1.1 Background to the Study
The issue of criminal profiling is not strange to everyone in the. Its ongoing appearances in the media have absolutely raised the profile of criminal psychology and various understudies are quick to work right now. It is now common to hear the news, read from the mass media and even in several documentaries about killers and criminals who murder, rape or assault victims as a result of certain similar features that the victims all possess or out of certain distorted motive or intentions. Most serial killers and violent criminals are psychologically impaired based on a peculiar past experience that make them seek some form of personal vendetta against persons who look or act like those that have hurt them in the past or just out of sheer perverse pleasure. These crimes are committed in peculiar manners with little or no material evidence linking the offenders to the act making it more difficult for the law enforcement to apprehend them. Forensic analysts and psychologists over the years have sought means of identifying such criminals based on their mode of operation, signature behaviour, target victims and material evidence from previous crime scenes.
Criminal profiling has been viewed in various ways by several scholars based on their distinct backgrounds and as such, been called many names such as criminal personality profiling, criminological profiling, behavioural profiling, criminal investigative analysis, offender profiling, psychological profiling, crime scene analysis, socio-psychological profiling and linkage analysis (Labuschagne, 2006).
Criminal profiling is aimed at the identification of certain features of a person committing a crime by thorough systematic observational process and an analysis of the crime scene. It is acknowledging the skewed validity of the perpetrator‘s perspective to be able to predict him without allowing yourself to become lost in him and his world. Criminal profiling is a social and insightful apparatus that is expected to push investigators to precisely predict and profile the qualities of obscure criminal subjects or guilty parties (Kocsis R. N., 2009). A fundamental reason of criminal profiling is that the manner in which an individual thinks (i.e., their examples of reasoning) coordinates the individual's behaviour. Along these lines, when the investigative profiler analyzes a crime scene and notes certain basic elements, the individual in question might have the option to decide the thought process and kind of individual who committed the crime under investigation. All the information from the crime scene is a reflection of the criminal‘s behaviour and this behaviour can create a surprisingly accurate picture of the offender. This technique has been used by criminal psychologists who are experts in this field to examine criminal behaviour and to evaluate as well as possibly predict the future actions of criminals.
Criminal profiling is a relatively new enforcement practice. It newly emerged in the last two decades and still remains a highly controversial tool (Wilson, P., Lincoln, R., Kocsis, R. (1999). It has become part of public consciousness even though many people are not really sure what it is and the great majority of people have no idea at all of how it is done. This ignorance is just as prevalent in professional circles as amongst the lay public.
The essential idea for a profile is to accumulate a collection of information yielding basic examples so agents can build up a depiction of an unknown suspect. Offender profiling is grounded in the conviction that it is conceivable to work out the attributes of an offender by inspecting the qualities of their offenses. It assists investigators with looking at proof from the crime scenes and victim and witness reports to build up an offender portrayal. These portrayals may incorporate the examination of mental factors, for example, character and personal conduct standards, just as demographic factors, for example, age, race or geographic area. Investigators use profiling as a way to limit the suspect pool, or in organizing an interrogation of a suspect once captured. It involves the psychology-trained experts using their knowledge on human behaviour, motivation and patterns to create a multi- dimensional report. Although it does not provide the specific identity of the offender, it indicates the kind of person most likely to have committed the crime by focusing on certain behavioural and personality characteristics. It should encompass the integration of material from the crime scene (i.e., blood stain evidence), witness statements, autopsy findings, photographs, related materials such as cameras seized at the crime scene, weapons, items used for torture, and a host of suggestions derived from brainstorming sessions with forensic experts and police detectives.
Criminal profiling is done by making use of both tangible and intangible equipment. The tangible equipment involve the crime scene, the offender‘s modus operandi (mode of operation), his signature behaviour, clues he or she may have left behind in the commission of the offence just as knowledge into the chance of having more than one individual engaged with the crime, victimology. Five conduct attributes that can be gathered from the crime scene include: the measure of planning that went into the crime, the level of control utilized by the offender, the escalation of feeling at the scene, the hazard level of both the offender and victim, and the appearance of the crime scene (disrupted versus composed). The intangible tools include the profiler‘s intuition, knowledge, experience, the uncommon ability to objectively get ―into the mind‖ of the criminal and think like him or her and an analytical mind. This technique might be considered a paper tiger. It can be powerfully aggressive in helping forensic scientists focus on an investigation, or it can be destructive in leading investigators astray. At best it is an adjunctive guide to a complete forensic and criminal investigation and a team effort. The investigator goes through the following stages in the profiling procedure: the assessment of the crime and the criminal demonstration or acts itself; exhaustive assessment of the points of interest of the crime scene(s); extensive examination of the person in question; assessment of preliminary police reports; assessment of the medical examiner‘s autopsy protocol; improvement of a profile with basic offender attributes, insightful proposals predicated on the development of the profile; lastly, the possible arrest of the suspect. It is on this note that this study aims to investigate criminal profiling and its relevance in the Nigerian criminal justice system.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is usually a difficulty and hopeless process in investigating violent crimes especially murder when there are no experts or trained personnel, biodata databases, Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), no DNA database or instrument, and no cutting edge mechanical frameworks. Numerous jurisdictions, a criminal examination framework without these referenced above may seem like a spot in an epic story from some time long past, yet it is not. This is the truth in certain places, for example, Nigeria.
