Karen Pirrie


School of Justice, Security and Sustainability

As a police officer in Surrey and Sussex Police for a number of years, I performed a number of roles which included being a Critical Incident Commander, an Airwave Advisor, a Firearms and Pursuit Commander as well as being involved in community teams.

Whilst taking a career break from the police, I took the opportunity to return to university and complete a Masters degree. During this time, I began working in community safety roles for West Midlands and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. I also found time to volunteer for the British Red Cross.

After completing my Masters degree, I worked in the rail industry as the lead for my organisation in Emergency Planning and Crime and Security.

Academic qualifications

MSc Emergency Management, Coventry University


Karen is an expert in relation to issues surrounding security within the rail industry. She has advised the british government on security risks within the rail industry, has provided critical consultancy on regulations, and contributed to written industry guidance.

Broader areas of Karen's expertise include: 

  • Railway Security and Crime
  • Terrorism
  • Major Incident Response
  • Emergency Planning

Research interests

  • Serious and Organised Crime on Transport
  • Impact of crime on rail users
  • Response to terrorist attacks
  • Emergency Services and Joint Working/ Interoperability
  • Response to Major Incidents
  • Preparing for Major Incidents
  • Crisis Management
  • Protection of Critical National Infrastructure


  • Legislation relevant to policing
  • Major Incident Response and Multi Agency Working
  • Community Policing
  • Counter Terrorism
  • Roads Policing
Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

6th for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020