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Des Thomas

Associate Lecturer

Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Sciences


Des is a former soldier who joined the police service in 1972, spending his entire 30 year career as a detective. While working in and around London as a drug squad officer, he witnessed the corruption scandals of the 1970s and 1980s, the 'Fall of Scotland Yard', and the various IRA bombing campaigns. His last operational deployment was as a UK-based senior investigating officer on the 9/11 Twin Towers bombing enquiry.

Referred to fondly by Sir John Hoddinott as "my great detective", Des was variously promoted to detective superintendent, deputy head of CID, head of child protection, forensic science services, the fraud and computer crime squads, CID training and CID strategy. In 2001, he was appointed head of performance review and evaluation with responsibility for ensuring the quality and validity of criminal investigations.

Des is an active proponent of police reform, supporting an all-party Think Tank on public sector reform, and the fair and equitable administration of justice.

In 2004 he became an associate lecturer in law and criminology at Solent University. Committed to pro bono work, Des reviews alleged miscarriages justice for alleged victims and for university innocence projects. He also reviewed the investigation into the 7/7 bombing, for the victims, and advised the charity Reprieve on police policy in relation to the investigation of allegations of the torture of terrorist suspects.

Des continues to campaign for a 'Royal School of Detectives' charged with independently ensuring the quality, validity and fairness of police and other investigations. Des is a keen supporter of Cardiff Law School Innocence Project and has provided expert advice on Cardiff's caseload of alleged victims of miscarriages of justice.

Des is a qualified electrician and he is also a competent bricklayer. He is currently building a house for his daughter.

Taught courses

Further information

Teaching experience

Des's teaching experience includes being head of CID training for Hampshire Police (1997-2002) and an associate lecturer from 2004-present.

Industry experience

Des's industry experience includes 30 years of investigating serious crime and 13 years' experience of independently reviewing investigations into serious crime.

Research interests

Des's research interests are the nature and validity of evidence, the psychology of failure and the quality, validity and fairness of police and other investigations.


Des was awarded honorary visiting professor at Cardiff University.