Neil Walsh

Neil is the United Nation’s chief of cybercrime and anti-money laundering. He loved his time at University, gaining friends and skills for life.

BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology (1997-2000), and MSc Criminal Investigation (2001-2003)

I lead the UN’s strategic response to cybercrime, money laundering and terrorist financing by delivering capacity building in over 70 countries.

Neil  Walsh

What was your time at Teesside University like?

I loved the whole experience. I lived in student accommodation in King Edwards’ Square in my first year, and then in private accommodation in the subsequent years. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of my joint honours degree – being able to study psychology and criminology in equal measure gave me the best of both worlds. I am still in touch with my course leader.

Would you recommend Teesside University?

Yes, I have no regrets about attending Teesside – I enjoyed it so much that it was a natural choice to return to study distance learning to complete my masters, which – when I studied it – was the only existing MSc in criminal investigation.

I made friends for life at University – who I am still in touch with and who still guide me. Middlesbrough has a very important place in my heart.

What did you gain from your course?

The knowledge I gained, particularly in forensic psychology and applied criminology has been very useful throughout my career.

I learnt skills that have stayed with me throughout the past 20-something years. I particularly enjoyed the hypothetico-deductive model of psychology and the forensic analysis of criminology. Delivering presentations to my peers was a formative experience and I gained great communication skills.

Which part of your learning had the greatest influence on you?

The module I studied on the psychology of sexual violence taught me a great deal. It set my interest in the field and is directly responsible for my passion to investigate and counter sexual violence, particularly child sexual exploitation.

What else did you get involved with during your time at University?

I worked part-time throughout my studies as a security supervisor at the Students’ Union. It was an amazing experience which prepared me for the world of work. The Students’ Union became my second home.

What have you done since graduating and what are you doing now?

I joined the United Nations in 2016 and I’m chief of the cybercrime and anti-money laundering department at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
With over 50 staff in six continents, I lead the UN’s strategic response to cybercrime, money laundering and terrorist financing by delivering capacity building in over 70 countries. This includes aiding member state diplomacy and advising UN senior leadership including the secretary general, general assembly and the security council on related matters.
Before joining UNODC, I served for more than 15 years within the UK National Crime Agency, countering international serious organised crime and terrorism. An experienced senior investigating officer, I led enquiries related to the 9/11 attacks in New York, weapons trafficking and child sexual abuse. I had two long-term postings to Europol HQ in The Hague and Malta.

My broad work experience includes senior-level policy-making and extensive law enforcement operations with partners around the world countering cybercrime, terrorism, money laundering, online child sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, human trafficking and weapons proliferation.

My focus now is on preventive diplomacy, countering the risks of state on state conflict and making the UN fit for purpose in the 21st-century landscape.