Examining The Psychological Offender Profiling Investigation Criminology Essay

Wrongdoer Profiling is an fact-finding tool that is used by psychologists to assist them work out precisely why a peculiar offense has been committed and why a felon is acting in a certain manner. This tool is used to research the types of offenses people are perpetrating and how an wrongdoer picks his or her victim. This method of research besides helps the Criminal Justice System at a important grade. It enables them to do a determination based upon the research and facts, which makes the overall finding of fact more ethical.

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The purpose of Offender Profiling is to travel beyond the facts and develop a hypothesis about the wrongdoer.

Holmes & A ; Holmes ( 1996 ) suggests three aims to run into this purpose. These are to: 1 ) to supply the constabulary with basic information about the certain personality properties of the wrongdoer such as age, household, ethnicity, employment and matrimonial position, 2 ) to propose any properties the wrongdoer may hold that would take him to perpetrating this offense and 3 ) to supply questioning schemes and suggestions the constabulary may utilize when oppugning a suspect. The British attack on Offender Profiling is really different to the American attack. The British attack does non categorize offenses and seek to suit them into theories but takes a more scientific attack to analyzing every possible information of a offense and utilizing these to develop the profile, whereas the American attack ( FBI ) to developing an wrongdoer profile is different to this. Their attack has been developed from an initial sample of interviews with 36 convicted consecutive sexual liquidators, together with elaborate information from offense scenes i.e. the location and timing of the offenses, medical scrutiny studies, any offenses that have already been committed in the vicinity, the victims whereabouts and the sum of forensic consciousness shown by the wrongdoer.[ 1 ]This is done in order to assist them set up a bigger image of the offense and assist them place the psychological science behind it.

Offender Profiling was foremost used in the Second World War to see if there were any failings that can be exploited and enhanced for the hereafter. For illustration, Langer conducted a profiling on Hitler and concluded that if he had lost the Second World War he would perpetrate self-destruction. He was right. After the licking in 1945, Adolf Hitler committed self-destruction and passed off.

Psychiatrists believe that the basic premise of Offender Profiling is that the wrongdoers have a certain fingerprint, in other words, certain behavior at the offense scene which is a contemplation of their personality and features. For illustration, a felon binding up the victim – the psychological fingerprint behind this would be that the wrongdoer wants control and laterality over the wrongdoer in order to get the better of them. Another illustration can be shown from a colza instance. When an wrongdoer has committed colza they would rinse the victim. The psychological fingerprint behind this would be that the condemnable either feels some kind of compunction so he/she wants cleanse or that they want the instance to be so invisible that they even remove the victims ‘ pubic hair.

How Offender Profiling influenced…


The courtroom is really of import in the British Criminal Justice System. There are two types of profiling techniques that are used in tests. The first is what we call deductive Offender Profiling, which concerns itself with the peculiar behavioral grounds of a instance. Second is inductive profiling which assumes that when a condemnable commits a offense, he or she will hold a similar background and motivation to others who have committed a similar offense. There are related jobs of the usage of Offender Profiling in the courtroom. The first is unawareness about the nature of Offender Profiling and physical grounds. The 2nd is when the profilers are “ excessively zeal ” . When these two jobs cross in a individual instance, it may be that an wrongdoer profiler gives sentiments with strong assurance about fortunes and behaviors that are assumed and non established.[ 2 ]


Offender Profiling can assist the CJS and the constabulary in footings of proposing effectual ways of interviewing, related to specific condemnable types. Not all will respond to oppugning in the same mode. An effectual manner of oppugning for one individual may be uneffective for person else. This is because non all liquidators commit slaying for the same ground. This means depending on their grounds for perpetrating a offense, they would necessitate different schemes of oppugning. An illustration can be shown by the slaying of a immature miss and her fellow in which the stepfather was the chief suspect but there was no forensic grounds to convict him. When he was questioned in the usual manner, he denied any engagement. The profiler suggested that as he was a adult male who had a great demand for control, it would be good to inquire for his aid in work outing the offense. Feigning to be making this, the suspect was given tonss of exposure of the offense scene and thought he was in control of the probe, became so occupied in speaking about the instance that he revealed more and more his cognition with the offense until he finally gave up and confessed.[ 3 ]


Wrongdoer Profiling surely impacts victims in assorted ways. The most apparent is that it helps constabularies find their wrongdoer. The victim may be traumatised as a consequence of the offense and may experience threatened that the culprit will return hence being scared to go forth their place. If the wrongdoer is convicted, the victim will be relieved and at least attempt and go on with their normal life.

