chapter  20
24 Pages

Profiling suspects

WithLaurence Alison, Clare McLean, Louise Almond

There is no universally accepted definition of offender profiling (Gudjonsson and Copson 1997). The term is given to a collection of various scientific and psychological theories and techniques that attempt to draw inferences about an offender’s characteristics by examining the behaviour exhibited in a crime scene. The contents of an offender profile may, however, vary. Ault and Reese (1980) provide a list of what components may be included:

1 The perpetrator’s ethnicity. 2 The perpetrator’s gender. 3 Age range. 4 Marital status. 5 General employment. 6 Reaction to questioning by police. 7 Degree of sexual maturity. 8 Whether the individual will offend again. 9 The possibility that he or she has committed a similar previous offence. 10 Previous convictions.