This describes the difference between the U.S. and the U.K's way of using offender profiling.

Essay by dylannaUniversity, Master'sA+, April 2003

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Consider psychological studies of offender profiling.

A definition of offender profiling is often illusive, but a loose description of the term is to identify physical, personality and psychological characteristics of a person based on their offence. The term was coined by the FBI but in Europe it is defined by "attempting to produce a description of the offender on the basis of evidence from the crime scene and other background information" (Stevens, 1995). An example of offender profiling is when the police determine whether an offender is organised or not, and then to understand whether they may have links to organised crime circles, or perhaps the crime was an opportunity crime, and the offender is an amateur.

One approach to offender profiling is the British approach. This is referred to as the 'bottom-up' practice of offender profiling. David Canter and Paul Britton pioneered this technique, working with many psychologists. This approach to offender profiling uses the setting and nature of and physical evidence at the crime scene.

This builds up a relationship between the characteristics of the offence and the actual offender. This approach also uses scientific statistics in processing evidence. Each profile is unique to the individual offender which gives the technique the name 'bottom-up'. Offender profiling is most useful when trying to find a serial offender as police can identify the 'type' of victim, especially in rape and/or murder cases. The behaviour of the criminal is an important feature in profiling an offender examples of this are; the location of the crime, type of victim, interaction with victim and often the timing of the crime. Environmental concepts such as 'mental maps' are often used in order to develop the idea that typical rapists live in the area that they offend in. This approach to profiling aims to be...