Contribution to New Methods of Homicide Investigation

Submitting Institution

University of South Wales

Unit of Assessment

Social Work and Social Policy

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Studies In Human Society: Criminology
Psychology and Cognitive Sciences: Psychology

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Summary of the impact

Brookman's research has produced new insights into the nature and circumstances of homicide and homicide investigation. The first four pages on the Murder Investigation Manual, commonly viewed as the definitive guide on homicide investigation in Britain, are based on Brookman's research on the characteristics of homicide. The directives of the International Association of Chiefs of Police based in the United States (US) devote one or their top ten directives to Brookman's proposals on broadening outcome assessments. The Prince George's County Police Department in the US is currently considering implementing Brookman's proposals to include Family Liaison Officers as part of their process of homicide investigation.

Underpinning research

The research:

Professor Brookman is one of the few academics in the United Kingdom (UK) studying both the nature of homicide and police homicide investigation. She is the only criminologist in the UK to use this knowledge to inform directly methods of homicide investigation in both the UK and the United States (US).

Brookman's first area of research interest started with her PhD entitled `Dying for Control: Men, Murder and Sub-lethal Violence in the UK' completed in 2000 (Brookman, 2000). This was the first academic examination of homicide in the UK for several decades and involved the analysis of 3,474 homicide cases from the Home Office Homicide Index, 95 police murder files and 20 interviews with male killers. The PhD dissertation was later published as a book by Sage in 2005 under the title `Understanding Homicide' (Brookman, 2005). The book also included several new chapters on the topics of corporate homicide, investigation of homicide, and preventing homicide in the UK.

The second area of interest began in 2010 when Brookman conceived and hosted an international homicide and major crime investigation symposium in Cardiff. One of the aims of the symposium was to establish a research network and instigate a programme of research and publishing among homicide investigators and academics working in this area. This resulted in a special issue of the journal Policing and Society titled Homicide and Major Crime Investigation edited by Brookman and Innes. In that volume, the editors included their own paper titled, `The problem of success: What is a good homicide investigation?' (Brookman and Innes, 2013).

The new insights or findings:

(1) The typologies of homicide were developed from the research conducted for Brookman's PhD dissertation (Brookman, 2000). The first typology identified major types of homicide and comprised 9 major categories and 14 subcategories ranging from domestic homicide to gang homicide. The second comprised a classification table that correlated location of homicides with method of attack.

(2) The recommendations on ways in which the police could enhance their assessment of the quality of homicide investigation by broadening their measures of success, included the following classification: (i) outcome success, (ii) procedural success, (iii) community impact reduction success, and (iv) preventative success (Brookman and Innes, 2000).

(3) The proposal that police departments in the US could make use of Family Liaison Officers (FLOs) derived from Brookman's earlier research in the UK and her fieldwork knowledge of homicide investigation in the US. Family Liaison Officers (FLO's) are a routine feature of homicide investigation in the UK and provide several benefits in assisting families of the victims or offenders, as well as providing investigative advantages for the police and enhancing police-community relations.

References to the research

Brookman, F. (2000) Dying for Control: Men, Murder and Sub-lethal Violence in the UK. PhD dissertation, Cardiff, Cardiff University.

Brookman, F. (2003) `Confrontational and Grudge Revenge Homicides in England and Wales', The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology 36/1: 34-59.


Brookman, F. (2005) Understanding Homicide. London: Sage


Brookman, F., and Maguire, M. (2005) `Reducing Homicide: A Review of the Possibilities', Crime, Law and Social Change 42: 325-403.


Brookman, F., and Nolan, J. (2006) The Dark Figure of Infanticide in England and Wales: Complexities of Diagnosis', Journal of Interpersonal Violence 21/7: 869-889.


Brookman, F. (2010) `Homicide' in F. Brookman, M. Maguire, H. Pierpoint & T. Bennett (Eds.), The Handbook on Crime. Devon: Willan.