Mental wellness

Ressler ( 1992 ) says that mental wellness professionals have an involvement in wrongdoer profiling and have besides helped research in the survey of condemnable psychological science. Therefore, it is suggested that clinicians could be used to assist the Criminal Justice System in proposing ways of profiling and ways of intervention.


Profiling can give the constabulary a new or different way in their effort to catch the wrongdoer by cut downing the list of suspects. This is by giving them information about the pick of victim, the location, anything that was said by the wrongdoer and the nature of the discourtesy. These things may assist to give the offender more of a personality, and therefore assist the constabulary in their pursuit of the wrongdoer. Profiling is non aimed to state the constabulary who really committed an offense ; alternatively it aims to propose to them some personality and demographic features that the wrongdoer is likely to possess. If for illustration the constabulary are look intoing a figure of colzas in the same country, they will be pleased to place whether the same individual has committed them. They will necessitate to cognize if they should be lookA­ing for one or several wrongdoers. In add-on, a profile can assist patrol in cut downing their list of suspects and to avoid wasting clip on questions which are likely to be useless. If a suspect of the constabulary does non fit any of the profiler ‘s anticipations so the constabulary might pass less clip following that peculiar individual. In some instance the profile may good suit person whom the constabulary already fishy and will therefore allow the constabulary officers to concentrate their probes on the most likely suspect.

How Offender Profiling was used in existent life instances

During the period 1982-86, 24 sexual assaults occurred in North London near to railroads. It was believed that one adult male committed all these offenses, though on some occasions he had person that helped him out. Between 1985 and 1986 three slayings occurred, and forensic grounds together with certain facets of the aggressors suggested that there were links between the colzas and slayings. In 1986, constabulary forces in South England were fighting to happen the Railway Rapist, which so turned in to the Railway Killer. Dr. David Canter, a psychologist and criminologist was invited to compose British offense ‘s first wrongdoer profile. When the wrongdoer, John Duffy, was subsequently arrested and convicted, it turned out that 13 of Canter ‘s 17 proclamations about the wrongdoer were right.

The instance of Adrian Babb is another case where Offender Profiling has been successful and hence really helpful to the CJS. Between 1986 and 1988, seven onslaughts on aged adult females took topographic point in tower blocks in south Birmingham. Women aged 70-80 were followed into the lifts by a compact immature adult male who overwhelmed them and took them to the top floor of the tower block, where he raped them and escaped. The same forms of the offenses suggested that the discourtesy was committed by the same adult male. Because the felon had a limited scope of locations, victims and actions, this suggested that the wrongdoer was runing a limited universe, wherein he was constrained in his actions. Victims reported the wrongdoer as black, athletic, without organic structure aroma and transporting a athleticss bag. He had no effort to conceal himself, therefore he had no fright of being recognised and convicted.

Canter labelled his attack Investigative Psychology, where he believes that wrongdoer goes beyond what he originally thought of Offender Profiling and covers a subdivision of applied psychological science. Canter has a certain scheme that he uses within this probe which helps him in happening the wrongdoer. He foremost tries to understand the types of offense persons are likely to go involved in and the manner the offense will be carried out. After that he tries to understand the manner a condemnable behavior procedures and how the offense mirrors their behaviors in their day-to-day life. These led him to believe that there are associated activities that happen when a offense is being committed. He besides believes that actions of wrongdoers at the offense scene are likely to uncover something about their background.

The of import properties Canter looks out for within his research are: location, life, societal and personal features and occupational/ educational history. One other facet of profiling is the methodological aggregation of informations and statistical analysis. An illustration of this is when Canter and Heritage ( 1990 ) combed through the victim statements of 66 UK sexual assaults and with the usage of statistics, they were able to place clear forms in the signifier of the onslaught.

