This post is not about private investigators or those already well-known jobs of a criminologist. We offer new perspectives here.
Work as a criminologist.
It’s likely that when you face this type of information, the word “utopia” or “unrealizable” comes to the mouth of most people who try to explain that yes, yes, everything would be just fine, but …
And I have been obliged to use those same words. In an earlier entry about the professional intrusion, the debate didn’t wait for the criminologist to do all these wonderful things but the truth was that those activities were already covered by other professionals. What was the solution? To fire those first or to invent in new or adapted forms that allowed the professional development of the criminologist? It is a complex question but perhaps the simplest is the second option, however long the journey may be. But for that we use the “utopia”, in this case modified, to possess something to which to aspire.
And yes, there is life beyond the creation and advertising of training courses. Perhaps this kind of knowledge should be reserved for: 1) conferences and events assimilated, 2) generic training (what should’ve been included in the degree and didn’t happened), 3) personal private access, for free (beyond the price of a book or an article) and of interest for the professional who wishes to learn.
Well, in my personal and professional experience, I can count with my fingers the people I know who develop Criminology as the only professional occupation. It’s usually mixed with other professions: police (in every force), private investigator, psychologists and forensic doctors who rely on the knowledge of this science (or who have to come to use this same science for its development), architects, etc.
Where I have seen criminologists succeed without excessive need for specialization or double training is in community politics, situational prevention, in the activities as an expert witness carrying out counter-reports or criminological reports of all kind, or perhaps as critic, carrying out tasks of analysis of society through articles and monographs, for not having the educational level of Criminology.
The international level is one I don’t know as well as I would wish. I am aware that critical Criminology and related topics to criminal policy are more and better seen in other countries, including the United States, where the students of “Quantico” have to study Criminology among other things to become agents of the FBI. Although it’s true that what they learn is more particular and precise, less directed to society and more to the apprehension of delinquents and the psychological aspects of it. Maybe I am wrong and that has changed.
And in Britain it’s not odd for police to contact experts to be assisted in the investigation of particular cases: consultants and advisors, where the criminologist may have a pre-eminent position.
In France or Canada, although still within the police sphere, the creation of a profile is really important in criminal investigations.
And in Spain?
Spain is a country like any other, and if you create demand, you will receive supply (isn’t it?). Yes, it is likely that lawyers (in the case of criminological reports) can rely on little and the task of convincing them is titanic, but it can be possible. It’s true that local, community and state administrations seem little open to discussion about certain topics (security, for example), and even more if you are not part of the civil service that compose it. But the presentation of good ideas, attached to a complete project and whose details assure the Administration that nothing is left randomly (not even the price), I am convinced that it can seduce even the most mistrusted ones.
The problem, in this or any other country, is not only know what you know and how to do it well, but to know how to speak the language of the client. When you have to negotiate a private investigator service, you have to listen and intuit what the person who comes to the office really wants (who sometimes might not get to the point or he won´t be as direct as you want) so you can offer him the possible within the legal. A private investigator, for example, has to deal with at least three aspects: the desire of the client, the possibility of its realization and the legality of what is exposed. And with those premises, he has to move to satisfy the needs of those who hire him. Later if the result isn’t as satisfactory as expected is a different matter.
The criminologist must understand, and I also tell myself, what is the need to cover in that society (and the client), as well as their desire, and join both. Once you do that, you will have their attention. I can’t say: oh, profiling would do very well to society. Society! What do you do that you’re not hiring me to use this great tool!? It works for everything! Society doesn’t know that’s a useful tool; but, in addition, such statements are vague and imprecise. Instead, if you suggest to a company that analyzing the behaviors and affirmations of candidates for a job can ensure the reduction of absenteeism, steal at work and improve the working environment, then you have something to offer. In this case, that would be Human Resources services.
Can a criminologist do it? I believe so, not because it belongs to that field, which maybe is more for psychologists or for those who had to pay a master’s degree of specialization in the subject: the university has to withdraw money; But a criminologist trained in non-verbal language, strategic communication and profiling may be able to replace the figure of a psychologist in this case, especially if the function of this will be directed to antisocial and anti-system behaviors, or to detect psycho-social pathologies, than to evaluate the personal qualities of the employee as long as it’s faithful or productive.
As these examples, which some may seem better or worse, clever or stupid, rare and quaint, one must create a thousand of those. But above all, you must know how to do it and know how to love it, or it won’t last.
Created and given professional jobs
I haven’t imagined the example of human resources just by chance. When Criminology emerged as a degree study, people who designed it had to do a great effort to imagine how to fill the tabs (on the web) of what would be the professional jobs for that degree. Perhaps they have sinned of trust or ingenuity, and the rest of us fall for that one too.
Perhaps it would’ve been more effective to motivate us for our own creation and imagination, that through the knowledge we were given (which at any point deal with “how to create a company”) we imagined the possibilities of Criminology. On the other hand, if you are told that as a professional you should be in Y, N and Z activities, you don’t usually try to find more, but you just demand those three professional letters until they given them to you, or you give up and you end up doing something totally different. From my promotion, maybe ninety percent has ended like that.
Thus, greater creativity and entrepreneurship (which is invalidated by establishing professional dogmas) can make all those criminologists who don’t wish to practice the public function, actually make progress in a more organic and efficient way within the private sector. On the other hand, the criminological projects in this sector are few, if not nonexistent, and people must make titanic efforts not only to be hired, but simply to be listened to.
But they are heard, sooner or later. Lights shine upon the heads of many, they see the business (because, we don’t lie, in this society it has to be a good business to prosper) and invest in it.
The criminologist as a professional.
To conclude, when I choose to separate between professions given and created, referring to those established by degrees and those that have arisen later, I don’t try to limit the professional development of the criminologist, but quite the opposite. I consider it an attempt to make more dynamic a figure that is having troubles taking off when there are other careers with other late professionals who have managed to find jobs more easily.
With this I mean, that I think that the word “utopia” comes out way too much to discussion, since perhaps our objectives are too inherited, unrealistic and own, and that’s why it sounds so unrealizable.
I recognize that this type of perspective is not only hard to accept, but also to look at, since it means admitting that we have been cheated for at least four years, and that we will not reach, not anymore, those professional objectives who seemed already fulfilled with just finishing the career. Those four years are nothing more than learning for all the difficulties that will come later. And if you accept a piece of advice, you better put on your seatbelt, because what is waiting for you in this ride is long and complicated are curves.
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