Brookman, F. & Innes, M. (2013): The problem of success: What is a `good' homicide investigation? Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy, DOI:10, 1080/10439463.2013.771538


Details of the impact

Impact (1):

Brookman's research on the aetiology of homicide and her development of homicide typologies has led to an increased awareness and understanding of how the nature and circumstances of homicide impact upon opportunities for investigation. The indicators of this impact can be found in the Murder Investigation Manual [1]. On the first page of the 299 page publication, the manual cites Brookman's book on homicide and reproduces her typology of types of homicide and a classification of the relationship between the location of homicides and the method of attack. The first four pages of the manual in effect summarise the contents of her book. The section summary based on Brookman's research concludes: `Understanding the different circumstances in which homicide is committed ... will assist SIO's (Senior Investigating Officers) to plan an effective investigative strategy' [1] (p.25). The Murder Investigation Manual (MIM) is seen as the definitive guide on homicide investigation, by practitioners and policy makers alike. It is used to underpin the training and development of SIOs and has become a reference point for the investigation of all types of major crime. Brookman's research was the only academic publication referred to in the manual.

Impact (2):

The recommendations to broaden the outcome measures of homicide investigation were made to the Programme Manager of the International Association of Chief of Police (IACP) in person during spring 2012, in Washington, D.C., when she visited the IACP Head Offices and later in a presentation at the Homicide Open Forum held at the Annual IACP Conference in San Diego in September 2012. [2] Professor Brookman was invited to speak at the conference by the Programme Manager of the IACP [3]. Brookman proposal for using new ways of evaluating police performance in homicide investigation were later included in the directives of the International Association of Chiefs of Police titled, 10 Things Chiefs can do to Positively Impact Homicide Investigation Outcomes. [4] The 10th directive was called `Measure beyond closure' and included a reference to Brookman's article with Innes as well as listing the four distinct measures of investigative success. The directives proposed that investigators should start tracking and measuring this broader range of investigative impacts instead of focusing exclusively upon case closure. These recommendations derived directly from her research and from the knowledge obtained about homicide investigation while conducting research in the US and the UK.

Impact (3):

During her recent fieldwork in Prince George's County, Maryland, in the US, Professor Brookman produced a Homicide Investigation Research Briefing which included a recommendation to introduce Family Liaison Officers (FLO's) in the department in order to enhance the treatment of the families of homicide victims. [5] The insights for these schemes came directly from her knowledge of their successful operation in the UK. The Deputy Chief of Police wrote to Dr Brookman to thank her for what he described as, `...really good suggestions on how the Homicide Unit should be sharing information with family members of homicide victims in order to keep them updated on the development of the investigation', and indicated in the email that he will be looking closely at adopting the strategy. [6] At the current time, the Research Briefing has been submitted to the Chief of Police for consideration. [6]

Current developments

In the last few years, Brookman has established the Criminal Investigation Research Network (CIRN) to enhance international communication and cooperation among, in particular, homicide investigators. [7] CIRN is an international major crime investigation network that aims to advance knowledge on the theory and practice of criminal investigation with a particular focus upon homicide and major crime. The network currently spans the UK, North America, Australia and the Netherlands and includes academics, current and former detectives, detective trainers and forensic scientists. The CIRN website lists around 40 current members mainly from among high-ranking serious crime investigators and academic researchers. The members were recruited initially from the symposium mentioned earlier organised by Brookman in Cardiff in 2010 [8] as well as attendees of her roundtable discussion group on homicide held at the American Society of Criminology (ASC) Conference in Chicago in November 2012. [9] A meeting for all members is scheduled for the next ASC conference due to take place in Atlanta in November 2013. [10]

Sources to corroborate the impact

[1] ACPO Centrex (2006). Murder Investigation Manual. 3rd ed. Wyboston: National Centre for Police Excellence.

[2] Innovation in Homicide Investigation: Lessons from the UK, Guest Presentation to the Homicide Open Forum at the 119th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference, San Diego, California (29th September — October 3rd 2012).

[3] The Programme Manager of the International Association of Chiefs of Police can be contacted to corroborate the invitation.

[4] IACP (2013) 10 Things Chiefs Can Do to Positively Impact Homicide Investigation Outcomes. Washington DC: International Association of Chiefs of Police.

[5] Brookman, F. (2013) Homicide Investigation: Early Insights Briefing Note. Prepared for Assistant Chief of Police Craig A. Howard and Chief of Police Mark A. Magaw, Prince George's County Police Department, Maryland, USA. (Unpublished briefing note)

[6] The Assistant Chief of Police of Prince George's Country Police Department can be contacted to corroborate the quality of advice provided.


[8] Homicide and Major Crime Investigation Symposium, Cardiff (6-7 June, 2011)

[9] Homicide & Major Crime Investigation: New Insights and Future Challenges, Roundtable Convener and Chair, American Society of Criminology Conference, Chicago, USA (7-10 November 2012).