My Background

I have been a Clinical Psychologist since February 1998. My area of interest is forensic and investigative psychology, and workplace threats. After completing my internship at the Military Hospital in Pretoria in 1997, and qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist, I went on to work at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital as a consultant Clinical Psychologist (and joint appointment as a lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pretoria) for three-and-a-half years before taking up a position in the South African Police Service (SAPS) in October 2001.

Who am I?

I am a Clinical Psychologist, Criminologist, Advocate of the High Court with an interest in forensic and investigative psychology.

In the police, I was the Section Head of the Investigative Psychology Section (IPS) for 14 years where I resigned on the rank of Brigadier. The IPS is responsible for assisting the SAPS with investigations of psychologically motivated crimes such as serial sex offences, murders, and stalking. The Section is also the only unit with a mandate to compile offender profiles for the SAPS. The IPS is the South African Police Services’ equivalent of the Behavioral Analysis Units of the FBI. Besides being a Clinical Psychologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (PS0059048) and the British Psychological Society I am also a Criminologist. I am currently a Director of L&S Threat Management, South Africa’s first sole-purpose threat assessment and management company focusing on workplace violence. I am also an admitted Advocate of the High Court in South Africa (non-practicing).

I was an adjunct faculty member of the California School of Forensic Studies at Alliant International University in the USA from 2008 until 2016, and was a Professor Extraordinarius at the Dept Criminology at UNISA (University of South Africa) from April 2008 until April 2011. From April 2013 until April 2016 I was appointed as a Professor Extraordinarius at the Department of Police Practice at UNISA. I currently hold an Honorary Associate Professorship in the Division of Forensic Medicine and Pathology at WITS University in Johannesburg.

I am on the editorial board for the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling and the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management, a consultant to the National Institute of Justice of the Department of Justice in the USA, and a fellow of the International Academy of Investigative Psychology. I am a member of the British Psychological Society, Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals, and the International Homicide Investigators Association.

My Qualifications

I have a wide range of academic qualifications in psychology, criminology and law.

I hold the following academic qualifications:

  • Diploma in Criminal Justice and Forensic Auditing- Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) (2004)
  • BA (Psychology, Criminology, English) University of Pretoria (1993)
  • BA(Hons)Psychology- University of Pretoria (1995)
  • Masters Clinical Psychology- University of Pretoria (1997)
  • Masters Criminology- University of Pretoria (2007)
  • PhD Psychology- University of Pretoria (2001)
  • LLB Bachelor of Laws- University of South Africa (2015)

Additional specialist training courses

I have been fortunate enough to receive training from some of the world’s leading experts in their respective fields.

Specific training courses that are important that I have attended include:

  • Threat Assessment and Management by Prof Stephen Hart of Simon Fraser University in Canada
  • Homicide and Death Investigation Course of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department
  • Hostage and Suicide Negotiation by the SAPS
  • Criminal Behaviour Analysis by Dr Peter Collins of the Ontario Provincial Police in Canada
  • Medicolegal Death Investigation Course at the Department of Medicine of the University of St Louis in the USA
  • Crime Scene Analysis and Profiling by Sgt (Ret) Jim Van Allen of the Ontario Provincial Police
  • Arson and Bomb Scene Analysis by Detective Ed Nordskog of the Los Angeles Arson and Bomb Squad
  • Bloodstain Pattern Analysis by Ross Gardner from the USA
  • Cold Case Investigation by retired Supervisory Special Agent Mark Safarik of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit
  • Forensic Pathology by Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: WITS
  • Explosive Identification by Lieutenant Colonel Lindsay Smith of SAPS Explosives Unit
  • Stalking Assessment and Management by Professor Stephen Hart (Canada)
  • Shooting Incident Reconstruction (Level 1&2) by Mike Maloney NCIS retired
  • Arson & Bomb Profiling by Ken Morris, Virginia State Police retired
  • Criminal Investigative Analysis (Phase 1 and Analysis Construction) by Jon Perry- Virginia State Police & Leslie D’Ambrosia- Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • Sexual Offences Investigation by Glenn Woods retired profiler for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • SCAN Statement Analysis (Basic & Advanced) by the Laboratory for Scientific Investigation, USA
  • Sexual and Violence Risk Assessments by Bram van der Meer, Netherlands
  • Psychopath Assessment and Diagnosis by Dr Peter Collins of the Ontario Provincial Police in Canada
  • Geographic Offender Profiling by Professor David Canter, International Research Centre for Investigative Psychology, University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom
  • Investigative Interviewing by Professor Ray Bull, University of Derby, UK
  • Expert Witness Training by Professor Leam Craig, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Threat Assessment by Dr Russel Palarea (exNCIS) of Operational Psychology Services

An important part of who I am today

The "unofficial" logo of the SAPS Investigative Psychology Section

Like many specialised law enforcement units internationally, the Investigative Psychology Section wanted a logo that reflected the essence of what they did. In the end they (unofficially) adopted the skull-and-crossbones logo, often used as a sign for ‘biohazard’.

This represents a few key issues

Firstly that the unit was started as a result of an increase in serial murder cases in the mid-1990s so death is a central theme to the unit’s work.

Secondly, the anonymity of some victims in that many victims are never identified but justice is obtained for these unidentified victims. Thirdly, the offenders who commit these terrible acts are a form of biological hazard.

Finally, the bones symbolise the fact that we are all the same inside when we are stripped down to our inner core, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you did for a living, each of us deserves to be treated equally, and deserves justice.