It is possible to group how the victim is treated in three ways, each giving hint to the wrongdoer. First is when the condemnable treats the victim as a individual – this is when a conversation is involved in the continuance of the onslaught, inquiring things to the with the adult female ‘s love and personal life or congratulating her on her expressions and organic structure. This type of condemnable believes that he is developing some kind of relationship with the victim and falsely thinks that the sexual assault produces intimacy. The 2nd is when the victim is treated as an object – in this instance, the victim may be blindfolded, while the wrongdoer tends to be covered. The wrongdoer here will chiefly be concerned with control in the interaction of the colza. The 3rd and concluding is when the victim is treated as vehicle – when this is the instance the wrongdoer uses force to degrade the victim. The actions here are a mirror of the wrongdoers ‘ choler and aggression.

The 3rd existent life instance I will discourse in the study is the instance of Rachel Nickell, wherein Offender Profiling was used to assist the constabulary officers find the wrongdoer and assist the CJS make a just finding of fact. On 15th July 1992, a 23 twelvemonth old theoretical account, Rachel Nickell, was walking with her boy and her Canis familiaris in Wimbledon Common when she was attacked and viciously killed. Alex ( Nickell ‘s two twelvemonth old boy ) was thrown into the shrubs while Nickell was sexually assaulted, stabbed 49 times and had her pharynx cut. Another tramp who was besides walking in the Common discovered Alex cleaving to his female parent ‘s dead organic structure, shouting and pleading with her to acquire up. It was subsequently found that Alex stuck a piece of paper on his female parent ‘s brow in topographic point of a plaster in effort to do his Dendranthema grandifloruom better.

The constabulary tried their best to happen the condemnable but failed to make so. They felt under force per unit area and as a consequence, turned to a Forensic psychologist named Paul Britton, an expert in the scientific discipline of Offender Profiling, and asked him to carry on an wrongdoer profile for this offense instance. Britton had antecedently helped the constabulary place the slayers of Jamie Bulger in Liverpool, and had worked on the Frederick West ‘House of Horrors ‘ slayings in Gloucester, and was felt to be the right adult male for the occupation.[ 4 ]A suspect was finally identified by Britton and it was noted that he seemed to suit the profile good. A complex operation was planned by Britton, which was taking to allure Stagg into a confession utilizing an clandestine female constabularies officer who faked a romantic involvement in Stagg and a liking for Satanism. However, despite her attempts Stagg did non confess.

Effectiveness of Offender Profiling in each instance

Canter ( 1990 ) is the UK ‘s taking profiling expert ; his attack looks out for the behavior of the wrongdoer during the offense. In his attack no premises are made about the felon and the attack relies to a great extent on facts. Canter believes that his attack has several advantages over offense scene analysis. First, his type of Offender Profiling draws straight on widely known psychological constructs. Second, his attack could be used extensively and should non be limited to merely ravish and slaying. Finally, in his attack there is less opportunity for colored determination devising. Canter argues that his attack is more scientific than the FBI ‘s and as a consequence, his profiles are more utile in assisting the constabulary catch the existent wrongdoer and the CJS to do a just finding of fact.[ 5 ]

John Duffy, ‘Railway Rapist ‘

For John Duffy ‘s instance, Canter created a profile with the following cardinal facts belonging to the raper:

The raper would populate in the country near some of the onslaughts.

He would be populating with his girlfriend or married woman and will non hold a kid.

He would be in his late 20s ; his blood fluids would incorporate ABO antigens and he would be right-handed.

He would be skilled in his occupation and work merely at the weekends.

He knows the railroad system really good.

He would hold a condemnable record of force.

This profile represents the usage of behavioral features to seek for a condemnable alternatively of pure forensic grounds from the offense scene. Out of 2000 suspects, Canter pinpointed the 1505th suspect, John Duffy, who was the existent wrongdoer. Duffy fit most of the profile, including a condemnable strong belief for ravishing his married woman. The profile Canter developed matched 13 out of 17 inside informations about Duffy ‘s features. The staying that did n’t fit Duffy was the biological features ; the wrongdoer was a batch shorter than victims remembered and many had described him as holding black or even ginger hair. From the truth, it is apparent that Offender Profiling has been a really effectual fact-finding tool to utilize in this offense instance.[ 6 ]

Adrian Babb

For Adrian Babb ‘s instance, Canter created a profile with the following cardinal facts belonging to the aggressor:

Not violent because force is merely used when necessary

Athletic organic structure suggests that that wrongdoer has an involvement of lone athleticss e.g. swimming or body-building

