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A Man of Few Words - by Swan Morrison


It has fallen to me to deliver this closing address to our annual conference of the National Association for Deranged Psychopaths.

Many of you will recall the dark days of just a few years ago - a time when it was impossible to commit more than a mere handful of serious crimes without the police turning up on the doorstep. They seemed to know the address, gender, age, eye colour and preferred football team of each perpetrator, and we had no idea how they did it.

Then came the writings of Thomas Harris and films such as ‘Silence of the Lambs’ that revealed psychological profiling to us all. Since then, there have been TV series such as ‘Cracker’ and numerous Channel 5 documentaries which have explored this process in detail. Finally, in the mid-nineties, the NADP was formed, which allowed this information to be disseminated and ‘anti-profiling’ strategies to be developed.

We discovered at an early stage that profiling defined all perpetrators as either ‘single loners in their twenties or thirties’ or ‘seemingly happily married men in their fifties’. It is particularly heartening, therefore, to have seen so many young women and pensioners at this conference. They, of course, have an advantage in constructing an anti-profile. However, you men in the ‘classical’ categories can now do much to develop a modus-operandi that bears no relation to the stereotypes painstakingly assembled by the FBI and others with reference to thousands of previous crimes.

Mapping has been a spectacular case in point. We know, to our cost, that perpetrators traditionally committed their first crime in the next street to the one in which they lived and subsequent crimes in a regular pattern at an increasing radius from their homes. It became possible for a profiler with a map, ruler, pencil and an elementary knowledge of geometry to precisely locate the perpetrator’s favourite armchair in front of his television. The ability of our members to now select the location of their crimes based on randomly generated postcodes has caused profilers to seek the services of professors of mathematics in analysing increasingly complex patterns which do not exist. Indeed, our Prize for Innovative Psychopathy this year was awarded to our member who selected a genuinely happily married man in his fifties and then committed a crime in the next street to the one in which he lived and subsequent crimes in a regular pattern at an increasing radius from his home.

Another breakthrough has been discovery of the profilers ‘golden rule’ which states that the perpetrator is the person who makes the most impassioned TV appeal to catch the perpetrator. I know many of you are now saying to the media that you don’t give a toss.

Another heartening feature this year has been the number of you attending this conference. Nearly five hundred registered on arrival, although about fifty people seem to have gone missing, leaving their belongings in their rooms.

Finally, please be careful as you leave as there have been reports of police in the woods behind the conference centre.