Criminal Psychology: Beginners Guide (Ray Bull, Claire Cooke et al.)

Written by Dave Clarke on .

Ray Bull, Claire Cooke et al.

Oneworld Publications (2015)

ISBN: 978-1-85168-707-7

Ray Bull is Chair in Forensic Psychology at the University of Leicester, where his coauthors are all lecturers. Ray Bull's research interest is the investigative interviewing of suspects, witnesses and victims and he also conducts research on witness memory, including voice recognition. He was made the first Honorary Lifetime Member of the International Investigative Interviewing Research Group in 2012 and in 2010 Ray was "Elected by acclaim" an Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society "for the contribution made to the discipline of psychology".

A comment on the cover of Criminal Psychology brought a smile. It was made by Amina Memon, Professor of Forensic Psychology at the University of Aberdeen (who also has an excellent reputation for her dedication to research in the applied cognition domain), when she said ''A concise guide that will dispel the myths engendered by the 'Cracker' obsessed media.''

It is now recognised that psychology is key in many aspects of life and especially in the field of offending and the judicial system as a whole. Bull explains that 'Criminal Psychology: Beginners Guide' has been written for members of the general public who wish to have a better understanding of criminal psychology than that given by the popular press and television and also for those students who are starting out to studying criminality.

The book does guide one through the diversity of roles and provides brief overviews of how criminal psychologists may contribute their proficiency at each stage. It also highlights that in the present day there is still no consensus on an accepted definition of the term criminal psychology but goes on to explain that Wrightsman (2001) suggests criminal psychology as any application of psychological knowledge or methods to a task faced by the legal system as the most inclusive definition.

Although originally published in 2006 it has frequently been updated to take into account changes that impact on the legal system and criminal psychology. Therefore questions about how the criminal mind works, how can we stop criminals from re-offending and what prison does to your mind are included and up to date. This publication is exactly what it says on the cover - a beginners guide and useful introduction to criminal psychology.