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Understanding Criminal Investigation

ISBN: 978-0-470-68237-1
294 pages
August 2009
Understanding Criminal Investigation (047068237X) cover image


This comprehensive volume deciphers investigative process and practice, providing an authoritative insight into key debates and contemporary issues in crime investigations
  • Provides critical examination of investigative practice by focusing on the key issues and debates underpinned by academic literature on crime investigation
  • Outlines the theoretical explanations that provide an understanding of crime investigation and the context in which investigators operate
  • Illustrates the practical relevance of theoretical contributions to crime investigation
  • Places clear emphasis on the multi-disciplinary nature of crime investigation
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Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Introduction: A brief history of criminal investigation (Stephen Tong).

1.1 The Detective Story.

1.2 Detective Work: Art, craft, or science?

1.3 Overview of the Book.

Chapter 2: Theories of criminal investigation (Robin Bryant).

2.1 Introduction.

2.2 The development of theory.

2.2.1 Studying what works.

2.2.2 Cultural borrowing.

2.2.3 Synthesised models of investigation.

2.3 Investigative models in practice.

2.3.1 ‘ACCESS’ and ‘SARA’.

2.3.2 ACPO Murder Investigation Manual.

2.3.3 ACPO Investigation of Volume Crime Manual.

2.3.4 ACPO Core Investigative Doctorine.

2.4 Training and Education.

2.4.1 IPLDP.

2.4.2 ICIDP.

2.4.3 IMSC and SIODP.

2.5 Summary.

Chapter 3: Forms of reasoning and the analysis of intelligence in criminal investigation (Robin Bryant).

3.1 Introduction.

3.2 Investigative theory.

3.3 Forms of reasoning.

3.3.1 Inductive and ‘commonsense’ reasoning.

3.3.2 Deductive reasoning and argumentation.

3.3.3 ‘Inductive v. Deductive’.

3.3.4 Abductive reasoning and hypothesis testing.

3.4 The nature of chance.

3.5 Coincidence and the nature of randomness.

3.6 More general forms of bias and fallacy.

3.7 The detective’s ‘nose’: the place of intuition in investigation.

3.8 Summary.

Chapter 4: Geographical and offender profiling (Miranda Horvath).

4.1 Introduction.

4.2 What is the purpose of profiling?

4.3 Profiling assumptions.

4.4 Approaches to Offender Profiling

4.4.1 Inductive profiling.

4.4.2 Deductive profiling.

4.5 Crime Scene Analysis.

4.5.1 Criticisms of Crime Scene Analysis.

4.6 Investigative Psychology.

4.6.1 Criticisms of Investigative Psychology.

4.7 Diagnostic Evaluation.

4.7.1 Criticisms of Diagnostic Evaluation.

4.8 Geographical Profiling.

4.8.1 Criticisms of Geographical Profiling.

4.9 The profiling process.

4.9.1 Typical components of profiles.

4.9.2 Who are profilers and what do they do?

4.10 Summary.

Chapter 5: Eyewitness testimony (Miranda Horvath).

5.1 Introduction.

5.2 The status of eyewitness evidence and procedure in England and Wales.

5.3 Estimator and system variables.

5.3.1 Estimator variables.

5.3.2 Witness factors.

5.3.3 Stress.

5.3.4 Suspect characteristics.

5.3.5 Event characteristics.

5.5 System variables.

5.5.1 Presentation bias.

5.5.2 Line up instruction bias.

5.5.3 Foil and clothing bias.

5.5.4 Children/Young people.

5.5.5 Investigator bias.

5.5.6 The relationship between confidence and accuracy.

5.5.7 Vulnerable witnesses.

5.5.8 Older adults.

5.5.9 Learning disabilities and mental health problems.

5.6 Emerging areas of research and development.

5.7 Summary.

Chapter 6: Investigative interviewing (Lynsey Gozna and Miranda Horvath).

6.1 Introduction.

6.2 A Legacy of problems.

6.3 Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

6.4 PEACE interview training.

6.5 Right to silence.

6.6 Interviewer strategies.

6.7 Future directions.

Chapter 7: Assessing performance: quantity or quality? (Stephen Tong).

7.1 Introduction.

7.2 Measuring crime.

7.3 Police recorded crime figures.

7.4 British Crime Survey (BCS).

7.5 Measuring investigative performance: Process, output and outcome.

7.6 Defining efficiency and effectiveness.

7.7 Detection rates.

7.8 Performance indicators.

7.9 Critique of traditional measures of effectiveness.

7.9.1 Impact of other agencies.

7.9.2 Investigative practices that are ignored.

7.9.3 Impact of performance measurement on motivational Factors.

7.9.4 Dangers of performance criteria.

7.9.5 Political context.

7.9.6 Organisational context.

7.10 Summary.

Chapter 8: Crime investigation in context (Stephen Tong, Robin Bryant and Miranda Horvath).

8.1 Introduction.

8.2 ‘Proof’ or ‘Truth’: Challenge sin criminal investigation.

8.2.1 Detective craft.

8.3 Investigating sexual offences.

8.3.1 Factors influencing response to rape victims.

8.3.2 New developments.

8.33 Conclusion.

Chapter 9: Professionalising investigation (Stephen Tong).

9.1 Introduction.

9.2 Defining profession.

9.3 Police training.

9.4 Detective training.

9.5 Distinction between police training and education.

9.6 Approaches to learning.

9.6.1 Work place learning.

9.6.2 Mentoring.

9.6.3 Pedagogical approaches.

9.6.4 Andragogical approaches.

9.7 Detective practice: Summary of the literature.

9.8 Investigative reasoning.

9.9 Summary.

Chapter 10: Conclusion: challenges in crime investigation.


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Author Information

Stephen Tong is Principal Lecturer in Policing at Canterbury Christchurch University. He is currently engaged in developing new and established police programmes and conducting research involving direct mediation in prison. He is also a member of the Higher Education Forum for Learning and Development in Policing.

Robin P. Bryant is Director of Criminal Justice Practice in the Department of Law and Criminal Justice Studies at Canterbury Christchurch University. He has published widely on policing, particularly on the use of intelligence in criminal investigation, and has also advised various police enquiries.

Miranda A. H. Horvath is Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Forensic Psychological Services, Middlesex University.  Her research focuses on sexual violence from an applied social psychological perspective.

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""This book will therefore be of very real interest to a wide range of uniformed services, most especially the police. The book is also very helpfully designed so that it lends itself for use as a practical teaching guide . . . The use of chapter summaries, review questions, suggested further reading, and useful websites are also very helpful in getting to grips with the subject." (A Journal of Policy and Practice, 12 July 2011)

"The book would be very useful to students in subjects such as criminology or forensic psychology, giving them an insight into the complex and challenging issues faced by contemporary law enforcement professionals". (Jane's Police Review, 10 December 2010)

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