Cleanliness and administration suggests that he was obsessional

No effort to cover him or conceal forensic grounds suggests that he was non cognizant of the processs and hence has non convicted before for this type of offense

Ease with aged adult females suggests that he dealt with aged people in non-offence background

Knowledge of tower blocks suggests that he lives in one

Based on this profile, a constabulary officer searched through the records of minor sexual wrongdoers and found a lucifer between Babb ‘s fingerprints and those at the offense scene. It is apparent that Offender Profiling has been a really effectual tool to use in this instance because it has helped the constabulary catch the wrongdoer. From the above, we can see that Canters anticipations were really accurate. As Canter clearly stated in the profile, the wrongdoer must hold had no forensic consciousness or cognition of the likely processs as he made no effort to mask himself. This was a really valuable point that led to the apprehension of Babb. As Canter besides predicted, Babb attended the swimming pool really frequently hence the cleanliness and the deficiency of organic structure smell and besides looked after Sessionss for the aged.

Rachel Nickell

Britton ‘s first undertaking was to put up a clear image of the sort of individual Rachel was by questioning her household and friends. His initial ideas related to Alex, Nickell ‘s boy. The fact that Alex was non harmed meant that Rachel had non known the wrongdoer and so this was non likely to be a domestic slaying. The nature of the onslaught pointed towards a violent sexual sociopath.

Based on his past interactions with sexual slayers, Britton drew up a profile of the wrongdoer with the undermentioned points:

The wrongdoer would be aged between 20 and 30 because the bulk of sexual onslaughts are committed by immature work forces

He would non hold the ability to associate to adult females in normal conversation.

He would either hold a history of failed or unsatisfactory relationships or no relationship history

He would endure from some signifier of sexual disfunction

He would be attracted to pornography which would play a function in his sexual fantasy life

He would merely hold mean intelligence and instruction because the onslaught was barbarous

If employed, he would work in an unskilled or drudging business

He would be individual and have a comparatively stray life style

He would hold alone avocations and involvements

He would populate within easy walking distance of Wimbledon Common and would be exhaustively familiar with it

He would be really likely to kill another immature adult female at some point in the hereafter.

Colin Stagg was the named that cropped up four times after the liquidators profile was broadcasted on ‘Crimewatch ‘ . Stagg fitted Britton ‘s profile exactly. During the constabulary interview Stagg denied any engagement in the offense, but his replies to inquiries made stronger the lucifer with Britton ‘s profile. The constabulary ‘ could happen no physical grounds linking Stagg to the slaying but he remained the figure one suspect. The complex operation which was planned by Britton had an inauspicious consequence on the whole instance. The grounds of Britton ‘s profile and the information obtained from Lizzie James was thrown out of tribunal and the defense mechanism argued that Britton ‘s grounds was bad and supported merely by his inherent aptitude. Stagg was set free and Rachel ‘s slayer was ne’er found. This shows how Offender Profiling can be misused, misunderstood and misinterpreted if non conducted in a scientific manner.


There are many statements discoursing the effectivity of Offender Profiling, some of which are positive and some which are negative. Even though there have been less publicized instances where Offender Profiling was less accurate e.g. Copson ( 1995 ) , it can still be a really utile tool in footings of assisting the constabulary find the wrongdoer. However it is of import for the constabulary to be careful non to be blinded to other possibilities. Occasionally felons do non suit the profile and over usage could take to misjudgement of the Criminal Justice System. Offender profiling is more anticipation than scientific discipline based and therefore the cogency is debated. Due to the fact that there is no difficult grounds to work from, it is non possible to derive a definite consequence. Stereotype can be another factor that affects the manner a felon is profiled. For illustration, it may be that most rapers are individual work forces that live on their ain or with their parents but this may non ever be the instance and could take to an inaccurate profile being created if the felon is a married adult male who lives with his household.

To measure the effectivity of this fact-finding tool different research has been conducted. For illustration, Britton ( 1992 ) sent out questionnaires to the Criminal Investigation Department to place the figure of instances where an wrongdoer had been profiled led to collar. He found that the consequences were largely negative in the sense that most instances that were profiled did non take to collar. However, the bulk of the respondents commented that it could hold had a batch of possible in their experience of Offender Profiling.[ 7 ]


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