PYA - Forensic Psychology

Approaches to profiling based on the WJEC board

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  • Created on: 18-06-11 17:33
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Emily Hunt
PY4 Forensics
Approaches to Profiling
British Approach
Aims to build up a profile that is based on characteristics of the offender.
CANTER (1989) argues that we don't change our characteristics during the commitment of a crime.
1. Interpersonal coherence, the crime makes perfect sense in the mind of the criminal. For
example there is evidence to suggest that crimes involving a victim may be of the same
ethnic background, allowing a profile to be built on how he socialised with the victim.
2. Place and time may suggest the working hours of someone and that they live in the area or
commute to work by it. This is because criminals want a sense of control. They have that
control in places they know and are available to commit those crimes at certain times when
not at work.
3. Characteristics, looking at the crime committed and the offender there can be a difference
in classifications. However Canter did not provide a classification
4. Criminal career, criminals commit crimes the same way they always do, however they may
escalate to more serious crime as they gain in confidence.
5. Forensic awareness, if a criminal takes steps to cover his tracks the likelihood of him being
involved in crime before is high.
Profiling won't name the offender but assist the police to narrow a search down.
Guides police and narrows the search for the offender.
Supporting evidence, HOUSE (1997) showed there how there was different characteristics
in different rapes. SANTTILA ET AL (2003) also found consistent patterns in junior fire
PAUL BRITTON (1992), asked police officers their thoughts on profiling only 14% said it
helped assisted them in an arrest.
Not scientific, the research is not based on science, making it un trust worthy questioning
FBI Approach
Data is all gathered up from all sources especially the scene of the crime. The data is put into a
classification of organised or disorganised. Then a reconstruction of the scene is made, to help get
inside the offenders mind.
Organised Disorganised
High intelligence Low intelligence

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Emily Hunt
PY4 Forensics
Socially competent Socially incompetent
Restraints No restraints used
Planned little planned
Weapon brought and hidden Evidence all left at scene.
Limited use can only be used for serial; arson, rape, murder, satanic and paedophilia
Reductionist, CANTER questions there is overlap in the organised, disorganised categories.
Canter believed the characteristics to be typical not distinctive.…read more


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