Police psychology

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Police psychology is a subfield of forensic psychology addressing issues specific to police personnel and other public safety workers.

Police psychologists[edit]

Police psychologists [1] have many roles in police forces. They perform tasks such as conducting pre-employment and fitness-for-duty screenings for police and public safety personnel, interviews, interrogations, lie detections (polygraph, fMRI, voice-stress analysis, etc). Police psychologist will also conduct evaluations on police officers who have been brought up on charges or have been involved in a shooting. This is when an officer has evidence against them, needs to give a statement about an incident, or needs to be debriefed. Police psychologist main duties are to assist officers when needed, interviews, interrogations, crisis interventions, and pre-employment screenings.

Police psychologist train police officers on how to work in crisis situations like hostage negotiation teams/hostage barricade team. Police psychologist teach police officer's crime prevention techniques. Police psychologist also provide clinical counseling to police officers and their families. Police psychologists also help police officers deal with trauma and stress through clinical counseling. Counseling programs include resilience, life skills building and peer counseling.


There are several police and law enforcement agencies in the world today that employ police and law enforcement psychologists and these are:

  1. The Los Angeles Police Department - At the Behavioral Science Services
  2. The Federal Bureau of Investigation - At the Behavioral Analysis Unit
  3. U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations - A military investigative agency
  4. The National Police Improvement Agency (UK) - Behavioural Investigative Advisors (BIA)
  5. The Hong Kong Police - Hong Kong Police Force - Psychological Services Group
  6. The Japanese Police - Japanese Nation Policy Agency - National Research Institute of Police Science at the Criminology and Behavioral Sciences Section
  7. Singapore Police Force - Police Psychological Services Division (PPSD), Police Headquarters.[2]
  8. Behavioural Sciences Unit, Singapore, at the Home Team Academy.[3]
  9. Western Australia Police Academy - Occupational Psychology Unit.

Professional organizations[edit]

  1. Society of Police and Criminal Psychology[4]
  2. International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).[5]
  3. University of Liverpool — School of Psychology[6]
  4. Consortium of Police Psychological Services (COPPS)

Investigative psychology[edit]

Investigative psychology is a sub-speciality within police or law enforcement psychology that has gained its own following.[7] This field was started in 1990 by Professor David Canter whilst at the University of Surrey, in the South of England (Canter and Youngs, (2009). It brings together issues relating to investigative information, the drawing of inferences and the ways in which law enforcement decision-making can be supported through scientific research. Investigative psychology grew directly out of empirical research. This field covers the full range of investigation related activities such as :

  1. detection of deception,
  2. investigative interviewing,
  3. statement analyses,
  4. behavioral analyses of crimes.

This sphere has been much abused worldwide with the spread of the use of originally Eastern methods, including gradual copying of the type of methods once associated to some areas of Asia, what characterizes the latter is the contacting of the suspect via mental means, "thinking to" techniques known already in Eastern Europe followed by repetition of the alleged offence continually mentally to make it start repeating itself in the mind and even begin to affect speech. Thus these type of investigations and any based on them, being most legally conducted in their areas of origin are highly dubious.


  1. Leicester University (UK). Masters of Science in Forensic Psychology.[8]
  2. Portsmouth University (UK). Masters of Science in Forensic Psychology.
  3. University of Liverpool (UK). Masters in Investigative and Forensic Psychology.[9]
  4. Griffith University (Aus). Masters of Science in Forensic Psychology.[10]
  5. University of South Australia (Aus). Master of Forensic Psychology.
  6. Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) (not a course itself — but a module). The Forensic Psychology of Crime, Terrorism and Disasters[11]
  7. National University of Singapore. Correctional Psychology (Singapore)
  8. University of Indonesia (Professor Sarlitos Wirawan Sarwono)[12]
  9. Hong Kong University (while it doesn't specialise in police psychology, its faculty includes police psychologists.[13]
  10. Bond University[14]

Police Psychology Blogs[edit]

  1. Dr. Gary S. Aumiller's "Inside Police Psychology" http://policepsychologyblog.com/
  2. Dr. Laurence Miller: http://www.policeone.com/columnists/laurence-miller/