dynamic, very fast paced nature of some of the work is highly rewarding.

You learn and grow every day. We work as part of a wider national security system, including government departments and intelligence agencies.

You have the chance to really expand your horizon and understand the work of other organisations.