3 Replies to “Criminal profiling a load of old bunk?”

  1. This is a long-overdue article. ‘Profiling’ is a pseudoscience – file it alongside water divining and copper bracelets for rheumatism.

    I’ve spent a few years in law enforcement. One mob I used to work for had a profiler – basically because it was something they’d seen on TV, and because a chauvinistic police force could be seen to place a token woman in a high-profile position. She was trained in the USA at horrendous cost to the taxpayer. She got to go on a lot of junkets, had a very comfortable office (with framed certificates, always a bad sign), and displayed near-psychopathic levels of arrogance.

    The punchline: as far as I am aware, she was not responsible for one single successful investigation.

    All homicide investigations in this state have been resolved through a combination of painstaking data analysis, forensic work, and targeted surveillance.

    Still, I see no decline in the popularity of novels, films and TV in the ‘profiler’ genre. I suppose it’s because an emotional and intuitive character is more ‘exciting’ than a skilled and methodical one, no matter how poorly it reflects reality.

  2. @Richard: Thanks for that, nice to have the suspicions confirmed.

    Once I really did freak someone out by “profiling” them after having met them for all of 5 minutes. I picked up enough in those few minutes to be able to go for some high-likelihood comments, which made them suitably gullible, and the rest was pretty standard cold-reading tricks.

    Maybe I should go for a job in law enforcement…

    Maybe after saying that I should get my head read!

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