Offender profiling can be defined as ' the preparation of a biographical sketch gathered from information taken at the crime scene, from the personal history and habits of the victim, and integrating this with known psychological theory", defined by Tusco (1993). .
The American approach and the British approach are two different approaches to offender profiling (which aims to aid the identification, apprehension and conviction of an unknown criminal and to narrow the field of investigation of identifying the suspect).
There are many differences that the American and British approach have towards offender profiling. Firstly, the American approach describes it as a 'top down' approach, whereas the British describe it as a ' bottom up approach'. The American 'top down' approach focuses more on aspects and characteristics of the criminal. It was pioneered by members of the FBI, where the approach seems to rely more on the creation of general typologies of criminal behavior and motivation based on interviews with captured criminals and impressions of a particular crime. For example, when FBI investigators interviewed 36 serial murderers, they divided the offenders as being either organized (having planned the crime) or disorganized (unplanned crime). The British approach however, was not pioneered by members of the FBI, but infact, was pioneered by psychologists, such as by David Canter and Paul Britton, working with the police. The British approach does not focus more on aspects of the criminal like the American approach, but it focuses on characteristics of the crime and on analysis of data provided by the crime.
There are many similarities that need to be considered between the British and the American approach. Firstly, both approaches assume that criminal behavior (especially extreme behavior) will reflect characteristics that re typical of the person and will remain relatively consistent across offences.