The recent sudden increase in violent crimes in Nigeria has created enormous uncertainty in the security of lives and property of individual and of social stability in Nigeria. The cases of traditional crimes which including armed robbery, arson, murder, kidnapping, rape, hired assassinations and ritual killings are examples of the most serious and violent crimes, which have been on the increase in the recent past.
Many crimes have gone unsolved in Nigeria because of a lack of adequate equipment and training. Very rarely do the police take fingerprints, there are no DNA laboratories, and there is an extreme paucity of forensic and ballistics experts in the country. With almost 160 million people, Nigeria is Africa‘s most populous nation and also one of its longest democracies but even Nigerians admit their criminal justice system is woeful. Many criminals have gone scot free and many innocent people have been condemned by our justice system because there was no forensic linkage to the crimes to convict and vindicate them respectively. Specialists have connected the numerous instances of unsolved crimes that speck Nigeria's criminal equity framework to the absence of forensic proof. Other than lack of equipment, absence of ordinary training has likewise to great extent inhabited examinations and the tackling and counteraction of crime. The poor training that police officers experience needs worldwide seriousness.
The utilization of criminal profiling remains especially a virgin area and to a great extent unpopular among the law enforcement agencies in Nigeria particularly by the Nigeria Police Force in the process of their various investigations. In spite of this, the practice has become generally utilized in unwinding crimes by counterpart law enforcement agencies in developed countries especially the Federal Investigations Bureau (FBI), USA and other western country sister agencies. This strategy must be inculcated into the practices of the Nigerian criminal justice system in criminal investigation since its various advantages cannot be overemphasized and our criminal justice system is in desperate need of all the assistance it can get to improve in crime prevention and detection.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This study has both general and specific objectives, the general objective of the study is to examine criminal profiling and its relevance in the Nigerian criminal justice system. However, the specific objectives are:
a) To understand the evolution of criminal profiling in the history of justice system
b) To examine the strategies used in criminal profiling in Nigeria
c) To find out the challenges facing criminal profiling in the Nigerian justice system
d) To give suggestions for the improvement of the criminal investigation activities
1.3 Research Questions
The following research questions will be provided answer to:
a) What is the evolution of criminal profiling in the history of justice system?
b) What are the strategies used in criminal profiling in Nigeria?
c) What are the challenges facing criminal profiling in the Nigerian justice system?
d) Are there any suggestions for the improvement of the criminal investigation activities?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Criminal profiling has been used successfully by law enforcement in several areas and is a valued means by which to narrow the field of investigation. Profiling does not provide the specific identity of the offender. Rather, it indicates the kind of person most likely to have committed a crime by focusing on certain behavioural and personality characteristics. This technique has been proven to be very effective in various criminal investigations and in various criminal offences. Violent and sexual offenders lend themselves to profiling techniques. Through careful interview of the rape victim about the rapist‘s behaviour, law enforcement personnel begin to build a profile of the offender. The rationale behind this approach is that behaviour reflects personality, and by examining behaviour the investigator may be able to determine what type of person is responsible for the offence. It is no news that the Nigerian criminal justice system faces some major setbacks especially the Nigerian police force in their investigation processes and inability in apprehending the right perpetrators of criminal acts and bringing such offenders to justice. The significance of this study is that showcases how and why the technique of criminal profiling is important and helpful to the police and law enforcement agents in Nigeria in determining criminal offenders and also in crime detection and prevention and reasons why it should not be overlooked as a resourceful tool in criminal investigations.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study was delimited to study criminal profiling and its relevance in the Nigerian criminal justice system and will therefore be suitable to carry out among the men of the Nigeria Police as well as among Lawyers in the country.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
It is inevitable that a survey research of this nature must have some constraints which impact on this study. The materials for a proper and effective research work constituted a major limitation and even the decision to use questionnaire in data collection constituted some limitations of the study, that is, how to get the true and required information from the workers.
Finally, there was an anticipation of the problem of convincing the respondents on the filling of the questionnaires and to give the true and required information.