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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220830 
Title: Psychology and Criminal Investigation (From Handbook of Criminal Investigation, P 68-91, 2007, Tim Newburn, Tom Williamson, and Alan Wright, eds. -- See NCJ-220829)
Author(s): Tom Williamson
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This brief introduction to the role of psychological research in criminal investigations in the United Kingdom focuses on the legal and regulatory framework for custodial questioning, the psychology of the construction of testimony, and the work of police behavioral science units.
Abstract: The chapter first describes psychological research that has shaped the legal and regulatory framework for custodial questioning of suspects in England and Wales. Psychological research has been consulted in addressing the issues of interviewee suggestibility and low intelligence, as well as behavioral dynamics that lead to false confessions. Psychological research has also challenged an investigative culture that relies too much on confession evidence, and it has contributed to law reform related to the "right to silence" in the face of police questioning. The second section of the chapter presents an overview of some of the psychological processes involved in the construction of testimony. This includes research on the cognitive and social influences that shape memory of events, which has significant implications for the reliability of witness testimony, particularly eyewitness testimony about events and the physical characteristics of people. The third section of the chapter discusses the influence of psychological research on the creation and functions of police behavioral science units in the areas of crime-scene assessment, predictive profiling of offenders, the prioritizing of suspects, suggestions for the direction of investigations, investigative interviewing strategies, media strategies, and familial DNA prioritization. In conclusion, the author advises that if investigative psychology is to improve its use in criminal investigations, it will require the data, databases, network, and analytical tools that will promote a progression from traditional deductive investigations to inductive, knowledge-based investigations. This begins with the collection of accurate and reliable information that will make possible such a paradigm shift. 77 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Behavior typologies; Confessions; Eyewitness memory; Eyewitness testimony; Foreign police; Forensic psychology; Interrogation procedures; Investigative techniques; Offender profiles; Psychology; Psychology of law enforcement; Suspect interrogation
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