Unit 4: Police Procedures
Chapter # 3 p. 56 – 88
- Confession evidence is viewed as “a prosecutor’s most potent weapon”
Police interrogation: a process whereby the police interview a suspect for
the purpose of gathering evidence and obtaining a confession.
- Overt acts of physical coercion have become less frequent and have
been replaced with more subtle psychologically based interrogation
techniques, such as lying about evidence, promising lenient treatment,
and implying threats to loved ones.
Mr. Big technique: involves undercover police officers who pose as
members of a criminal organization and attempt to lure the suspect
into the gang has been used 350 times in Canada and has a 75%
success rate and a 95% conviction rate
- Police officers in England and Wales are trained to use interrogation
techniques much less coercive than those used in North America.
Reid model: a 9-step model of interrogation used frequently in North
America to extract confessions from suspects:
(1) Suspect is immediately confronted with their guilt. If the police don’t have
against them then they can pretend evidence exists.
(2) Psychological themes develop that allow the suspect to justify, rationalize,
(3) Interrogator interrupts any statement of denial by the suspect to ensure
the suspect doesn’t get the upper hand in the interrogation.
(4) The interrogator overcomes the suspect’s objections to the changes to a
point at which
the suspect becomes quiet and withdrawn.
(5) Once the suspect has become withdrawn, the interrogator ensures that
doesn’t tune out the interrogation by reducing the psychological distance
interrogator and the suspect, such as by physically moving closer to the
(6) The interrogator exhibits sympathy and understanding, and the suspect is
(7) The suspect is offered face-saving explanations for the crime, which males
incrimination easier to achieve.
(8) Once the suspect accepts responsibility for the crime, the interrogator
admission into a full confession.
(9) The interrogator gets the suspect to write and sign a full confession.
Μinimization techniques: soft sell tactics used by police interrogators that
are designed to lull the suspect into a false sense of security (use of
sympathy, excuses, justification).
Maximization techniques: scare tactics used by police interrogators that
are designed to intimidate a suspect believed to be guilty. - Problems with the Reid model:
(1) Deception Detection: detecting when someone is being
deceptive the issue of whether investigators are effective deception
detectors because the actual
interrogation of a suspect begins only after an initial interview has
allowed the investigator to determine whether the suspect is guilty
many individuals don’t understand their Miranda rights when they are
presented to them.
(2) Investigator Bias: bias that can result when police officers enter
interrogation setting already believing that the suspect is guilty
biases led to coercive interrogations that caused suspects to appear
more guilty even if they aren’t.
- Police agencies in England and Wales use the PEACE method to guide
interrogations (planning and preparation, engage and explain, account,
closure, and evaluation)
- Provides inquisitorial framework as opposed to accusatorial
False confession: a confession that is either intentionally fabricated or is
not based on actual knowledge of the facts that form its content; “if it is
elicited in response to a demand for a confession and is either intentionally
fabricated or is not based on actual knowledge of the facts that form its
Retracted confession: a confession that the confessor later declares to be false (regardless of if it really is).
Disputed confession: a confession that is later disputed at trial.
– Arise because of legal technicalities, or because the suspect disputes the
confession was ever made.
Different types of false confessions :
(a) Voluntary false confession: a false confession that is provided without
from the police.
– a morbid desire for notoriety; the person being unable to distinguish
fact from fantasy; the need to make up for pathological feelings of guilt
punishment; a desire to protect somebody else form harm.
(b) Coerced-compliant false confession: a confession that results from a
desire to escape
a coercive interrogation environment or gain a benefit promised by the police
though they are innocent; most common type; may be given so the suspect
further interrogation, gain a promised benefit, avoid a threatened
making false evidence and threatening harm.
(c) Coerced-internalization false confession: a confession that results
interrogation techniques, whereby the confessor actually comes to believe
they committed the crime. – Individuals recall and confess to a crime they didn’t commit because
they are exposed to highly suggestible questions, and end up believing
responsible for the crime, associated with a history of substance abuse
or some other interference with brain function; the inability of people
to detect discrepancies between what they observed and what has
been erroneously suggested to them; factors associated with mental
state such as severe anxiety, confusion, or guilt.
Compliance: a tendency to go along with demands made by people
perceived to be in authority, even though the person may not agree
Internalization: the acceptance of guilt for an act, even if the person did
not actually commit the act.
Confabulation: the reporting of events that never actually occurred
- People more likely to confess when minimization tactics were used for
both guilty and innocent subjects.
