Dubai behavioural scientists help solve crimes

The Dubai Police psychological unit has been instrumental in solving crimes this year, officials say.

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DUBAI // Dubai Police's team of behavioural scientists has helped detectives to investigate more than a dozen crimes, including rape and murder, since it was set up last year.

Like the FBI behavioural analysis unit in Quantico, Virginia - made famous by the movie The Silence of the Lambs - the team investigates crimes and profiles criminals in violent cases.

"The unit was introduced one year ago under the training section of the forensic and criminal science department but has now been set up as a specialised unit on its own," said Capt Mohammed Al Hammadi, the unit's chief.

Its job is to provide psychology-based investigative and operational support to the CID, the anti-narcotics department, Dubai Public Prosecution and the Dubai Courts.

Capt Al Hammadi said cases investigated by the unit include murders, rapes, sex assaults, kidnappings and online attacks on people's honour.In the past year, the unit helped to investigate 15 violent sex crimes and presented nine criminal analysis reports. The cases investigated included two rapes and a rape and murder, he said.

"Looking at the cases we investigated in 2011, we realised that the majority of suspects involved did not suffer from psychological disorders but … from personality disorders," Capt Al Hammadi said.

"Suspects investigated in incest cases were revealed to have aggressive, psychopathic characteristics. They were found aware of the nature of the crime they committed and were not found under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

"These suspects had serious personality disorders and not psychological ones, and are criminally liable."

The unit also psychoanalyses suspects.

"This is done by interviewing and analysing the suspects, as well as interviewing the victims to determine the suspects' level of awareness of the crime committed and their criminal and legal liability," Capt Al Hammadi said.

He said the criminal psychological analysis is based on personal interviews and tests.

"We study the suspect's tone, body language, actions and reactions during the interviews, and then use psychological tests to determine the suspect's mental capacity, personality and psychological disorders," Capt Al Hammadi said.

The unit is planning to introduce a witness-evaluation section over the next year.

"The section will serve a very important aspect, where it will determine the credibility of witnesses whose statements may be unclear due to a memory lapse or other factors surrounding the crime," said Lt Mohammed Saif, who works in the unit. "Witnesses may be financially motivated or externally pressured to present false testimony, which inevitably may hurt the case, and the section will screen all testimonies to know what can and cannot be used."