This chapter challenges the prevailing police psychology about the crime specialist offender, particularly the perceived narrow offending patterns of serious criminals. Both research on criminal careers and theories, including Rational Choice Theory and Routine Activity Theory, support the stance that police thinking should shift from seeing serious offenders as offence specialist to being ‘offence versatile’. Indeed, dedicated research suggests that a shift in police psychology on criminal careers is needed so that serious criminals might be better targeted and identified by all the crimes that they commit, big or small, in terms of seriousness.
This chapter begins with a brief exploration of how human beings make decisions, with reference to evolutionary psychology and the pioneering research on cognitive bias conducted by psychologists including Kahneman and Tversky. Next, how police make decisions was explored, including and introduction to Problem-Orientated Policing (POP), the SARA problem-solving model, and discussion of the National Decision Model, developed to help UK police make decisions, before concluding with a focus on how cognitive bias can have a negative influence on criminal investigations, with reference to the research on accusations of police victim blaming in the investigation of sexual offences.
This chapter introduces the reader to the aim of the book and its purpose. The structure of the book is set out chapter by chapter, as is the structure and content of chapters. Every chapter concludes with a summary and suggestions for further reading and resources.
As contemporary policing becomes ever more complex, so knowledge of practical psychology becomes ever more important in everyday policing encounters, situations and contexts.
This book suggests how new ways of applying psychological knowledge and research can be of benefit in a range of policing contexts, for example, beat patrols, preventing crime and using the self-selection policing approach to uncover serious criminality from less serious offences.
Looking forward, Jason Roach suggests how psychological knowledge, research and policing might evolve together, to meet the changing challenges faced by contemporary policing.
In encouraging critical thinking and practical application, this book is essential reading for both police practitioners and criminology, policing and psychology students.
Presented in this chapter is how psychology can and should be used by police and others to inform the prevention of crime. An exploration of what can be done using several crime prevention approaches; namely, Clarke’s Situational Crime Prevention (1997) and Thaler and Sunstein’s ‘Nudge’ (2008). Examples include the adoption of a nudge approach to reducing thefts from insecure vehicles and guidance on how to devise nudges is presented (NUDGE_IT). Finally, suggestions are made for how to counter accusations that giving prevention advice to potential victims is tantamount to blaming them for being victims of crime, with the REACT acronym presented.
This chapter explores how psychological research and policing can heavily interact when examining how police work can negatively affect the wellbeing of police personnel. The brief review of the research in this area presented here suffices to demonstrate the existence of different types and levels of impact on police wellbeing, according to different types of police work, including different types of criminal investigation: general investigative work, child sexual abuse investigation, and crime scene investigation.
This chapter is short in order to better encourage the reader into feeling that this book is more of a beginning than an end, more of a work in progress than fait accompli. If achieved, then it is hoped it will either provoke or stimulate further thought as to where the relationship between psychological research and knowledge and policing might need to focus and develop in the future. Some areas suggested include, how police–researcher relationships might blossom, police wellbeing and psychology, and policing and the internet (cybercrime).
This chapter provides a context for the book. The reader is presented with an idea of the historical relationship between crime, policing, craft, science, and psychology, and how this relationship has evolved. Although not an exhaustive list, some key points where psychological research has interacted with, and indeed influenced, aspects of policing, including offender profiling, the interviewing of suspects and witnesses, and crime prevention, have been highlighted to demonstrate how psychological research can improve police practice.
This chapter begins by exploring the meaning of ‘expert’ before moving to suggest ways in which bringing together a examples of real-world psychology research with some policing expertise can be used to advance routine police practice for all police officers. Like many of the other chapters in this book, it represents merely a start of thinking about how to improve police practice, in this case enhancing police ‘street-craft’, rather than a definitive guide.
This chapter puts the versatile-offender approach to the sword by introducing the Self-Selection Policing (SSP) approach. A case is made for SSP to be adopted by police as a complimentary way of identifying active, serious criminals, by the minor crimes they commit. The argument made is that a growing body of research shows that police if police are encouraged to adopt the SSP approach into their current ‘policing armoury’, then more active, serious criminals will be uncovered and brought to justice, but that this first necessitates a change in police thinking towards the versatile offender. The chapter concludes with some suggestions for how police can best employ and implement SSP and a checklist is provided to help those interested in conducting SSP interventions of their own.