Behavioural Science involves the study of deviant human behaviour. Within the RCMP, “Behavioural Science” is an umbrella term representing a repertoire of investigative services aimed at understanding the dynamics of violent and/or serial crime and offenders and assisting the Canadian law enforcement community through the provision of information, advice, suggestions and strategies.
Based in Ottawa, the RCMP Behavioural Sciences Branch conducts research, develops policy and provides consultation to RCMP and other police services in Criminal Investigative Analysis, Geographic Profiling and Truth Verification. The branch also maintains the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS) as well as the National Sex Offender Registry. ViCLAS is a Canada-wide computer system that captures violent interpersonal offences investigated by police. Specially trained investigators, called ViCLAS Specialists, analyze and interpret reports of violent crimes for patterns and linkages to help identify serial crimes and offenders.
The ViCLAS National Policy Centre (NPC) establishes and monitors policy, procedures and minimum standards regarding the submission and analysis of crimes of interpersonal violence onto the ViCLAS database. The ViCLAS NPC provides the following services:
The National Sex Offender Registry is a national registration system for sex offenders who have been convicted of designated sexual offences under Section 490.011 of the Criminal Code of Canada and ordered by the courts to report annually to police.
During the registration process, police enter information on these individuals into a database that is accessible by all accredited police agencies through their provincial/territorial registration centre.
Time is of the essence when locating sexual predators and investigating crimes committed by these offenders. The National Sex Offender Registry assists police in the investigation of crimes of a sexual nature by providing up-to-date information related to convicted sex offenders and identifying all registered sex offenders living within a particular geographic area.
A search of the database should be requested early in the investigation in cases where the crime is sexual in nature, where the offender is unknown, and where help is needed to narrow the focus of the investigation.
Criminal Investigative Analysis (CIA) is an investigative tool used to assist the law enforcement community in solving violent crimes.
It is an analysis based on a review of evidence from the crime scene and from witnesses and victims. The analysis is done from both an investigative and a behavioural perspective. The CIA provides insight into the unknown offender (characteristics and traits) as well as investigative suggestions and interview and trial strategies.
A CIA cannot replace a thorough investigation, and the accuracy and detail of a CIA is limited by the accuracy and detail of the information on which it is based. CIA services can assist in the investigation of interpersonal violence, particularly homicide and sexual assault cases. CIA is suitable for single-incident or serial cases with one or more victims, including homicides, sexual assaults, child abductions, hostage-taking, bombings, and arson for example.
CIA analysts have been certified by the International Criminal Investigative Analysis Fellowship to provide analysis of criminal behaviour. They offer consulting services to investigators including:
CIA services should be requested early in the investigation in cases where the crime is one of interpersonal violence, where most investigative leads have been exhausted, and/or where special circumstances exist.
Geographic Profiling is an investigative aid that predicts the serial offender’s most likely location including home, work, social venues and travel routes. Using information from a series of related crimes, a Geographic Profiler uses a mathematical model to analyze the locations of the crimes and the characteristics of the local neighbourhoods to produce a map showing the areas in which the offender most likely lives and works.
Geographic Profiling helps focus investigative efforts on the probable location of the suspect, within an area defined by the “geoprofile”. It has the potential to reduce the time and effort spent investigating and apprehending an offender. Geographic Profiling complements usual investigative techniques and is best used together with Criminal Profiling.
Geographic Profiling is useful in serial crime when the offender is unknown. A minimum of five crimes or related sites are required for a complete profile, however some forms of analysis can be done with less. It is used most often for violent crimes such as homicides and missing bodies; sexual assault; predatory crimes such as child molestation; bombings; arson; robbery and break and entry; and other multiple location crimes such as exposings, telephone harassment, and credit card theft.
Geographic Profiling services should be requested early in the investigation in cases where the crime is serial in nature, where the offender is unknown, where help is needed to narrow the focus of the investigation, and/or where special circumstances exist.
The Truth Verification Section provides investigative support services in the use of truth verification methods and leadership in research and development as well as the continuous evaluation of the techniques currently employed.
Truth verification techniques assist investigators in determining the veracity of subjects including complainants, victims, witnesses, persons of interest, suspects and charged or accused persons. Although the opinion of the truth verification specialist is not intended for court purposes, the service provides focus to investigations.
As a centre for behavioural science research, the Research and Development Section strives to advance theoretical knowledge through applied empirical research in the areas of deviant human behaviour and the investigative techniques used to identify and capture violent and/or serial offenders.
The Research and Development Section:
Research areas include sexual offending and offenders, violent crime linkage, criminal investigative analysis and geographic profiling, polygraph and other truth verification techniques, risk and threat assessment, offence patterns, and violent offender typologies, among others.