Criminal profiling: an investigative technique for identifying the major
personality and behavioural characteristics of an individual based upon
an analysis the crimes they have committed
– Used to help set traps to flush out an offender; to determine whether a
threatening note should be taken seriously; to give advice on how best to
interrogate a suspect; to tell prosecutors how to break down defendants
- Criminal profilers try to predict the offender’s age, sex, race, level of
intelligence, educational history, hobbies, family background, residential location, criminal history, employment status, psychosexual development,
and post-offense behaviour.
- Predictions made by forensic psychologists and psychiatrists who have
clinical or research experience with offenders.
Origins of Criminal Profiling:
- Attempts to reconstruct various crime scenes and describe the wounds of
the victims for
purpose of gaining a greater insight into the offender’s psychological make-
up in ‘Jack
the Ripper’ case.
- Development of criminal profiling program in the FBI in 1970s
- First time that profiles were produced in a systematic way by a law
enforcement agency and that training was provided in how to construct
- The development of the FBI’s Behavioural Sciences Unit in 1972, the
National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime was opened for the purpose
of conducting research in the area of criminal profiling and providing formal
guidance to police agencies around the US that were investigating serial killer
- Since the early 1990s, some of the most important advances in the
area of criminal profiling have been made by David Canter, the founder of
investigative psychology. - Canter and his colleagues spent 20 years developing the field of profiling
into a scientific practice.
VICLAS: the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System, which was developed by
the RCMP to collect and analyze information on serious crimes from across
- One of the biggest problems the police encounter when they are faced with
a possible crime series is linkage blindness (an inability on the part of the
police to link geographically dispersed serial crimes committed by the same
offender because of a lack of information sharing among police agencies)
- Equation of profiling:
WHAT (material that profilers collect at the start of an investigation) + WHY
(motivation for the crime) = WHO (actual profile)
Two Types of Profiling Methods
(1) Deductive criminal profiling: profiling the background characteristics
unknown offender based on evidence left at the crime scenes by that
- Involves prediction of an offender’s background characteristics
evidence left behind, relies on logical reasoning, primary disadvantage
is that the
underlying logic of the argument can be faulty.
(2) Inductive criminal profiling: profiling the background characteristics of
offender based on what we know about other solved cases. – Involves the prediction of an offender’s background characteristics
generated from a comparison, relies on a determination of how likely it
is an offender will possess certain background characteristics given the
prevalence of these characteristics among known offenders who have
committed similar crimes, major problem is that it will never be
possible to have a representative sample of serial offenders from which
to draw profiling conclusions .
(3) Organized-disorganized model: a profiling model used by the FBI that
assumes the crime scenes and backgrounds of serial offenders can be
categorized as organized or disorganized.
– Organized: well-planned and controlled crime; disorganized:
impulsive crime chaotic in nature.
Organized Behaviours VS. Disorganized Behaviours
Planned offence VS. Spontaneous offence
Use of restraints on the victim VS. No restraints used on the victim
Ante-mortem sexual acts committed VS. Post-mortem sexual acts committed
Use of a vehicle in the crime VS. No use of a vehicle during crime.
No post-mortem mutilation VS. Post-mortem mutilation
Corpse not taken VS. Corpse body parts taken
Little evidence left at the scene VS. Evidence left at the scene
High intelligence VS. Low intelligence
Skilled occupation VS. Unskilled occupation
Sexual adequate VS. Sexually inadequate
Lives with a partner VS. Lives alone Geographically mobile VS. Geographically stable
Lives and works far away from crimes VS. Lives and works close to crimes
Follows crimes in media VS. Little interest in media
Maintains residence and vehicle VS. Doesn’t maintain residence and vehicle
− Profiling criticized because: many forms of profiling are based on a
theoretical model of personality that lacks strong empirical power;
many profiles contain information that is so vague and ambiguous they
can potentially fit many suspects; professional profilers may be no
better than untrained individuals at constructing accurate criminal
Geographic profiling: an investigative technique that uses crime scene
locations to predict the most likely area where an offender resides.
– Used mostly for serial homicide and rape, serial robbery, arson, and
used for prioritizin potential suspects (accomplished by rank ordering
the suspects based on how close they live to the predicted home
Geographic profiling systems: computer systems that use mathematical
models of offender spatial behaviour to make predictions about where
unknown serial offenders are likely to reside.
– Used by police to prioritize their investigative activities
STUDY (Bennell, Taylor, & Snook)
- Examined whether individuals trained to use heuristics (simple general
rules that can
be used to make decisions and solve problems, in some instances, a reliance on
heuristics can result in biased decisions or reasonably accurate decisions)
that serial offenders will live close to the locations of the majority of their
make profiling predictions that are as accurate as computerized systems
- Before any training 50% of participants made predictions that were as
accurate as a
computerized system, after training there was no difference between average
between the actual and predicted home location.
– Results in a debate of whether profil