Pragmatic solutions to offender profiling and behavioural investigative advice

Authors


Correspondence should be addressed to Professor Laurence Alison, School of Psychology, Centre for Critical and Major Incident Psychology, University of Liverpool, Eleanor Rathbone Building, Bedford Street South, Liverpool L69 7ZA, UK (e-mail: l.j.alison@liverpool.ac.uk).

Abstract

This paper outlines a brief history of the evolutionary trajectory of offender profiling and illustrates the three broad strands (investigative, clinical, and statistical) that emerged in the 1970s–1990s. We then indicate how a more pragmatic, interdisciplinary practitioner–academic model has emerged in recent years and go on to describe the range of contributions that are now made across the criminal justice field. More recently termed ‘behavioural investigative advice’ in the UK, the paper then argues that whilst a range of potential contributions exist (from linking crimes, risk assessment, provision of bad character evidence, investigative interviewing advice, to geoprofiling), the nature of the process by which that contribution occurs is not yet well understood. The review of these potential contributions concludes with several suggestions and recommendations for further research and relevant methodologies by which to conduct that research. This includes the requirement to combine conceptual and theory-driven models alongside empirically driven statistical approaches, as well as the requirement to more precisely delineate and describe how contributions are made by behavioural experts through cognitive task analyses and associated methods.

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