AP2823: Policing and Investigative Psychology

Credit Weighting: 5
No. of Students: Min 20, Max 30.
Pre-requisite(s): None.
Co-requisite(s): None.
Teaching Period(s): Semester 1.
Teaching Methods: 6 x 3hr(s) Lectures; 2 x 1hr(s) Tutorials; 4hr(s) Other (on-line discussion on Blackboard)
Module Co-ordinator: Dr Ciara Staunton, Centre for Adult Continuing Education.
Lecturer(s): Staff, School of Applied Psychology, and invited guest lecturers where appropriate.
Module Objective: To convey an understanding of the role psychology plays in policing and criminal investigation.
Module Content: This topic will consider all of the ways that psychology can be used or integrated with the processes and procedures of criminal investigation. Topics covered will include:
The development of policy psychology;
The origins of investigative psychology;
Criminal profiling - the facts and the myths, its theoretical models and validity;
Crime scene analysis;
Interviewing suspects;
The psychology of mass murderers and serial killers;
The psychology of arming police;
Hostage negotiations;
Learning Outcome: On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
  • Describe how psychology can contribute to the improvement of policing methods.
  • Explain whether or not behavioural investigative analysis has a future in policing in Ireland.
  • Critically evalute the various approaches to offender profiling.
  • Outline the commonalities and differences between the profiling methods in the analysis of crime scenes.
  • Contrast the various approaches to interviewing suspects.
  • Ascertain the challenges posed to investigators when dealing with serial crimes.
  • Argue for or against the arming of the Irish police force.
  • Appraise what can psychology offer to a hostage situation.
  • Recommend whether or not polygraphy has a future in policing.
Assessment: Total Marks 100: Continuous Assessment 100 marks (1 x 3,000 word assignment excluding references).
Compulsory Elements: Continuous Assessment.
Penalties (for late submission of course/project work etc.): Where work is submitted up to and including 7 days late, 5% of the total marks available shall be deducted from the mark achieved. Where work is submitted up to and including 14 days late, 10% of the total marks available shall be deducted from the mark achieved. Work submitted 15 days late or more shall be assigned a mark of zero.
Pass Standard and any Special Requirements for Passing Module: 40%.
End of Year Written Examination Profile: No Formal Written Examination.
Requirements for Supplemental Examination: Marks in passed element(s) of Continuous Assessment are carried forward, Failed element(s) of Continuous Assessment must be repeated (as prescribed by the Module Coordinator).

University College Cork

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