Lawrence has 33 years policing experience. He joined Merseyside Police in 1985 as a uniform Constable in the Tuebrook and Anfield areas of Liverpool.
In 1990 he was posted to the criminal investigation department (CID) dealing with area crime investigations.
In 1996 Lawrence was promoted to uniform Sgt and in 1999 he returned to the area CID supervising area crime. During this period he graduated from Portsmouth University with a BSc (Hons) in Policing and police studies.
Between 2001 and 2003 Lawrence was involved in a major undercover policing operation targeting serious and organised criminals in the North Liverpool area which resulted in the recovery of £1 million of property and the arrest of 60 offenders.
In 2003 he was posted to the force robbery squad eventually taking command of the unit managing target operations against offenders perpetrating cash in transit robbery offences using weapons including firearms.
In 2005 Lawrence was promoted back to Liverpool North as an area Detective Inspector and during this time he investigated numerous firearms discharges emanating from a gangland turf war that culminated in the tit for tat murders of a number of the gang leaders and the tragic death of 10 year old Rhys Jones.
Lawrence then spent several years in the force major incident team as a senior investigating officer dealing with several high profile murders, kidnaps and rapes.
His final operational posting with Merseyside police was as the Detective Chief Inspector professional standards department, with responsibility to assess and oversee all complaints against Merseyside Police and to act as senior investigating officer of complaint, misconduct and counter corruption investigations.
In 2014 Lawrence was asked to take a leading role with Her Majesties Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) on a national integrity and corruption inspection commissioned by Theresa May. This review was ordered in the wake of a series of high profile corruption findings and allegations against chief officers. The HMIC published its findings in early 2015.
From 2015 until 2017 Lawrence was a pivotal member of the HMIC national police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) inspections teams conducting PEEL inspections in most of the 43 police forces of England and Wales and the British transport Police. These published reports direct chief officers, providing assessments of performance and recommendations for improvement.
Lawrence joined Edge Hill University in September 2017 as a Senior Lecturer in policing and he is the level 5 policing lead on the BA (Hons) degree course, teaching modules in policing and police powers, criminal investigation and a criminal justice work experience programme.