Professor David Canter, director of the International Research Centre for Investigative Psychology, has been honoured by his professional body, The British Psychological Society by being made an Honorary Fellow of the Society. This award, currently held by just 25 people, is reserved for psychologists whose work in the application of the disciple of psychology to the practical problems of our society is outstanding.
Professor Canter studied psychology at Liverpool University where he obtained his BA and his PhD in 1969, subsequently holding research posts at Liverpool, Strathclyde and Tokyo Universities, before being appointed as one of the first psychology lecturers at the University of Surrey.
During his time at Surrey he made notable contributions in a number of fields of applied psychology. His early work was in the application of psychology to architecture and the built environment, as well as behaviour in fires and other emergencies, teaching and researching on these topic not only in its broader aspects, but focusing on particular problems in such publications as The Psychology of Place (1977), Designing for Therapeutic Environments (with his wife Sandra Canter), (1979), Fires and Human Behaviour, (1980), and Football in its Place, (1989). He also published on the theoretical and methodological aspects of Applied Psychology.
In the late 1980s he began his innovative work on Forensic Psychology and identified and named the new sub-discipline of Investigative Psychology, establishing the first Masters course in this new area. In 1994, he was appointed Professor of Psychology at the University of Liverpool, where he directs the Centre for Investigative Psychology. Here he also established an MSc in Investigative Psychology, which covers psychological theories, methods and processes as applied to the legal, criminal and civil justice systems and which attracts psychologists and non-psychologists such police officers and social scientists from all over the world.
Professor Canter has since been a major player in the development of offender profiling. In 1986, he was involved in providing guidance to a major police investigation that resulted in the arrest and conviction of John Duffy, the Railway Murderer, applying his skills as an environmental and social psychologist to a practical problem. As a result he was called on to provide profiles for over 150 police investigations and this enabled him to develop the new area of applied psychology of Investigative Psychology, described in his award winning Criminal Shadows. He was recently commissioned by the Metropolitan Police Service at Scotland Yard to develop the first Interactive Offender Profiling System for use in all forms of criminal investigation.
Professor Canter has published over 20 books and over 300 articles in technical and academic journals as well as contributing to newspapers and many television documentaries most notably the six-part documentary series for Channel 5 which he wrote and presented called Mapping Murder.