Investigative Psychology – What Does It Mean And How Can It Help Law Enforcement Investigations? Evaluating The IP System And Detective Part VIII

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

In yesterday’s article, a hypothetical situation was created and presented for the purpose of dissecting what specifically law enforcement officials are responsible and accountable for in investigating an allegation of child sexual abuse. In dealing with this hypothetical scenario, the Investigative Psychology (IP) System and IP Detective were examined and evaluated in how the IP methods and techniques can assist the first-responder, law enforcement officials, and IP Detective in examining, evaluating and analyzing the alleged sexual abuse incident.

In today’s article it is important for the audience to understand specifically how the psychological aspects of a crime can be used against the alleged sexual offender.
It is important that all law enforcement officials, especially the IP Detective receives the entire training and education on how to conduct a thorough and competent investigation.

The author, A. Karemen, 1984, of Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology stated, “One need not dwell on criminal motives to explain interpersonal crime – instead, one can take as given an offender predisposed to crime and proceed to analyze patterns of behaviors.”

This quote diminishes the value of criminal motives in a criminal act. Patterns of behavior provide an insight into the behavior set by the sexual offender in identifying just what the IP Detective relies upon in the process of profiling the individual.

I have discussed competence and intelligence in the majority of my articles. The purposes are to provide a standard for law enforcement officials to utilize during an investigation. The IP Detective may utilize several goals to advance forward during any and all Investigative Psychology investigations.

The intelligence is the end product of information. The intelligence provided to the law enforcement official and then onto an IP Detective can be (Charles Frost, 2001):       
1.   Planning 
2.   Direction 
3.   Collection 
4.   Evaluation 
5.   Collation 
6.   Analysis 
7.   Dissemination and; 
8.   Reporting


The characteristics of an organized crime scene demonstrate that the perpetrator planned the offense.


There are many directions in the IP System. Some stem from the linkage analysis i.e. method of operandi, ritual and signature to decision making in the offending process of serial sex offenders to the contributions of profiling added in the legal system to focus their direction of an investigation.  


Collection is part of the “Investigative Cycle” which involves three continuous processes: information collection, investigative inferences and the implementation of investigative actions. Within this cycle we identify a sequence of four stages of potential distortion in information processing: the collection, examination, evaluation and utilization stages. These distortions include cognitive, presentational, social and pragmatic components.


Same as Collection.


A coalition is an alliance among individuals, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest. This alliance may be temporary or a matter of convenience. A coalition thus differs from a more formal covenant. Possibly described as a joining of ‘factions’.

Analysis- Criminal Investigative Analysis
In the law enforcement community, the criminal investigative analysis is associated with behavioral investigative techniques.  

The last element of the five-step intelligence cycle is the dissemination of the finished intelligence report back to the end-user who requested it.

Multiple reasons and utilizations of why reporting of child sexual abuse is vital. Reporting of the crime of a sexual assault may diminish future sexual assaults and bring the sexual offender to justice.

These eight characteristics can be utilized in many strategies and situations of the IP System. Placing them in a box is not an intelligent move as the restriction could minimize their usefulness. An IP Detective must have an understanding and the knowledge in how to insert them into the investigation.

In the sexual assaults which occur in the homes across the United States, 90% of the sexual offenders are known to the child victims.  Sometimes this makes it difficult to report the child sexual abuse because of the relationship between the child victim and sexual offender.

The IP Detective needs to understand that the interpersonal relationship may become a barrier between the IP Detective and the child victim and the IP Detective must act proactively and prepare for the worst. If the child fails to cooperate and the IP Detective has not established some structure and rules, the prosecution of the sexual offender may become difficult.

The IP System can be complex in the area of linking the sexual offenses together e.g. in a neighborhood where ‘strangers’ are committing sexual assaults on young children.  The sexual assaults, which occur in the home, are generally dealt with in a reasonable and logical manner. It is the ‘stranger’ sexual assaults which are difficult to bring to justice, because the sexual offender disguises his identity and then moves on to the next location. The ‘stranger’ using the IP System can be profiled and sometimes immediately identified. The factors which are used to profile the ‘stranger’ will assist the law enforcement officials and the IP Detective in apprehending the sexual offender.

Tomorrow, I will continue to examine, evaluate and analyze the many attributes and characteristics the IP System and IP Detective have to offer in a child sexual assault case. In dealing with crimes against children, there needs to be a creative and innovative manner in which the IP Detective approaches the allegations. As the past seven articles have demonstrated the IP System is complex, but when utilized properly the IP Detective will find great success. 

                           Forensic Child Sexual Abuse Investigations Part 1
                                     By: Lawrence W. Daly
                                     Webinar Time- September 22, 2011 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
                                     Registration Fee - $99.00

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