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Nicholas Alston CBE

Nicholas stands outside with trees and grass behind him. He is wearing a suit and tie and smiles.

Areas of Interest

Armed Forces and Emergency Services, Education, Law

Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Laws


"Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Nicholas Alston CBE DL for the award of Honorary Doctor of Laws.

Nick Alston joined ARU in June 2016 as Chair of The Policing Institute for the Eastern Region*, or PIER, which is committed to the improvement of policing through partnership in applied research.

His role here at ARU has been to help establish PIER's reputation with criminal justice agencies both in the region and nationally, as an academic partner who's high quality research has real impact on policy and practice, and Nick’s knowledge, insight and experience have been instrumental in cementing PIER’s success.

Nick has dedicated his working life to defence, security, and policing. After attending school in Chelmsford and then graduating from Cambridge University, Nick was commissioned into the Royal Navy where he joined the staff of the Royal Naval Engineering College as a lecturer in Materials Science.

He then worked for a further 29 years in the UK’s defence arena, before joining Goldman Sachs where he became a Managing Director and co-head of its worldwide corporate security office.

His passion for effective partnership working between public sector agencies and the voluntary and third sectors has helped shape policing in the East of England, and through his role as non-executive director at the National Crime Agency, Nick has helped to steer the NCA through austerity and the ever-changing dimensions of national and international crime.

Nick has been an influential commentator on policing and crime issues for local, regional, and national radio and television, as well as a keynote speaker at conferences and events. Most recently, Nick chaired the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements Serious Case Reviews of the London Bridge and Streatham terror attacks.

In 2012, Nick was elected as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, where he was responsible for the Police and Crime Plan and for police funding, as well as holding the Chief Constable to account for effective and efficient policing.

Throughout this period he also served as a non-executive director and latterly chair of the Board of the Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust, again demonstrating a commitment to the improvement of public services, the encouragement of research, and building a closer relationship between the hospital and ARU.

In the 1997 New Year’s Honours list, Nick was recognised with a CBE for his important work, and in 2017 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Essex. More recently, Nick has joined our Board of Governors, contributing to the strategic leadership of ARU at the highest level.

The Policing Institute for the Eastern Region became the International Policing and Public Protection Research Institute in May 2024.

Nick is an inspirational role model for all our students, particularly those studying in the fields of policing, law and criminology, and we hope that this honorary award will provide further recognition of his outstanding work in our region.

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Nicholas Alston CBE DL for the award of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa."