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Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology

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3.1 Profiles of the police officers

Photographs of two people: DS Lara Sund and DI Jake Bullett
Figure 7

You will follow two investigations, conducted by two different police officers. Both officers are entirely fictional. They are also quite extreme caricatures designed to highlight two very different approaches to police investigations.

Detective Inspector Jake Bullet

One investigation will be conducted by Detective Inspector (DI) Jake Bullet. Jake has been a police officer for a long time and is proud of his reputation for securing convictions even in cases with little or no evidence to go on. He values the experience he has gained and is wary of attending training courses and learning new techniques. More than anything he trusts his hunches and believes in following his nose. He approaches most investigations by using his considerable experience and knowledge of the criminal community to form an initial insight into who the criminal might be. He then investigates his prime suspect and has become very adept at building a watertight case that proves the suspect is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Detective Sergeant Lara Sund

The other investigation is conducted by Detective Sergeant (DS) Lara Sund. Lara has participated in a number of serious cases, but has not served as long as Jake. She values her training as a detective and is always keen to attend new training events and learn new investigative techniques. Lara is wary of jumping to conclusions and always tries to avoid making any assumptions about the evidence she gathers. This sometimes means her investigations take longer than her more experienced colleagues, and involve collecting more evidence. She is a highly trained interviewer, who prides herself on using the latest techniques. She approaches her investigations by collecting as much evidence as she can, reviewing it and then forming hypotheses about what took place, which she then tries to disprove.

DI Bullet and DS Sund are not working together – instead you will be following two entirely separate and unconnected investigations of the same crime.

You will find that although Jake and Lara are investigating the same crime and talking to the same witnesses, the evidence they gather can sometimes be very different. You may draw on both investigations to help you evaluate the evidence that is gathered, and you will also be provided with help from relevant psychological research and theory. Ultimately, it is up to you to judge the facts and solve the case – will you trust your own hunches, or try and apply psychological knowledge?

Which detective do you think is most likely to solve the crime? Do you think modern police training techniques will help DS Lara Sund collect accurate and reliable evidence, or will the experience and knowledge that DI Jake Bullet has built up from a career spent working the streets prove to be superior?