Offender Profiling

Professor Canter and his team have developed a structured protocol for providing investigative support (from suspect identification and crime linking to evidence/authorship assessment) in relation to crimes of all types, both standalone and serial offences.

Their advice draws on the extensive “offender profiling” research conducted within the International Centre for Investigative Psychology (ICIP) over the last 15 years. The ICIP is the foremost centre for this type of research in the world and retains extensive databases as well as using specialist software to allow systematic, empirical and objective input to assist investigators and analysts.

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Offender Profiling
Prof. David Canter and Offender Profiling

Offender Profiling Example at work

Professor Canter became known internationally in 1986 for the offender profile that helped the police to catch the “Railway Rapist” and serial killer John Duffy. This was the first time such a contribution was made to a police investigation by a Professor of Psychology anywhere. It was also the first time that offender profiling had been used by the United Kingdom police.

Since 1986, he has contributed to over 150 investigations around the world of many different kinds of crimes as varied as arson, armed robbery, stabbings, contested confessions, anonymous offensive letters, serial rape and murder.

Offender Profiling in Police Work

The success of the early profiles set him on track to develop a science-based approach to helping police investigations, which he called “Investigative Psychology”. His account of this work with the police and the development of the new discipline of Investigative Psychology was published in his 1994 award-winning book Criminal Shadows. Case studies focusing on geographical profiling contributions to investigations are discussed in a second book, Mapping Murder (also available as an audiobook).